KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 31 — Former Finance Minister II Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah is scheduled to have his statement recorded by the police this afternoon, believed to be over his speech in Parliament on 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
The Star Online reported an unnamed aide as saying that the ex-minister would be going to Bukit Aman at 2.30pm today, after the police announced that Husni, and former ministers Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal would be investigated under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) 1972 over their speeches in the Dewan Rakyat last week for allegedly breaching their ministerial oaths.
Ahmad Husni resigned from Cabinet last June and quit all his party posts in Umno.
Civil liberties lawyer Syahredzan Johan described the police action as “preposterous”, pointing out that Husni, Muhyiddin and Shafie are protected by parliamentary privilege under Article 63(2) of the Federal Constitution.
Article 63(2) states that no one shall be liable to court proceedings by their speech or vote when taking part in the proceedings of Parliament or of any parliamentary committee.
“Even if they revealed information ‘government secrets’ under the Official Secrets Act, which in my opinion they did not, because of Parliamentary privilege, they cannot be liable for what they said. In (other) words, it would be outside the jurisdiction of the police and the Courts,” Syahredzan posted on Facebook today.
“Any issues within the Dewan must be dealt with by the Dewan itself. If the Government is not happy with what Husni and co have raised in Parliament, it is open for them to deal with these MPs in the Dewan itself by referring them to the Rights and Privileges Committee, for example,” he added.
The lawyer said according to Article 63(4) of the Federal Constitution, exceptions to parliamentary privilege only applied to those charged with sedition or with offences under laws that may be passed under Article 10(4) of the Constitution, which deal with questioning rights and privileges like citizenship, the national language, quotas for the Malays and natives of Sabah and Sarawak, and the rulers’ sovereignty.
Several NGOs had lodged reports against Husni, Muhyiddin and Shafie last week for purportedly violating the OSA by divulging details on Cabinet proceedings when they were ministers.
Former deputy prime minister Muhyiddin and Shafie were dropped from the Cabinet last year after a surprise reshuffle by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.