Attacks against MACC’s Bahri may backfire, says Rafizi

Attacks against Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) special operations division director Bahri Mohd Zin could backfire, warned PKR secretary-general Rafizi Ramli.

He noted that there have been various attacks against Bahri recently by Umno propaganda machines, like online portal MyKMU, in an attempt to discredit the MACC senior officer.

“Clearly there is an attempt to intimidate Bahri and other MACC leaders. This is the normal modus operandi of these propaganda tools.

“It often involves made up stories that attempt to discredit anyone they consider a threat,” he told Malaysiakini today.

Politicians are public figures, so it is acceptable for them to be subjected to intense public scrutiny, he said, but it is alarming that the attacks are now focused on Bahri.

“Intimidation against senior public officials like Bahri is clearly an attempt to interfere in the administration of justice,” he said.

It is also a pre-emptive attempt to discredit any findings or actions taken by Bahri and the MACC against Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, in relation to the 1MDB issue.

Rafizi advised these propaganda tools that “no amount of spin” can rectify Najib’s credibility; the public cannot accept the justifications given in closing the case against the prime minister.

“Even worse, if they turn to discredit morally upright officers like Bahri in order to salvage Najib’s credibility, that is a bad strategy because it will backfire even further,” he said.

On Tuesday, Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali announced that after studying the MACC’s investigation papers, he was satisfied Najib did not commit any criminal offence.

He added that he would return the papers to MACC with the instruction for the commission to close the investigation.

On Wednesday, MACC said it will raise Apandi’s decision not to pursue the cases involving Najib with the graft body’s Operations Review Panel.

Bahri had then said that the commission is likely to appeal, as he described the cases as “straightforward”.

However, in a statement, MACC said the referral of the case to the panel was part of its normal case management procedure prior to closing a case.

MACC chief Abu Kassim Mohamed said he will instruct for a police report to be filed against articles in the media citing information obtained from its personnel.

“No statement by any individual should be presented by the media as the official position of MACC on these cases (related to Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak) unless it has been released by MACC’s official strategic communications division upon my approval,” he said.

He also reiterated that MACC is not disputing nor challenging the attorney-general’s decision to clear the prime minister.

There were reports yesterday alleging that tempers had flared between Bahri and Abu Kassim, with Bahri threatening to expose corrupt acts and wrongdoings within the MACC, including in the case of Teoh Beng Hock.

Teoh was a DAP political aide who was found dead at the MACC building after being held overnight for questioning on July 16, 2009.

Investigations into his death is still ongoing, more than five years later. – Malaysiakini

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