Aziz Bari: Investigate Salleh Keruak too for article on Mahathir-era bailouts.
Aziz spoke to FMT after Bukit Aman police called in Semporna MP Shafie Apdal for questioning for a speech he made in the Dewan Rakyat regarding 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
Investigations are also being carried out on former deputy prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin and former second finance minister Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah. They too had touched on 1MDB during the debate on the 2017 national budget.
Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar has said police were investigating them under the Official Secrets Act and the Sedition Act.
Aziz said that if Shafie was being investigated under the OSA, then Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak should be called in for questioning as well.
He said Salleh could be probed under the act too because he had made statements about the politics of the 1980s and 1990s, when Dr Mahathir Mohamad was in power.
“Of course, the problem is that the police only go after guys who have been identified by the government,” he said. “You can see sometimes that when it comes to Najib’s boys, the police would drag their feet,” he said.
Last May, in response to Mahathir’s use of the word “bailout” to describe Tabung Haji’s controversial RM772 million deal to buy a 68-acre plot of land from 1MDB, Salleh wrote in his blog about major financial rescues by the Mahathir government in the 1980s and 1990s.
Salleh wrote about Petronas being forced to pump in money to save Bank Bumiputera Malaysia Bhd from bankruptcy and being told to buy over Konsortium Perkapalan Berhad from one of Mahathir’s sons. He also referred to the bailout of Perwaja and MAS.
Referring to Shafie’s allegation that the police investigation was an attempt to intimidate him, Aziz said it was only natural for him to say so considering that Salleh had not seen any repercussions from his article.
When asked what violations could breach parliamentary immunity, Aziz answered: “Violations under the Sedition Act, questioning the position of the royals, and revealing a certain amount of official secrets.”
Lawyer Razlan Hadri Zulkifli, however, is of the opinion that exceptions to parliament immunity applied only to issues pertaining to Bumiputera special rights and the positions of the royals and the Malay language.
“If you’re talking about the Shafie Apdal case, I don’t think parliamentary immunity is cancelled, unless the IGP can somehow reframe the issue,” Razlan said.
Parliamentary immunity is protected under Articles 63 and 72 of the Federal Constitution, covering both Parliament and state assemblies.