Azmin files judicial review to declassify 1MDB audit report

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KUALA LUMPUR: Selangor Menteri Besar Mohamed Azmin Ali today filed a judicial review to compel Prime Minister Najib Razak, Auditor-General (A-G) Ambrin Buang and the government to declassify the audit report on 1MDB.

Citing Ambrin’s testimony during Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli’s trial under the Official Secrets Act (OSA), Azmin said the A-G claimed he had moved to classify the report as an “official secret” after being instructed to do so by Najib.

Azmin, however, said there was a conflict of interest on Najib’s part due to the latter’s role as 1MDB adviser, making him directly involved in allegations of financial mismanagement of the state investment arm’s funds.

“I am further advised by my solicitors and verily believe that the Report was classified as such, in circumstances of clear conflict of interest as the certificate to classify the report as an official secret was issued by Najib, who has and continues to be implicated in the 1MDB scandal, which forms the subject matter of the audit.

“I am also advised by my solicitors that the reasons given by the A-G in classifying the Report does not in any way justify the move,” he told a press conference at the Kuala Lumpur High Court here today.

He added that the judicial review was filed in his capacity as a Member of Parliament, who has the duty to “protect the taxpayers and the citizens of Malaysia”.

The application he filed through his solicitors, Messrs Tommy Thomas, was made under Order 53 of the Rules of Court 2012 to challenge the classification of the report as an official secret under the Official Secrets Act 1972.

The Gombak MP was accompanied by his lawyers, PKR Batu lawmaker Tian Chua, former Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and Tumpat MP Kamaruddin Jaafar, as well as former Batu Kawan Umno division vice-chairman Khairuddin Abu Hassan, among others.

Kamaruddin, speaking to reporters, said Ambrin had earlier told the PAC that the report was to be classified under the OSA only until the parliamentary select committee tabled its own report, along with the A-G’s report in Parliament.

“So I’m sure Ambrin would personally have wished for the report to be made public as well. Therefore, it is the prime minister who has an interest (in classifying the audit report under OSA) and is protecting himself.”

Ambrin told the Sessions Court last month that the final audit report remained under the OSA even after the PAC report on 1MDB had been tabled in Parliament, to avoid further leakages of information, after Rafizi jumped the gun by allegedly leaking its interim report.