Tuesday, February 16, 2016

OSA not for hiding corruption, says minister

The Official Secrets Act 1972 (OSA) exists to prevent the disclosure of information that could undermine the government's interests, and is not meant to cover up any wrongdoing, said Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Paul Low. The minister in charge of integrity and good governance said OSA was needed to protect information related to security, matters still under investigation or negotiation, and the personal data of citizens. "The Official Secrets Act is not there to cover up corruption, abuses or even fraud," Low said in a radio interview with MACC.fm. He added that OSA should be amended to encourage whistleblowing and should be viewed positively.  Low said he believed individuals leaked information through unauthorised channels because current laws did not provide them with full protection. "As I've read it, the whistleblowing policy applies only to the private sector, not the government sector," he said. "So we need to look at an adjustment to cover the civil service so that the whistleblowers are protected." He added that Putrajaya should focus on becoming more transparent as this would increase the government's accountability. Information such as terms of a concession agreement or privatisation project could be made public, he said. – February 16, 2016.]]>

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