Saturday, February 27, 2016

Not every government document a state secret, PKR MP tells Azalina

The claim by Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said that the briefing by former attorney-general (A-G) to Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on alleged criminal proof against the prime minister was a "coup" attempt is baseless and illogical, a PKR lawmaker said today. Padang Serai MP N.Surendran said the minister had clearly abused the term "coup" which carries serious connotations. A coup, he said, is defined as an illegal seizure of power and since the A-G has powers under the constitution to institute prosecutions, it was absurd to suggest it was a coup attempt.  "To put it another way, properly carrying out duties provided under the Constitution, can never amount to an illegal seizure of power or coup. "Had one of us from the Opposition or civil society made such a serious allegation, no doubt so-called right-wing NGOs would have lodged mass police reports against us for causing public unease or disorder or for criminal defamation," he said in a statement today. The lawmaker also said the A-G was, in fact, obliged to inform Muhyiddin, as the second ranking official in government, should there be any evidence of wrongdoing by the prime minister. "This is because any action to be potentially taken against a sitting PM would impact upon the day-to-day running of the government. "Hence, the DPM cannot be kept in the dark," Surendran said. He also rebutted Azalina's claims that there was a violation of the Official Secrets Act arising from the briefing, saying instead, that "there is no such thing". Surendran said that documents that fall under official secrets are defined in the Schedule to the OSA 1972, and these include Cabinet and state exco papers, documents on national security, defence and international relations. "Documents pertaining to any charge being drawn up by the A-G are not official secrets. "The minister must understand that not every government document is an official secret. "In addition, the briefing was to then deputy prime minister who is fully entitled by law to be briefed on matters involving any official secrets. "A responsible government minister should not so lightly make such allegations," he said. – February 28, 2016.]]>

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