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On 31 October 2016, the High Court ruled that my statement with regards to “alleged leverage of government fund to gain loan to buy eight properties at KL Ecocity” was defamatory. I was ordered to pay RM300,000 to NFC, its owners and lawyers.

A few weeks ago, my lawyer received a demand letter asking for the RM300,000 to be paid. Otherwise they threatened to commence a bankruptcy proceeding against me. My appeal against the verdict will only be heard in October 2017 and thus, unfortunately, I have to comply.

Six years ago, while preparing a parliamentary speech for Anwar Ibrahim, I came across the Auditor General’s report on NFC. It did not tell much, but it did highlight that the project was encountering many problems.

On that fateful day, I decided to travel down to Gemas to verify the progress of the publicly-funded project myself. I introduced myself as wholesale meat seller from Ampang who wanted to buy some cows. What I discovered led to a series of revelations on how the RM250 millions of public were used to buy condominiums and to fund other business ventures.

There had been many other exposes since. We worked with journalists to expose the MARA scandal in Australia, the financial irregularities at Tabung Haji and the scrutiny over 1MDB’s investments.

Our work to combat corruption exposed us to a number of risks. It is common to be detained and investigated upon making a police report, so after a while I only make police report when it is absolutely necessary. There were times when I had to spend some nights in the lockup.

The biggest risk, however, is the series of lawsuits against you. For every big expose we made, it is accompanied with at least one lawsuit. That explains why I have 12 running criminal and civil cases at the moment.

Some people did ask before whether it was necessary to expose the scandals myself. Why didn’t you upload it at Wikileaks? Why didn’t you just send the information to journalists to print?

For a start, there is a lot of investigative work that has to be done, connecting the dots so that we can see the real picture. It is harder for journalists to spend time investigating given their resources and even if they do, they have to bear the legal risks themselves. After a while, I realised someone has to do it so that the journalists can report (thus lessening the risks they take). More importantly, someone has to bring the story to the kampung people so that they understand what corruption has done to this country.

The NFC scandal is long gone and is mostly forgotten. But six years on, my lawyers and I are still going up and down court rooms every month to attend to the legal aftermath. I am due to be sentenced later this year for allegedly breaching the banking secrecy regulation in the process of exposing the scandal. On top of that, I have to fork out RM300,000 to pay to NFC, its owners and lawyers.

Do I regret getting myself into this? Not really. I have discharged my duty and I hope I have contributed to the rebuilding of our nation, in one way or another.

But my experience in the last 6 years demonstrates the difficulty we face to combat corruption. Most of the big scandals of the last one decade were discovered through investigative journalism or public exposes because the institutions tasked with uprooting corruption are prone to government interference. In return, each one of us in this line of duty faces lawsuits that can bankrupt us every now and then.

I hate to do a public appeal because I was not raised to go around with a begging bowl. But I don’t have much choice because whatever I used to have in my saving accounts have all been invested to start and sustain INVOKE, so that we have a better chance at winning the next general election.

If you think what we do to expose corruption is a worthy cause, please contribute so that we can keep doing it. If you feel what we do so far will not be in vain, please forward this to as many people as possible so that we get more Malaysians to chip in.

You can contribute whatever amount towards the RM300,000 fund through our online payment gateway at https://www.invokemalaysia.org/contribute/ or you can bank in to our bank account:

INVOKE Solutions Sdn Bhd
Maybank (Account: 5622 0964 0698)

Thank you. One day, I hope we can look back and tell ourselves that we have rid this country of corruption.

Rafizi Ramli

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