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Amend OSA to hide graft?

12/02/2016

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Gerakan man speechless if ‘fortified’ OSA used to hide graft

Lu Wei Hoong & Zikri Kamarulzaman

12 Feb 2016, AM 8:00

Updated 12 Feb 2016, PM 2:36

Gerakan deputy Youth chief Andy Yong is puzzled by attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali’s plans to strengthen the Official Secrets Act 1972 (OSA) to include life imprisonment and 10 strokes of the rotan.

“(The plan) is justifiable if (it is to protect) information related to national security.

“But if the ultimate amendment of ‘Official Secrets (Act)’ is to protect corruption and cronyism, I am speechless,” Yong told Malaysiakini.

The Gerakan Youth number two is instead in favour of declassifying documents not related to national security through enacting a Freedom of Information Act.

This, he said, would make the government more accountable to the public.

Yong also wants to abolish Section 2B of the OSA, which allows any minister, menteri besar, or chief minister to grant any public officer powers to classify documents.

Meanwhile, Yong said Apandi’s threat to lock up journalists who refuse to give up their sources is “an encroachment on press freedom and liberties”.

He also ridiculed the AG drawing comparisons with the severity of punishment for leaking state secrets in China as “absurd.”

‘Do not misuse OSA’

Currently, leaking OSA documents is punishable with a jail sentence of between one and seven years.

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