PETALING JAYA: The decision to retain the Official Secrets Act 1972 (OSA) is inconsistent with Pakatan Harapan’s previous stand that the archaic law should be revised, said MCA deputy president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong.
He said since Pakatan wanted to preserve the “evil Act that restricts freedom of speech and the press”, then it should prove through action that it would not abuse the legislation and act in accordance with the law.
“The Prime Minister’s argument is inconsistent with Pakatan’s previous stand on revising the OSA and to enact a Freedom of Information Act,” said Dr Wee.
In a recent interview with an online portal, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had said the OSA should remain despite the Pakatan’s promise in its election manifesto to “revise” the Act.
Dr Wee pointed out that DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang had once said the OSA symbolised “the death of freedom of speech and accountability” and that this should be abolished to prevent the country from becoming an autocracy.
“Having uttered all of the above rhetoric and yet now retaining the Act, does this not mean it is disregarding freedom of speech, accountability and eradicating corruption?” he said in a statement yesterday.
Dr Wee, who is also Ayer Hitam MP, said the Pakatan government had much to prove that it intended to respect the rule of law and the spirit of freedom and openness.
He cited the Dewan Rakyat Speaker’s appointment as an example of not adhering to Parliamentary conventions.
Dr Wee also alleged that while Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng claimed that the Cabinet had on July 11 decided that lawmakers would not be appointed to the board of government-linked companies (GLCs), Dr Mahathir became the Khazanah Nasional chairman on July 31.
“Obviously, these two contradictory actions did not take violation of rule of law seriously,” said Dr Wee, calling on the government to “walk the talk”.
“If it cannot ditch the suspicions of not acting in accordance with the rule of law, the people will not be convinced that the OSA will neither be subjected to abuse nor become the mask to cover up the government’s malpractice,” he added.
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