Opposition MP charged over leak

Mr Rafizi (right) was charged under the Official Secrets Act with unlawful possession of the Auditor-General's report on 1MDB and leaking a page of that document to the media on March 28.
Mr Rafizi (right) was charged under the Official Secrets Act with unlawful possession of the Auditor-General's report on 1MDB and leaking a page of that document to the media on March 28.PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

KUALA LUMPUR • A Malaysian Member of Parliament was charged yesterday with criminal defamation and two offences under the country's Official Secrets Act (OSA), three days after he was arrested for disclosing information from a classified report on state investment company 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

Rafizi Ramli, the MP for Pandan in Selangor and vice-president of the opposition Parti Keadilan Rakyat, last week said information from the Auditor-General's report on 1MDB indicated that an army pension fund was having difficulty making payments to veterans, partly due to financial problems linked to 1MDB.

The 39-year-old was charged under the OSA with unlawful possession of the audit report and leaking page 98 of that document to the media on March 28, The Star newspaper said.

He claimed trial to the charges and the judge fixed bail at RM3,000 (S$1,030). If convicted, Rafizi could be jailed for between one and seven years, reported Malay Mail Online.

At a separate court, Rafizi was accused of defaming pilgrimage agency Lembaga Tabung Haji in his blog, www.rafiziramli.com, on Feb 18. The alleged defamatory remarks were not mentioned in court.

Bail was set at RM1,000. If convicted, Rafizi faces up to two years' jail, a fine or both.

Both cases will be heard on April 29.

Under Malaysia's Constitution, a parliamentarian will automatically lose his seat if he is convicted of an offence and sentenced to a minimum one-year jail term or to a fine of no less than RM2,000.

Rafizi was arrested outside the Parliament's gates on Tuesday.

Responding to his disclosure last week, 1MDB denied it was the cause of late payments by the army pension fund.

Most of the veterans have reportedly received the gratuity payments.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 09, 2016, with the headline 'Opposition MP charged over leak'. Print Edition | Subscribe