Bar Council says releasing of audio recordings by MACC 'improper'

KUALA LUMPUR: The Bar Council has joined in the criticisms against the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC)'s move to make public the audio recordings allegedly involving former premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak and several officials over dealings linked to 1MDB and SRC International.

Bar Council president Abdul Fareed Abdul Gafoor (pic) said they were shocked and appalled to read of reports detailing the damning revelations alleging political conspiracy.

"Several audio recordings were made public by the chief commissioner of the MACC at a press conference yesterday.

"These audio recordings involved several high-profile persons, including a former prime minister, in conversation," he said in a statement on Thursday (Jan 9).

He said it was reported that MACC chief commissioner Latheefa Koya alleged 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," he said.

Fareed said that the MACC should have instead informed the public of the existence of such audio recordings and let the relevant authorities carry out their investigation.

He added that Latheefa had even gone to the extent of commenting on the veracity of the authenticity of the recording, which should be the role of the courts to determine, if it was brought to 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," he said.

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