Wan Azizah: Sad day for democracy

wan-azizah

PETALING JAYA: It is a sad day for democracy in Malaysia, PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said today, after the party’s secretary-general and vice-president Rafizi Ramli was sentenced to 18 months’ jail for leaking classified information linked to the Auditor-General’s report on 1MDB.

“It is sad when a democrat is taken to court for speaking out and defending the rights and interests of citizens,” Wan Azizah said.

She urged Prime Minister Najib Razak to “show courage” and remove the Auditor-General’s report on 1MDB from the Official Secrets Act (OSA), adding that the refusal to do so would strengthen the perception of a “kleptocratic government” that wants to hide the truth.

“We can see clearly that in countries such as Singapore, United States and Switzerland, investigations and action have been taken against several individuals who have direct connection to 1MDB.

“Without the full report, Parliament cannot discuss the findings and identify just how large a sum has been misappropriated,” she said.

Rafizi, who is also Pandan MP, was found guilty of having Page 98 of the Auditor-General’s report on 1MDB in his possession and with making the report public, which was in breach of Section 8(1)(c)(iii) of the Official Secrets Act.

Sessions Court judge Zulqarnian Hassan sentenced Rafizi to 18 months’ prison for both offences and ordered the sentences to run concurrently. He also allowed a stay of execution pending his appeal.

In an immediate response, Rafizi, who risks losing his status as the Pandan MP, said he would file an appeal.

Article 48 of the Federal Constitution disqualifies a person from being a member of parliament for five years should he be convicted and sentenced to more than a one year jail term, or fined more than RM2,000.

Rafizi’s counsel, Gobind Singh Deo, told reporters that despite the jail sentence, Rafizi would not lose his parliamentary seat as the latter has not exhausted his right to appeal.