MALAYSIA: Stop hiding behind the OSA – Cynthia Gabriel

Sunday 26 October 2014

Date: 19 October 2014

Source: The Malaysian Insider

Type: News

Keywords: Corruption, Malaysia

The Centre to Combat Corruption & Cronyism (C4) is disappointed but not surprised at the attorney-general’s latest refusal to disclose details of the controversial water restructuring agreement, inked and finalised, in the dying days of the tenure of former Selangor menteri besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim with the federal government.

Only on Friday former finance minister Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah suggested that the Official Secrets Act (OSA) needed an urgent review as it conceals thousands of sins of the government, and has paved the way for corruption to fester.

Given the long protracted tussle involved in the negotiations of this agreement, the water deal has now become a subject of supreme public interest, making it crucial for details to be disclosed for further understanding and scrutiny.

Why should the deal be tucked away under the OSA? Is the government afraid of sharing information with its own people?

Why is there a need to withhold details of the deal? Why keep us Malaysians in the dark over how our taxpayers’ funds are spent? Surely the agreement does not threaten the security of the nation?

C4 views this latest action by the attorney-general as an abuse of power, and back the call of Selangor Menteri Besar Azmin Ali in demanding for a formal and written reason from the A-G on why public disclosure cannot be exercised.

C4 further warns that the more the OSA is used as a shield to protect the government from the responsibility of public disclosure, the greater the trust deficit will be between the people and the government.

Malaysia must live up to the demands of the information age and stop treating its citizens like its enemies. A more informed citizenry is a demonstration of a more mature society, and Malaysia must be ready to embrace this challenge.

We must have the political will to move towards a more open government in order not to be left behind with other Asian giants. – October 19, 2014. ###

See online : The Malaysian Insider

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