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Saturday, November 12, 2016

Son too young to know jail, only Thomas the Tank Engine - Rafizi


If PKR secretary-general Rafizi Ramli were to be given sentenced to prison in his case under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) on Monday, the thing he would miss most in jail is his three-year-old son.
"My wife, she'll understand. My son is three.
"I don't think he understands (what's happening to me), he only understands Thomas the Tank Engine.
"The only concept he understands now, is sometimes I have to leave at night because I have to go to work, and he is not at all happy with that... you know, single child syndrome.
"I can imagine that should I go (to jail), the first two or three days would be very difficult for him because he won't be able to understand why I would not come back," Rafizi said in an interview with Malaysiakini at his service centre in his Pandan constituency.
He said he had discussed with his wife previously that were he to go in jail for any of his numerous ongoing cases, they would prefer if it happens before their son gets older and more attached to him.
Unfortunately, he said, the cases keep on dragging and now his son is already three and very attached to him.
Aside from that, he said, he has already done the necessary arrangements for his family, as well as the party and his service centre should he be sentenced to jail tomorrow.
"Conviction is almost certain. I have so many cases, I kind of know to smell where the wind blows. But I think it will have a good chance to appeal to a higher court," he said.
Depending on how expedited his appeals are, he may see jail time by 2017 and hopefully be out by 2019, he said.
No fear of jail
The 39-year-old, who describes his entry into politics as an accident, said he is not sure if he would re-enter politics after he gets out of jail.
"I can't pretend that I would leave prison exactly the same person. My priorities may have changed.
"I do have plans on how to earn a living (after jail), but whether it's politics or not, I really can't tell," he said.
However he already has plans for his time in jail, such as getting a law degree and catching up on his reading.
"Why fear jail when you have never been in it? I don't fear jail because I don't know what is in jail," he said.
Rafizi is facing charges under Section 8(1)(c)(iii) and 8(1)(c)(iv) of the OSA - one for the possession of Page 98 of the auditor-general’s report on 1MDB without authorisation; and another charge for the unauthorised disclosure of the document.
He released the documents in a bid to expose links between Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera (LTAT) and 1MDB. Malaysiakini is unable to report on its contents due to restrictions under the OSA.
The charge under Section 8(1)(c)(iii) of the Act provides for a jail term of up to seven years if found guilty, while Section 8(1)(c)(iv) of the same Act also provides for a maximum seven-year jail term, upon conviction.
A MP fined more than RM2,000 or sentenced to more than one year in prison would lose his or her seat in the Dewan Rakyat and be barred from elections for five years.
Expose worth the trouble
Asked if it was worth releasing the documents and facing possible jail time as the effects of the leak has been perceived to be minimal, Rafizi conceded that this expose did not have much impact on the non-Malay urban crowd.
However, he said, the expose did help the opposition in penetrating voter groups that they were not able to reach before.
Servicemen and their family members are the silent majority and traditionally very supportive of Umno and BN, but his expose has had an impact on them, he said.
"I can tell the impact is great, and that's why I think my conviction is almost certain
"It's the kind of issue that Umno fears most, because this not just eats up their core voters, it deconstructs the myth that they have built all this while, that they look after the poor and the Malays (who) completely rely on them," he said.
Despite that, he said, he exposed the documents not because of the political impact, but because it is his job to give voice to the voiceless.
"To me, you should always decide in terms of the most downtrodden, the people who you need to give voice to most.
"If the outcome is advantageous to you, it should be the secondary outcome. The primary objective of any public official should be just to do your job," he said.
Walk tall behind bars
He also relayed his hope to Malaysians, saying that if everyone plays their respective roles and part, it would be extremely easy to get rid of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and the ruling BN government.
Criticising learned, middle class, privileged educated people, he said they always complain about the situation in the country, but expect others to do the job of fixing it for them.

From his experience, he said the hard labourers or peasants are always the ones who "throw everything they don't have" into political campaigning.
Unfortunately, he said, for the past 40 to 50 years, a large majority of the middle class has become used to waiting for a hero to come and save them.
"They'd rather worship a hero and spend time complaining and gossiping.
"I wish everyone has the same contentment that I have. I think I have done all I can do in my capacity, and I can go and walk proudly into any prison and be happy," he said. - Mkini

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