Raggie Jessy Rithaudeen
ادكه كيت هاروس لوڤاكن كليڤ اءوديو نجيب؟ اينله جواڤنڽ…
So much has been said regarding the recent release of audio recordings, said to be of telephone conversations involving Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and several others in 2016.
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), which shocked the nation by making them public, claimed that they were authentic.
Among conversations was the back and forth between Najib and his wife, Dain Seri Rosmah Mansor, who discussed matters related to former MACC chief Dzulkifli Ahmad and several high-ranking United Arab Emirate figures.
Is wire tapping legal?
Telephone tapping (or wire tapping) is the monitoring of telephone and Internet-based conversations between two or more individuals and (or) groups by a third party, often by covert means.
If the wire tap is done by a government agency pursuant to laws existing in a country, it is legal and can also be referred to as lawful interception.
In Malaysia, Section 116C of the Criminal Procedure Code allows the public prosecutor to authorise interception of communications by police officers if he (or she) considers the communication to contain information related to the commission of a crime.
Similar provisions are found in Section 43 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act and Section 6 of the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act.
In the case of the latter, a police superintendent or an officer of a higher rank may carry out wire tapping without first getting the public prosecutor’s authorisation “in urgent and sudden cases where immediate action is required leaving no moment of deliberation” before later informing the public prosecutor.
It should interest you to know that changes to the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) which made wire tapping possible in Malaysia were made in 2012 by the Najib administration.
Under the circumstances, if it is established by the MACC that the audio recordings were wire taps conducted by personnel authorised under Section 116C of the CPC (Amendment) Act 2012 pursuant to terms under said act, the recordings are legal and therefore, authentic.
Was the release of the audio clips in public illegal?
There is nothing to that effect which can be inferred from any one law authorising the interception of telephone and (or) Internet-based conversations.
In this regard and this regard alone, the release is legal if it was established beforehand by the MACC that the recordings were wire taps involving all those affected, conducted through legitimate means.
However, there is the question of sub-judice insofar as the ongoing proceedings involving Najib’s corruption and power abuse trials go.
This is something I do not wish to delve into even though I do have my own take on the matter. I think it’s best that we let the courts decide on it.
Should people ignore the clips?
People tend to mix things up and fail to see that there are two issues at play here – legal aspects related to the clips and their release, and the actual contents of said clips.
We’ve addressed the legal part.
As per contents, assuming that the MACC did establish that the recordings were wire taps conducted by personnel authorised under Section 116C of the CPC (Amendment) Act 2012 pursuant to terms under said act, the recordings cannot be ignored.
This is because the recordings have already been made public and are already a matter of public interest no matter how opposed you are to them and can therefore be deliberated on publically by any one individual and (or) group or individuals.
The clips drive clear impressions of power abuse and interference by an outsider into matters related to the country’s administration, particularly among those who are prone to jumping to conclusions.
It follows, the Government of Malaysia (GoM) is duty bound to address these clips in public regardless if the impressions driven by them are true or false.
At the end of the day, the clips have demonstrated the possibility of there being power abuse and interference by outsiders into government affairs, enough to warrant the refinement of existing laws and (or) the introduction of new ones to address the matter.