PKR leader Rafizi Ramli denies charges under Official Secrets Act

The court heard that Rafizi committed the offence at the Parliament lobby on March 24.

Arrested Malaysian PKR leader Rafizi Ramli has pleaded not guilty to charges under the Official Secrets Act. He also denied committing criminal defamation and appealed for trial in both counts.

Sessions Court judge Zulqarnain Hassan charged Rafizi with possessing page 98 of the 1Malaysia Development Bhd audit report without approval, an offence that violated the Malaysian OSA of 1972.

The court heard that Rafizi committed the offence at the Parliament lobby on March 24. Rafizi was charged under Section 8(1)(c)(iii) and Section 8(1)(c)(iv) of the Act respectively.

Rafizi, a member of parliament from Pandan, had distributed a page from the Auditor-General's classified report on state investment firm 1Malaysia Development Berhard (1MDB), Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar said after the arrest.

Rafizi, the vice-president of the People's Justice Party (PKR), which was founded by former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim, was arrested outside the Malaysian parliament on Tuesday.

In March, Rafizi, who is also the secretary general of Parti Kedilan Rakyat (PKR), said the financial scandal at 1MDB had affected the Armed Forces Fund Board's (LTAT) ability to make timely gratuity payments, a charge IMDB vehemently denies.

Opposition parties and leaders have united under former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad in launching a strident political attack on Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is reeling from multiple financial scandals.

The opposition says Najib abused his power and tried to scupper an investigation into the corruption at 1 Malaysia Development Berhad.

The prime minister is also under the scanner after reports emerged that millions of dollars from the state funds might have been diverted into his personal bank accounts.

On Thursday, the parliament speaker made a significant ruling that police had acted within their rights in arresting Rafizi Ramli.

The parliament's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) released a report on the status of the debt-trapped fund on Thursday, based on the Auditor-General's review of 1MDB's books.

The AG's report, which found the Malaysian state fund's debt had soared to over RM50 billion (S$17.2 billion) by January, has been classified under the Official secrets Act.

The opposition said the move by Najib Razak government was aimed at putting a cap on the scandal.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak scoffed at corruption allegations raised by bête noir Mahathir Mohamad saying the PAC report on 1MDB irregularities showed RM42 billion was not missing from the troubled fund.