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Malaysian Government Won’t Pursue FOI Legislation

Source: freedominfo.org

Date: 20 March 2012

The Malaysian government has no plans to propose freedom of information legislation because this is already provided for in the Constitution, according to the minister for Information, Communications and Culture, Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim.

His ministry is focusing on improved information dissemination efforts to get information to the people rather than introducing a new act, he said during question time in parliament according to a report in The Star.

He was responding to a question from Khairy Jamaluddin (BN-Rembau) who asked if the government had plans to introduce a FOI bill. “To another question from Khairy on abolishing the Official Secrets Act 1972, Rais said the government saw the act as necessary for national interest,” The Star reported. The article continued:

“The Official Secrets Act does not come under my ministry but under the Home Ministry. However, in this context, it should be made clear that every government has the right to classify certain matters which can jeopardise national security as confidential,” he said. To a supplementary question from Saifuddin Nasution (PKR-Machang) whether the government planned to make it easier for the people to get access to credible information on official secrets, Rais said the matter had to be studied in detail.

“In determining whether certain information or data should or should not be be made public, objectivity would be the main yardstick and the ministry sees this from the aspects of universality and demands for official secrecy,” he said.

Two of the 15 state governments (Selangor and Penang) have enacted FOI laws.