August 1, 2012
Drop This Political Prosecution of Rafizi Ramli
by Hafiz Yatim@http://www.malaysiakini.com
Legal action against PKR’s Strategy Director Rafizi Ramli is tantamount to political persecution by Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and his administration, Party Vice-President and experienced lawyer N Surendran says.
The authorities were acting on a complaint, Surendran noted, from National Feedlot Corporation Sdn Bhd (NFC) chairperson Mohd Salleh Ismail, who himself has been charged with criminal breach of trust in the abuse of public funds.
“I urge the Prime Minister, the Attorney General, Bank Negara and the government to drop the charge against Rafizi and (former Public Bank clerk) Johari Mohamad immediately,” added Surendran (left), who is representing the two.
“Drop this politically-motivated charge. Stop the political persecution. The people are watching closely. We are holding Najib completely responsible in this as he is up there.”
The charge was throw at Rafizi, he said, because he revealed that public money had been wasted and misused with regard to the NFC scandal, and that the court action was intended to silence him.
It also came in light of Rafizi’s more recent revelations on the award of the Ampang Line LRT extension project to George Kent (Malaysia) Bhd, the Chief Executive of which is said to be a “buddy” of Najib.
Surendran described the case as a “political conspiracy that goes to the highest echelons” of the nation and that Bank Negara is being used by the authorities to prosecute Rafizi and Johari.
“They have been dragged in by the BN government (which is using) supposedly independent institutions against the opposition. We will fight the charge all the way,” he told a press conference this afternoon.
Surendran also questioned the high-handed manner in which Rafizi was arrested, as he was handcuffed. “Mohd Salleh was not subjected to such treatment,” he noted.
What about protection for whistleblowers? To a question on the Whistleblowers Protection Act 2010, which can be used to protect such exposes, Surendran said the authorities used the country’s laws for their own ends and at their whims.
“It is meant to protect whistleblowers, but it is not being used as such by the authorities. Those who hold authority and power at present decide on who to give protection. So, in this country, the Whistleblowers Act is a joke and this is clearly what has happened to Rafizi.
PKR legal affairs bureau chief Latheefa Koya said the Act failed to take into account the other laws of the country, such as the Banking and Financial Institutions Act (Bafia) and this begged the purpose of having such legislation.
“There is no point in having the Whistleblowers Protection Act if they don’t want to remove the existing draconian laws,” Latheefa said.
Surendran also said he would be filing an application to quash the charge against Rafizi and Johari.
Clearly, he said, the authorities have misused and abused their discretion in charging Rafizi and Johari and it appeared quite clear that they want to silence the pair.
There was a show of support for Rafizi and Johari from leaders and members of Pakatan Rakyat parties PAS and PKR, who turned up in support of them outside the sessions court in Shah Alam this morning.