Malaysia sentenced prominent opposition leader Rafizi Ramli under the Official Secrets Act, ruling that he was guilty of exposing documents related to the 1MDB scandal to the media.
Rafizi Ramli, 39, is a member of the Malaysian Parliament from Pandan and the vice-president and secretary-general of the opposition Parti Keadlian Rakyat. The PKR party was founded by former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim, who was put behind the bars by former mentor Mahathir Mohamad on charges of sodomy.
Ramli had been charged with "possessing Page 98 of the 1Malaysia Development Bhd audit report without approval, which he acquired in violation of the Official Secrets Act 1972 (OSA)," court documents showed.
Under Malaysian law a politician sentenced to more than one year in jail is summarily disqualified as a parliamentarian. The sessions judge has granted Ramli a stay on the sentence pending appeal.
The opposition leader was arrested in early April after he made revelations about the 1 Malaysia Development Berhard (1MDB) corruption probe.
The Malaysian government, which was battling allegations on all fronts after the massive 1MDB scam broke into the open, said Rafizi Ramli distributed a page from the Auditor-General's classified report on state investment firm.
He had left the Najib Razak government red-faced by alleging that financial scandal at 1MDB had affected the Armed Forces Fund Board's (LTAT) ability to make timely gratuity payments.
The arrest of Ramli was slammed by a united opposition which said Najib was abusing his power and trying to scupper an investigation into the corruption at 1 Malaysia Development Berhard.
The prime minister himself was under the scanner after reports emerged that millions of dollars from the state funds might have been diverted into his personal bank accounts. The payments were made from one of several private bank accounts owned by Najib and the funds originated from government investment fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd, which is under investigation, the WSJ said.
Following his arrest, Sessions judge Zulqarnain Hassan charged Rafizi with possessing page 98 of the 1MDB audit report without approval, an offence that violated the Malaysian OSA of 1972. Rafizi pleaded not guilty to charges and denied committing criminal defamation and appealed for trial in both counts.