BAR Council: Broadcast by MACC of audio recordings may be “contempt, subjudice, a breach of the Official Secrets Act 1972, and a withering of the rule of law.”

Newly elected Malaysian Bar president Datuk Abdul Fareed Abdul Gafoor (second from right) with the new office bearers (from left) treasurer Surindar Singh, vice-president Roger Chan and secretary Salim Bashir Bhaskaran. NORAFIFI EHSAN / The Star

Though Broadcasting Is Improper, Thorough Investigation of Revelations Must
Be Carried Out Immediately
The Malaysian Bar is shocked and appalled to read of reports detailing the damning
revelations alleging political conspiracy at the highest levels.
Several audio recordings were made public by the Chief Commissioner of the
Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (“MACC”) at a press conference yesterday.
These audio recordings involved several high-profile persons, including a former
Prime Minister, in conversation. It was reported that the Chief Commissioner alleged
that the conversations pointed to “serious power abuse, criminal conspiracy,
obstruction of justice and compromising national security”.
The broadcasting live of recorded telephone conversations by the MACC is
unprecedented and improper 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, subjudice, a
breach of the Official Secrets Act 1972, and a withering of the rule of law.
The MACC should instead have informed the public of the existence of such audio
recordings and let the relevant authorities carry out their investigation. 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.
The Malaysian 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.
Abdul Fareed Abdul Gafoor
Malaysian Bar
9 January 2020

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