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MP asks if refusal of parliamentary question suggests Shafee breached secrecy law around Najib’s pardon

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 28 — Kepong MP Lim Lip Eng has asked if lawyer Tan Sri Muhd Shafee Abdullah violated the Official Secrets Act during a press conference earlier this month, after his attempt to clarify this in Parliament was refused on grounds of secrecy.

Dewan Rakyat Secretary Nizam Mydin Bacha Mydin wrote to the federal lawmaker last week to say the question to the prime minister on this matter was not acceptable according to the Standing Orders.

“A question may not seek clarification on any secret matter, and a question may not be made for the purpose of seeking an opinion or a solution to a legal matter that was not yet an issue or to obtain an answer to conjecture,” Nizam said to explain the rejection of Lim’s question.

Lim had sought to ask Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim if Shafee violated any laws by declaring that the previous Yang diPertuan Agong had wanted to fully pardon former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Shafee made the claim in a press conference after the Federal Territories Pardons Board announced a partial pardon for his client.

Lim today said Parliament’s rejection of his question begged another: “Did Muhd Shafee breach the Official Secrets Act with his remarks?”

During the press conference in question, Shafee had also displayed papers that appeared related to the Pardons Board decision.

However, he insisted during a forum last week that he did not violate the OSA as the document displayed was just the “cover page and the declaration of the Agong with his seal and signature but no content.”

Najib’s lawyer said he knew better than to hold up the inner pages in a way that these could be recorded. He also said that he was authorised to view the contents as the legal counsel to the former prime minister.

On February 2, the Pardons Board announced its decision to halve Najib’s 12-year prison term for misappropriating funds amounting to RM42 million and reduce his fine from RM210 million to RM50 million.