Malaysian Bar: Releasing of audio recordings by MACC 'improper'

Malaysian Bar president Abdul Fareed Abdul Gafoor says the broadcasting live of recorded telephone conversations by the MACC is unprecedented, and will invite trial by media even before investigations are carried out. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Malaysian Bar president Abdul Fareed Abdul Gafoor says the broadcasting live of recorded telephone conversations by the MACC is unprecedented, and will invite trial by media even before investigations are carried out. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 9 — The revelation of audio recordings to the public by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his associates conspiring to cover up the 1MDB scandal has been criticised by the Malaysian Bar as improper.

Its president Abdul Fareed Abdul Gafoor said the broadcasting live of recorded telephone conversations by the MACC is unprecedented, and will invite trial by media even before investigations are carried out.

“The manner of the disclosure is unwarranted and has given rise to various allegations against the MACC, including allegations of contempt, sub-judice, abreach of the Official Secrets Act 1972, and a withering of the rule of law,” he said in a statement.

Abdul Fareed said the commission should have instead informed the public of the existence of such audio recordings and let the relevant authorities carry out their investigation, instead of playing it outright.

“It was even reported that the MACC Chief Commissioner had gone the extent of commenting on the veracity of the authenticity of the recording, which, should be the role of the courts to determine, if charged in court,” he said.

Abdul Fareed acknowledged the gravity of the audio recordings and said the Bar is “shocked and appalled” to read of reports detailing the damning revelations alleging political conspiracy at the highest levels.

“It was reported that the Chief Commissioner alleged the conversations pointed to “serious power abuse, criminal conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and compromising national security.

“The Bar calls for a thorough investigation of the revelations which are grave in nature and concern matters of public importance and public interest. The rule of law is upheld when the principles of transparency, accountability, good governance and the public interest are guarded,” he said.

The MACC believes those who could be heard or identified in the recordings along with Najib include its former chief commissioner Tan Sri Dzulkifli Ahmad, Najib's wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, as well as Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed Zayed Al-Nahyan and sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Development Company's chief executive officer Khaldoon Khalifa Al-Mubarak.

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