Though broadcasting is improper, thorough probe of revelations must be carried out immediately 

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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 at a press conference yesterday [8 January].  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, sub judice, 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 is president of the Malaysian Bar

This piece dated 9 January 2019 is reproduced from here and has been edited for style only.

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