Opinion

When MACC, MCMC witness statements are leaked

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COMMENT | There are two ways of lodging a police report. The complainant can provide a written report to the police or make a verbal complaint to the police officer on duty who will then record it in what is known as Borang 55.

In most instances, police reports assist in the investigation of cases of wrongdoing. Such reports contain dates and times, places and even names of witnesses and alleged perpetrators. Hence, it is best not to reveal contents of the reports because the “element of surprise” would disappear when investigations are in process. This may also prompt suspects to destroy evidence or interfere with potential witnesses.

In the case of witness statements, they are deemed confidential because they involve (yet to be proved) allegations which would be used if the case goes to court.

Call it a Malaysian malaise, there are many who use and continue to use their police reports for their five minutes of fame. In 2015, Abdul Rani Kulup (photo), the man who heads right-wing Malay group Martabat Jalinan Muhibbah Malaysia (MJMM) claimed he has lodged up to 1,000 complaints since 2011 and declared that he was very proud of it.

Two incidents in the past two weeks have shaken public confidence in two core enforcement agencies after confidential matters contained in witness statements were made public. Don’t get me wrong: I still believe and insist that we need a Freedom of Information Act, but in these two instances, the contents formed part of the investigations and no charges have yet to be made.

Two weeks ago in Johor Bahru, property consultant Amir Shariffuddin Abd Raub alleged that his statement to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in relation to a graft case was leaked.

Amir is one of the suspects in a Johor property scandal. He lodged a police report as the leaked statement, which had gone viral, differed from the statement he had given to the anti-graft agency.

The 140-page statement given to the MACC was uploaded onto a blog, along with a transaction schedule purportedly showing money going to Johor Menteri Besar Mohamed Khaled Nordin.

On Thursday, The Malaysian Insight (TMI) chief executive officer and editor Jahabar Sadiq lodged a police report in Kuala Lumpur over the leak of confidential information contained in his witness statement to the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) as part of an investigation into the news portal.

In his police report, Jahabar said he discovered the leak in an article published by news portal Malaysian Gazette quoting Azwanddin Hamzah of Jaringan Melayu Malaysia (JMM) who alleged, among others, that TMI’s holding company Inside Media Sdn Bhd received foreign funds.

“Azwanddin Hamzah has leaked and twisted several facts I made in my statement to MCMC. I am concerned that my personal details in my statement, which are supposed to be confidential, have been leaked to Azwanddin and to the public through the article,” Jahabar told the media.

Both the alleged leaks have serious consequences on the credibility, integrity and trustworthiness of the MACC and MCMC. Once again, it raises the issue of the independence of these agencies and their ability to carry out investigations discreetly without compromising information that had been provided to them...

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