Friday 3 August 2012

Prosecuting Rafizi will only propel his star upwards — Tay Tian Yan

AUG 2 — I don’t understand why certain people are still oblivious to the country’s current political reality and have not learned a lesson from their past lapses.

For example, prosecuting Rafizi Ramli.

Sure enough the government has every right to prosecute. Indeed this is part and parcel of a society ruled by law.

That said, this power of prosecution has to be exercised prudently. Individuals’ freedoms and civic rights must not be compromised while the principles of social justice have to be adhered to.

A fair and just prosecution will ensure any slightest doubt of political persecution is dispelled.

It is hard for the prosecution against Rafizi to rule out any such doubt.

Rafizi started to emerge from obscurity and into the limelight after his revelation of the National Feedlot Centre scandal.

Along the way, he has held in his possession a good deal of raw information that he, an accountant by training, analysed to bring his findings to light.

There are few politicians with such professional qualities in this country.

Not someone with respectable political experience to his credit, Rafizi is nevertheless endowed with an exceptional aptitude in politics.

He has not laid everything on the floor and set off a bomb to end it all just like that. On the contrary, he was slowly peeling off the onion, layer by layer.

With every layer he peeled back, people from the NFC or some political party would stand up to deny, and fall into his trap by doing so.

Thanks to his revelation, NFCorp chairman Mohamed Salleh Ismail was charged in a court, and his wife Shahrizat Jalil lost her Cabinet post.

Rafizi’s sterling performance in the NFC disclosure has opened the eyes of Malaysians to the rise of a new sparkling political star.

The Malaysian government now decides to charge Rafizi for disclosing the NFC accounts; he can be fined RM3 million or jailed three years if convicted.

Indeed Rafizi has been implicated in the disclosure of classified information, but what if such disclosure has been done in the interest of the public?

Moreover, the prosecution could have contradicted the Whistleblower Protection Act 2010, created by the government to fight corruption.

Under the Act, informers exposing corrupt practices and other misconduct shall be immune from all civil and criminal charges.

Rafizi should be protected from, not subjected to, such charges.

Politically speaking, prosecuting Rafizi is an unwise strategy.

A new generation PKR leader often associated with a clean image, Rafizi has no past alliances with the Umno.

His open debate with Khairy Jamaluddin in Kuala Lumpur merely two months ago bore witness to his eloquence, sense of humour and gentleman-like disposition.

Trying to bog down a rising star in politics will only invite more backlash from the public, doing him a huge favour by boosting his popularity.

Like Julius Caesar crossing the Rubicon, there is no turning back now for Rafizi. Prosecuting him will only energise him in his forward charge. —

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