KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 14 — Backbencher MPs under the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government sometimes display traits of bullying by heckling Barisan Nasional (BN) on the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal, Rafizi Ramli said.
Rafizi — who received a good behaviour bond last June for illegally exposing a page of the government’s 1MDB audit report that had been classified a state secret — pointed out that the “whole world” knew about the scandal-ridden state investment firm and Malaysians understood former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s alleged links to it.
“For our MPs like Jelutong, to continuously heckle BN MPs trying to debate issues that relate to the rakyat, he’s a bully,” Rafizi told Malay Mail in an exclusive interview here, referring to Jelutong MP RSN Rayer from the DAP.
Rayer repeatedly interrupted Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin when the Umno lawmaker was debating the government’s motion to repeal the Goods and Services Tax (GST) last week.
The DAP MP asked if GST was paid on “RM60 billion” worth of jewellery brought in by Najib’s wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor.
But Rayer got his facts wrong: Lebanese American jeweller Samer Halimeh’s Beirut-based arm Global Royalty is suing Rosmah for the loan of jewellery said to be worth RM60 million, not billion.
Rafizi said PKR members did not support such behaviour, although he could not speak for the “middle-class public”.
“Just because it’s popular to heckle BN on 1MDB continuously when they were debating something completely not related to 1MDB, just because it’s popular with your constituents, it’s our moral duty to remind the public and to remind ourselves that if you’re not careful, we are a bully. Then we become exactly like what BN was,” said the former Pandan MP.
Rafizi, who is running for deputy president in the PKR election against incumbent Datuk Seri Azmin Ali, said it was PKR’s moral duty to ensure that the new PH government was built on the right foundation.
“Even if it’s not popular now with the public, we have to focus on it,” he said.
He pointed out that everyone, including non-Malays, laughed at PKR in 1999 for trying to be a multi-racial party because they did not believe it would succeed.
“Although we knew electorally it was quite suicidal at the time in 1999, 2000, 2004, we knew it was the right thing. You only harvest it 10 years later,” said Rafizi.
“And that is the preoccupation as well among grassroots leaders — the belief that we are the vanguard of whatever Reformasi platform we had hoped for. Although it’s not popular now, we can’t just be pragmatists just to go with the flow.”