Govt yet to decide on abolition of Official Secrets Act

KUALA LUMPUR, The government has yet to decide on the abolition of the Official Secrets Act 1972, the Dewan Rakyat was told today.

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mohamed Hanipa Maidin said the government was still considering whether to abolish the law, improve it or to retain it, together with the proposed Freedom of Information Act.

“The purpose is for us to strike a balance and to offset…if what is seen as violence or negative elements in the Official Secrets Act 1972 can be reduced.

“The government is committed to defending the constitution,” he said in reply to a supplementary question from Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said (BN-Pengerang) on the status of the Official Secrets Act 1972 and the Freedom of Information Act.

On July 18, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the Freedom of Information Act would be drawn up to replace the Official Secrets Act 1972 and a Cabinet Special Committee on Anti-Corruption had agreed in principle that sufficient time must be given to the process of drawing up the law.

Mohamed Hanipa said he had no problems with the Official Secrets Act 1972 but the previous government had misused it.

“Previously, the Official Secrets Act 1972 was used to protect cruelty, abuse of power, and not to protect confidential information.

Now we are finding a balance to solve the issue,” he said when responding to another supplementary question from Dr Azman Ismail (PH-Kuala Kedah) on methods to protect sensitive government information.

Source: BERNAMA (News Agency)