The arrest and charges against PKR director of strategy Rafizi Ramli and former Public Bank clerk Johari Mohamad under Banking and Financial Institutions Act (BAFIA) have made a mockery of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s Whistleblower Protection Act 2010 (WPA).
An angry Sarawak PKR said the decision to charge Rafizi and Johari were a “blow to the moral credentials of Barisan Nasional”.
Said PKR vice-president See Chee How: “It fortifies the doubts of Malaysians as to the resolve of the BN government to tackle corruption, through the enactment of the WPA, which has come into effect since Dec 15, 2010.”
“The charges brought against Rafizi and Johari are related to their exposé of the National Feedlot Centre (NFC) scandal involving a RM250-million government loan, implicating the husband and family members of former federal minister Shahrizat Abdul Jalil.
“Shahrizat’s husband, Mohamad Salleh, has since been charged with two counts of criminal breach of trust and two alleged offences under the Companies Act 1965 involving a total of RM49.7 million, related to the purchase of two luxury condominium units,” said See who is Batu Lintang assemblyman.
In passing the WPA in early December 2010, Najib had declared it as an initiative under the government’s Economic Transformation Programme to aggressively tackle corruption across the board.
“Unfortunately, the WPA is yet another example of supposedly good laws failing when the interests of certain politically connected people are affected.
“But it comes as no surprise when WPA fails to protect whistleblowers like Rafizi and Johari because WPA does not accord protection to those who report to the police or other government enforcement agencies under conditions of secrecy.
“With the arrest of Rafizi and Johari, whatever promises made by the prime minister that the WPA will not be used to prosecute genuine whistleblowers for exposing corruption are hollow and meaningless,” said See.
‘Need to amend WPA’
He said the arrest showed that the federal government had no political will and resolve to weed out corruption.
“What we need is to amend the WPA to follow the Public Interest Disclosure Act of Australia or the UK, whereby a whistleblower will be protected if he brings the matter to the attention of a Member of Parliament or the media, or there is no restriction at all as long as the disclosure was done in good faith and adjudged to have been reasonable in the circumstances.
“Malaysians will be furious with the arrest of Rafizi and Johari despite their good efforts in exposing corrupt practices.”