Veterans group lauds MACC for releasing Najib tapes, says a step towards full independence

Patriot president Datuk Mohamed Arshad Raji says the move to publicly release audio recordings of conversations between Datuk Seri Najib Razak and several prominent public personalities is exemplary. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Patriot president Datuk Mohamed Arshad Raji says the move to publicly release audio recordings of conversations between Datuk Seri Najib Razak and several prominent public personalities is exemplary. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

IPOH, Jan 10 ― The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) should be praised instead of ridiculed for its bold step to restore confidence in public institutions, a group of retired servicemen said today.

Persatuan Patriot Kebangsaan (Patriot) said the MACC’s unprecedented move to publicly release audio recordings of conversations between former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and several prominent public personalities was exemplary.

“This is a positive step towards institutionalising the MACC as a fully independent body,” Patriot president Datuk Mohamed Arshad Raji said in a statement.

He claimed his organisation understood that the MACC did not consult Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad prior to the release at a media conference on Wednesday.

The tapes contained secret conversations said to have been recorded between January 5, 2016 and July 29 that same year, around the period when the US Justice Department announced its anti-kleptocracy investigation into 1MDB.

Aside from Najib, others implicated were his wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, ex-MACC Commissioner Tan Sri Dzulkifli Ahmad, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Umno’s Baling MP Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim and several foreign dignitaries.

Mohamed Arshad acknowledged the public furore over the possible legal implications of the tapes, but asserted that there was nothing new in it that would add to a “trial by media” compared to what has already taken place.

“Nothing in this new episode of phone recordings release adds to trial by media compared to what already have.

“Those are all secondary considering that our country is at an abnormal time when a large portion of the populace seems to be warped into the belief that Najib is still innocent and Opposition parties capitalise in using the ethno-religious card to divide the people further.

“Our nation is at the extreme low in terms of race-relation conflict,” he added.

Mohamed Arshad said that many of Najib supporters and the previous administration are still in denial over the repercussions of the 1MDB financial scandal on Malaysia’s socio-economics.

He added that the MACC’s disclosure may help speed up resolution for Malaysians.

“The people are tired of the protracted court cases regarding the 1MDB fiasco, while many more cases have yet to be brought to the courts,” he said.

He said it is up to the courts to judge if the MACC had breached any legal principles with its disclosure.

“What is of vital importance is for all Malaysians to acknowledge that very serious crimes have been committed by top leaders of the previous administration and shamefully abetted by top government officials.

“We would like to see swift action and investigation open against those alleged to be involved in the commission of crime as revealed in the released phone conversations involving Najib, his wife Rosmah Mansor, Dzulkifli Ahmad, and several others,” he said.

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