Malaysia gathering more evidence from Thailand against Sarawak Report

Justo (right) was sentenced to three years' jail in Thailand for trying to blackmail his former employer PetroSaudi International.
Justo (right) was sentenced to three years' jail in Thailand for trying to blackmail his former employer PetroSaudi International. PHOTO: AFP

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The Attorney-General's Chambers is gathering more evidence against news website Sarawak Report from Xavier Andre Justo following his conviction in Thailand.

It said that in light of the Swiss national's conviction, it had "received positive response" from its Thai counterpart on the matter.

"We are in the process of obtaining further evidence under the treaty on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters among Asean countries," it said in a statement.

Justo was sentenced to three years' jail for trying to blackmail his former employer PetroSaudi International.

The oil services and production company is linked to troubled sovereign fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

The A-G's Chambers said police reports were made against several individuals who were being investigated under Sections 124B and 124I of the Penal Code.

Under Section 124B, it is a criminal offence to commit an activity detrimental to parliamentary democracy by any means, directly or indirectly.

Section 124I states that any person who by word of mouth, in writing or in any newspaper, periodical, book, circular or other printed publication or by any other means including electronic spreads false reports or makes false statements likely to cause public alarm, has committed an offence.

The A-G's Chambers said the police reports were made against persons in and outside the country. It added that it was very serious about the matter because the stability of the country was at risk.

The arrest warrant issued on Aug 5 against Clare Rewcastle-Brown, who founded and runs the Sarawak Report, was in relation to the ongoing investigation by police into an allegation that the website published a false report concerning a draft charge sheet, the A-G's Chambers said.

The article was "Arrest Warrant for the Prime Minister - The Real Reason the Attorney-General Was Fired" on July 30, it said.

The website uploaded a draft charge sheet against Prime Minister Najib Razak in relation to SRC International Sdn Bhd, a former subsidiary of debt-ridden 1MDB. SRC International is now owned by the Finance Ministry, which Najib heads.

Sarawak Report alleged that former Attorney General Abdul Gani Patail was sacked last month because he wanted to take action against Najib and had issued the draft charge sheet against the latter.

Mohamad Apandi Ali, who took over as A-G on July 28, said the draft charge sheet was false, and that its emergence online was part of a conspiracy against the prime minister.