Lawyer says concerns over audio exposé distracted by plot to tarnish Latheefa

Jahaberdeen Mohamed Yunoos has come out strongly against MACC’s move to release phone conversations involving Najib Razak and several top officials. (Facebook pic)

PETALING JAYA: A critic of Latheefa Koya for her public release of phone conversations of former top officials involved in the 1MDB scandal says resorting to personal attacks against the anti-graft chief would distract the public from genuine concerns over rule of law.

“I wish to emphasise that the issue is whether or not enforcement agencies under certain circumstances can disclose information received to the general public,” lawyer Jahaberdeen Mohamed Yunoos, a staunch critic of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) move to release the clips, said in a statement.

“This issue should not be distracted by personal attacks against Latheefa,” he said, hours after Latheefa said there was a plot to slander her by a group of individuals, one of whom she said is a lawyer.

Latheefa, the MACC chief commissioner, said a police report would be lodged today, accompanied by evidence.

“I wish to send a clear message to those who are behind this, that I will not be threatened or intimidated from carrying out my duty as the chief commissioner of MACC,” she said last night.

Jahaberdeen said personal attacks were immoral and a criminal offence under the Penal Code.

“I am also of the view that citizens should protect the reputation of all the heads of our institutions, save matters that have to be disclosed in the national interest,” he added.

Jahaberdeen himself had described the revelation of the clips as a “dark chapter” in Malaysian history, and had called for Latheefa’s resignation.

Last week, MACC released audio recordings of nine telephone conversations featuring former Prime Minister Najib Razak, his wife Rosmah Mansor, ex-MACC chief Dzulkifli Ahmad as well as the crown prince of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed Zayed Al Nahyan, in discussions over dealings linked to 1MDB.

The move attracted both praise and criticism from the public.