Reports by Martin Carvalho, Hemananthani Sivanandam and Rahimy Rahim
MAINTAINING the Official Secrets Act (OSA) together with the proposed Freedom of Information Act (FIA) is one of the options being considered by the government in line with the pledge to do away with draconian laws.
Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Hanipa Maidin said the government was also considering whether to do away with the Act completely or to improve on it.“We are looking at two models.
“One is the model used in England, where they have both the OSA and FIA.
“The other is Indonesia, where they only have the Public Information Disclosure Act, ” he said in answer to a supplementary question by Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said yesterday.
Hanipa said having the FIA could help strike a balance if the OSA was maintained.
“The FIA can offset some of the more difficult elements that the OSA may contain, ” he said, adding that on a personal note, he did not see the OSA as a problem.
“Truthfully, my personal view is that the OSA does not have problems.It was only a problem when it was abused previously to protect oppression and not secrets, ” he said.He added that the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of law, the Communications and Multimedia Ministry and several government agencies were discussing which direction to take on the matter.He also said public consultations would be held before any proposed laws on the matter were finalised.