Malaysia obtains arrest warrant for Sarawak Report founder

Protesters hold a banner while demonstrating against Sarawak Report founder and editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown on July 25, 2015.
Protesters hold a banner while demonstrating against Sarawak Report founder and editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown on July 25, 2015. PHOTO: THE STAR/ ASIA NEWS NETWORK

PETALING JAYA - Malaysian police have obtained an arrest warrant for the founder and editor of the Sarawak Report whistleblower website, Clare Rewcastle-Brown, The Star reported. 

Criminal Investigation Department director Comm Datuk Seri Mohmad Salleh said in a statement on Tuesday that the arrest warrant issued by a Kuala Lumpur court was for activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy under Section 124B and 124I of the Penal Code.

"We will proceed with applications to place her on the Aseanpol wanted list, as well as the Interpol red notice," he said.

Anyone found guilty under Section 124B, which covers activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy, are liable to a maximum prison term of 20 years, the Malay Mail Online reported. Under Section 124I, which relates to the dissemination of false reports, those found guilty can be jailed for up to five years.

Sarawak Report has been publishing reports that allege graft and mismanagement by the debt-laden state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). Rewcastle-Brown has been accused of tampering with the 1MDB documents it used in its reports, as part of a scheme to topple Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is also 1MDB’s advisory board chairman. 

In response to the move, Rewcastle-Brown said that she was unfazed, calling it "ridiculous". Speaking to The Malaysian Insider, Rewcastle-Brown said: "I am quaking in my shoes... actually not." 

She added that she had received widespread media coverage as a result of the government's focus on her and was not likely to have fond words for Najib . 

The London-based Sarawak Report website on July 3 alleged that US$700 million (S$960 million) linked to 1MDB was deposited into accounts bearing Najib’s name over the past two years. Najib has denied using the funds for personal gain, but not receiving the money or owning the accounts.

The country’s anti-graft agency on Monday said the money came from donations and not from the debt-laden fund.

Malaysian Internet regulators blocked the Sarawak Report last month, on grounds that its contents on 1MDB could destabilise the country.