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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

C4: Court decision a victory for right to information

The corruption watchdog says auditor-general's report on 1MDB should not come under the Official Secrets Act.
PETALING JAYA: The Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4) has hailed the High Court’s decision to hear the applications by Selangor Menteri Besar Azmin Ali and former Umno member Muhammad Zahid Md Arip to have the auditor-general (A-G)’s report on 1MDB declassified.
In a statement today, C4 said the decision was a significant step towards recognising the importance of safeguarding the right to freedom of information and the need to check the colonial Official Secrets Act 1972 (OSA), which it claimed had been used to mask corrupt practices and obstruct the public from accessing information of public interest.
“The A-G’s report on 1MDB should never have been kept secret as it runs contrary to the very purpose of the audit itself.
“The allegations of corruption surrounding 1MDB are serious allegations that ought to be investigated transparently, in line with Malaysia’s international obligation under the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (Uncac), which Malaysia ratified in 2008,” it said.
C4 said the OSA worked against the principles of the Uncac by shielding information from the public by means of criminalising whistleblowers who exposed corruption and mismanagement.
“By limiting the reporting of corruption to the authorities, the OSA promotes an environment that breeds corruption, primarily because secrecy allows for cases to be squashed without an explanation,” it said. -FMT

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