Caught in the act
KUALA LUMPUR: Rafizi Ramli and his supporters are trying to manipulate the law in order to further their political agenda, an anonymous commentator has said in an article shared by a prominent blogger.
In the wake of yesterday’s arrest of PKR’s Rafizi Ramli for disclosing confidential documents in contravention of the Banking and Financial Institutions Act 1898 (BAFIA), blogger and journalist Datuk Ahirudin Attan – aka Rocky – today shared an article which claims Rafizi cannot be considered a whistleblower and therefore the charges against him are warranted.
The anonymous writer, who Rocky said was “very close to the parties that authored Malaysia’s Whistleblower Protection Act 2010”, cited several reasons Rafizi is not really a whistleblower:
The disclosure was not made to any enforcement agency – breach of section 6 of WBPA;
The information disclosed was made public – breach of section 8 of WBPA;
His identity is known to all and sundry – breach of section 8 of WBPA;
He had revealed information which is prohibited by BAFIA from being made public– subsection 97(1) of BAFIA and section 6 of WBPA. Even under section 8 of the WBPA the disclosure of improper conduct cannot be disclosed or ordered to be disclosed in any court of law.
The writer said the whole affair is merely an attempt by the opposition to disparage the government, not a sincere effort to root out corruption:
Looking at the players involved in this drama it is clear that the actions of Mr. Rafizi and the people coming to his defence are clear examples of manipulation of the letters of the law to suit one’s political agenda.
The Opposition will never stop politicking every move of the Government, even to the extent of manipulating the tenets of the law and provisions of legislations to suit their agenda.
Their loose interpretation of the term “whistleblower” is clearly used as a tool to attack and ridicule the effort and good intention of the Government in introducing Act 711 in the first place.
Rafizi’s exposure of other people’s personal banking information amounts to “a pure case of character assassination”, the writer said, and was not just politically motivated but “despicable” as well:
The action of the people coming to his defence in claiming that he is a whistleblower who is being victimized for being a member of the Opposition, despite knowing that he did not come with clean hands is also aclear case of manipulating and distorting the provisions of the law to confuse and influence the public, or rather, pretending to be ignorant of the letters the law or just plain stupidity on their part.
The conduct and attitude of the Opposition is shameful, irresponsible and contemptuous towards the spirit of the Act, and it would be a shame for them to seek protection under this Act when it is appallingly clear that goodwill and betterment of the nation was the last thing they had in mind when making such claims. Instead, all that they have to offer is criticism of the government’s effort in combating corruption and claiming their rogue acts as a class act in unveiling corrupt practices and knowing that such information is prohibited by law from public disclosure, yet unashamedly claiming to the whole world that they deserve the protection under the very Act that they have been criticizing.
Like the anonymous writer who wrote in Rocky’s blog, lawyer and blogger Art Harun said he had checked the Whistleblower Protection Act 2010 and concluded that Rafizi Ramli is not entitled to its protection.
Art expressed his views on Twitter today in a series of statements:
#1 I check Whistleblower Protection Act. Unfortunately for Rafizi, he is not a whistleblower under the Act.
#2 Under the Act, a whistleblower is one who disclose improper conduct to any ENFORCEMENT Agency. Disclosure to media is not counted.
#3 Under the Act, the disclosure which is made must NOT be prohibited by any written law. Disclosing details of bank accounts is prohibited.
#4 Once a disclosure is made to any ENFORCEMENT AGENCY than the whistleblower is protected.That’s the law. Our law.
#5 Now before anybody accuses me of being pro or anti this and that, let me just say I was just stating the law as it is.
#6 Btw, ENFORCEMENT AGENCY is defined by the Act as any body conferred with investigation and enforcement powers or functions.
“I am just stating the law on whistleblowing because everybody is making all sorts of statements,” he said in reply to another Twitter user.
He pointed out that when the Whistleblower Act was being drafted, the Bar Council had asked for disclosure to the media to be included, but currently disclosure absolutely must be made to an enforcement agency.