"Can I advise you something? You shouldn't have passed a law that allowed the government to tap your phone."
It's probably what Rosmah Mansor would be saying to her husband and former prime minister Najib Razak after the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission's (MACC) revelation of audio recordings of several telephone conversations between Najib, Rosmah, and several other high-ranking officials in 2016 on 1MDB.
In light of MACC's revelations of recorded tapes yesterday, many on social media are asking if it is legal to record people's phone calls
Here's the twist. Not only is it legal for the government to tap people's telephone conversations, but it was Najib himself who made it so.
As pointed out by civil rights lawyer Syahredzan Johan yesterday, the Barisan Nasional-led administration under former prime minister Najib Razak passed amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC).
The amendments, passed in 2012, made intercepting and recording private conversations legal.
As verified by Malaysiakini, the CPC (Amendment) Act 2012 has an inclusion of Section 116C on the "interception of communications and admissibility of intercepted communications".
It states that a public prosecutor may authorise a police officer to "intercept, listen, or record" any conversation as well as to install a device to intercept specific communications, should the former believe it contains information relating to the commission of an offence, reported Malaysiakini.
Additionally, as per the CPC (Amendment) Act 2012, a communications service provider may also be required to intercept and retain specific communications. The information obtained is admissible in court, even if obtained after a person has been charged, according to the news portal's report.
Meanwhile, Syahredzan said that while recording/spying on people by authorities is legal, their constitutionality is a separate matter
"Whether those provisions are constitutional is a whole different thing. The constitutionality of those provisions has not been challenged in court before," Syahredzan, who is also the political secretary to Iskandar Puteri MP Lim Kit Siang, was quoted as saying.
Share your thoughts on our Facebook page here.