KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 14 — PKR’s Rafizi Ramli is disqualified from contesting in the next general election unless his conviction under the Official Secrets Act today is overturned, his lawyer explained.
Gobind Singh Deo said a convicted person may not stand for office even if the decision is being appealed, and the restriction is only lifted if the conviction is reversed.
“We will be filing an appeal this afternoon and we will write in to the court to expedite the appeal process given his status,” Gobind told reporters today.
The next general election must be held by 2018.
Rafizi received an 18-month concurrent prison sentence after he was convicted of two charges — for possessing and disclosing contents of the classified Auditor-General’s report on 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) — under the OSA today.
The Pandan MP had developed an image as a whistleblower following his revelations of the National Feedlot Corporation (NFC) scandal and was considered one of the federal opposition’s more promising leaders.
He was also elected as a PKR vice president and subsequently appointed as the party’s secretary general following party elections in 2014.
PKR deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali meanwhile told reporters at Parliament that the verdict of the court will only strengthen the party’s resolve in its struggle.
“It would not weaken our spirit to fight and we are committed to the fight for justice,” he said.
He also said that he hoped that the higher courts will deliver a “fair judgement” when the appeals come up.
“What he did was not with the intention to reveal national security issues, but of poor financial management that can affect the country’s economy,” he added.