KUALA LUMPUR, July 6 — When he was nominated for the PKR Youth chief post in 2010, Rafizi Ramli was a foreign name to many, even within the party. Fast forward two years and the certified accountant appears to terrify even the upper-ranks of the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition.
His exposé of the RM250 million National Feedlot Centre (NFC) scandal involving Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil’s family had cost the Umno Wanita her job as Women, Family and Community Affairs Minister earlier this year.
After the NFC, he has moved on to allege more financial improprieties within public projects, the latest being the multi-billion tender for the light rail transit (LRT) extension works on the Ampang line that Rafizi has linked to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
For his efforts, this alumnus of the elite Malay College Kuala Kangsar (MCKK) has faced repeated attacks from various quarters.
Bank Negara Malaysia is investigating his role in the NFC issue, the police have opened a file on him over the Ampang LRT project, and yesterday, his blog (rafiziramli.com) was hacked in what he believes is an attempt to block public access to documents related to the Ampang rail deal.
The 35-year-old Terengganu-born told The Malaysian Insider he believes the relentless attacks are linked to the BN’s bid to bar a repeat of the NFC scandal.
“I believe that after the NFC scandal, the public has come to believe arguments supported by facts and evidence. At the same time, the public wants a new kind of politics that is not coloured by personal attacks but based on public interest,” he said in an email interview last night.
“Coincidentally, that is my job in PKR and I must bring forward such issues that involve public interest. I think BN feels they cannot have a ‘second NFC fiasco’.”
Many believed that the PKR strategist was alone in his whistle blowing campaigns but the man that once worked for state oil firm Petronas said he has the full support of party colleagues.
“I have the full support from my PKR peers. The party leadership has given me its full mandate to conduct investigations and take a stand to represent the party in such matters.
“In fact, I don’t even need to report all my plans to the political bureau as I am given leeway to arrange the strategy of certain issues,” said the man who has been a part of Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s reformist ranks since 1998, when he was introduced to Malaysia’s politics.
He explained that PKR’s strategy was to build an argument on issues.
“For example, in the NFC case, we actually have a ‘tag team’ and a support team that will expand on the issue in an organised manner.
“Every issue will have two or three senior leaders with me. Only, the party has given me its full faith to advance,” he said.
The UK graduate clearly does not seem afraid of the relentless attacks against him.
The pressure also seems not to have taken its toll and caused him to lose his whistle-blowing zeal.
“I do not think of the risk or effect on myself. What’s important is that something has a major impact on the public and whether the facts or evidence are accurate,” said the man who claims to not have materialistic considerations or high ambitions.
Rafizi has come a long way from scripting the debates for Anwar behind the scenes to stepping into the spotlight, having taken on Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin twice in public debates in the UK and here.
And when the general election is called — and if he wins the Pandan parliamentary seat, which he has announced his intention to contest — the terror of his rivals may end up where he can do the most damage: Right within Parliament.