Court bins Rafizi’s challenge against BAFIA’s constitutionality over technicality


(Malay Mail Online) – The Shah Alam Sessions Court today rejected whistleblower MP Rafizi Ramli’s application to take his case challenging the constitutionality of a repealed banking law to the High Court, on grounds that it was he and not the prosecution that raised the issue.

Michelle Yesudas, who is on Rafizi’s defence team, said Sessions Court Judge Zamri Bakar ordered trial to proceed in August and rejected a stay application pending an appeal by Rafizi at the High Court.

“All the judge said was that the questions were raised by the applicant, not the DPP nor the court, so application denied,” she said when contacted.

Rafizi is seeking to challenge the constitutionality of the now-repealed Banking and Financial Institutions Act (BAFIA) 1989, arguing that it violates provisions in Articles 5 and 8 of the Federal Constitution.

His lead counsel, Padang Serai MP N. Surendran, said earlier that Section 87(2) of the Act removes the right against self-incrimination, “which means a person arrested under Bafia has to give full statement confessing everything, which is against every principle of law”.

Surendran also argued that it is unconstitutional to proceed with a case against an individual under a non-existent law, and that the charge against Rafizi carries no element of intention.

In 2013, Bafia was repealed and replaced with the Financial Services Act 2013.

Rafizi, who is Pandan MP and a PKR vice-president, was charged in August 2012 with revealing four Public Bank customer-profile documents to unauthorised individuals.

The documents comprised balance summaries relating to the National Feedlot Centre (NFC), National Meat and Livestock Sdn Bhd, Agroscience Industries Sdn Bhd and National Feedlot Corporation (NFCorp) chairman Datuk Seri Mohamad Salleh Ismail.

He allegedly committed the offence at the PKR’s headquarters at Merchant Square in Petaling Jaya on March 7, 2012.

The charge under Section 97(1) of the Bafia, punishable under Section 103(1)(a) of the same Act, carries a maximum three years’ jail or RM3 million fine, or both, upon conviction.