Ignorance has been the impenetrable barrier to truth

Concerns on MACC’s integrity blur a proposed plan to hatch a loan deal with a foreign leader to mask a money transfer to save a PEP


THE voice recordings involving “politically exposed persons” (PEPs) released by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) last week have become more than just a storm in a teacup.

Discussions over the release of the recordings are raging in the public domain. Questions over the legality of MACC chief commissioner Latheefa Koya’s action over the public exposure of the recordings are hitting molten lava temperature.

Former Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, among “the key participants” in the scandalous exposé, have not denied the authenticity of the sound clips. Their legal teams are looking into the matter.

The husband-wife chat “can I advise you something” has taken a life of its own, creating a tweetstorm and nearing martyrdom status as the most remembered statement.

Husbands either shudder in fear or drown in laughter when their wives want to advise them over something.

Latheefa remains adamant with her decision to release the recordings.

Public interest overrides the politically correct action. She leaves it to Najib to decide his next course of action.

MACC’s actions though, drew equally strong criticism. Many question the legality of the release of such damaging conversations to the public.

Najib is facing numerous trials related to corruption, money laundering and abuse of power. Rosmah’s day in court is expected to start next month.

Legal experts largely agreed that the MACC’s move was uncalled for. The question of the legality of the wiretapping dictates most discussions.

Talks focus on whether such recordings will be accepted in the courts due to its public release.

Politicians have also joined the conversation. A former minister questions the integrity of MACC and the impact to international and bilateral diplomacy.

“Because which international leader would now want talk to our PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, as they (fear) they are at risk of being taped,” said Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, according to news reports.

But do the people care about the hassle the PM has to face to meet US President Donald Trump in person to have a confidential chat?

A few other politicians and political analysts have voiced concerns along the same tone.

Perhaps, the statement that aces others is the voice recording “can’t be a witness”. Then, a fingerprint on gun would not be admissible in the court.

But how does the storm relate to these releases? A sex video implicating a current minister was also released on the Internet and was later investigated by the police, including experts in the US.

Many other recordings on assaults and other crimes, including closed-circuit televisions, have been released on the web.

Those images are being investigated by the authorities.

However, the issue of authenticity and legal standings were seldom questioned. Many other private documents had made their way into the Internet-sphere, exposing the many sinful trysts.

Sadly, the issue of legality of the release of the seven recordings drowns the fact that there were “discussions” to “put a stop” to an investigation related to 1Malaysia Development Bhd’s subsidiary, SRC International Sdn Bhd.

Concerns on MACC’s integrity blur a proposed plan to hatch a loan deal with a foreign leader to mask a money transfer to save a PEP.

What about the oath of secrecy to not discuss with those close to you including your wife about national secrets? Don’t all leaders take a solemn oath of secrecy and to protect the country’s first and foremost?

Ignorance has been the anathema to the nation. Control has been the impenetrable bubble that dooms transparency.

Quoting British author David Mitchell: “Truth is singular. Its ‘versions’ are mistruths.”

Mohamad Azlan Jaafar is the editor-in-chief of The Malaysian Reserve.