Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Shooting the Messenger

PKR strategy director Rafizi Ramli was charged at the Shah Alam Sessions Court this morning for revealing confidential banking details in relation to the NFC scandal. He was charged under section 97(1) of the Banks and Financial Institutions Act (BAFIA) which carries a maximum jail sentence of three years and a RM3 million in fine.It is claimed that he has allegedly breached the secrecy provisions of the Act by producing, divulging, revealing, publishing or otherwise disclosing, of any information or document whatsoever relating to the affairs or account of a banking customer.

Johari, a former employee of Public Bank, was also charged under the BAFIA law for allegedly revealing banking documents of a customer to Rafizi.

Both claimed trial and were granted bail at RM15,000 bail each. Judge Aslam Zainuddin fixed September 10 to mention the case.

N Surendran who is representing the duo pleaded: "Drop this politically motivated charge. Stop the political persecution. The people are watching closely.”

It is a clear case of abuse of power. By prosecuting Rafizi, the government is criminalizing whistleblowers whose primary goal is to disclose information for the benefit of mistrustful Malaysians because at the end of the day, it concerns taxpayers' money. In this particular case, it refers to the NFC scam that involves cows, condos and many other sleight of hand trickery. Certainly, it goes against the spirit of the Whistleblower Protection Act 2010, which is meant to encourage the public to help combat graft. Worse, it serves as a warning to would-be whistleblowers who intend to divulge financial improprieties that are connected to the Government, whether directly or indirectly.

Shouldn’t the government go after the NFC crooks instead? Sorry, I forgot – they cannot do that because the crooks are from within. This exposes Najib Razak’s reform agenda that it is nothing more than baloney.

On Monday, I was asked to be an Evaluator for Paulyn Gan who delivered her Advanced speech at Uptown 5, Damansara Utama. This was my first visit to Phoenix Toastmasters Club this year. My only comment is that the meeting lacked the usual vibrancy. I suppose if bubbly Anna Chin was there, that would make a whole world of difference. Other than that, the speeches and evaluations were alright and my score for this meeting is a 5 out of a 10.

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