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Monday, June 28, 2010

KL High Court orders water documents revealed

The federal government has seven days to disclose the contents of the audit report and water concession agreement entered between it, the Selangor government and Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (Syabas).

This follows a landmark ruling at the Kuala Lumpur High Court today allowing the documents - which were classified by the government as being under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) - to be made public.

The decision was made by judicial commissioner Hadhariah Syed Ismail, who ruled the government's refusal to disclose the reports did not consider the expectation of members of a public who are adversely affected by the decision.

“The respondents' decision to allow the privatisation of water service and arbitrary increase tariff, and at the same time invoking the OSA, is disproportionate to the aims of the Act.

“It also counter to the principles of good governance, accountability, transparency, and (that) the interests of rakyat should come first,” she said in her judgment.

Hadhariah ruled that since the government has failed to fulfill those principles, the court is compelled order it to do so.

Hadhariah made the ruling in the judicial review case brought by Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) president Syed Shahir Syed Mohamud and 13 others against the Energy, Water, and Telecommunications Ministry, the Selangor government and the federal government.

According to the plaintiffs' lawyer Ang Heng Leng, this is a landmark judgement which allows for documents classified as being under the OSA can be challenged out of public interests and the public had the right to view such documents.

courtesy of Malaysiakini

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