KUALA LUMPUR, August 27 – The abolition of the official 1972 secrecy law (OSA) would hamper the work of the federal government at cabinet level, said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who said that the law despite the promised revision of the coalition in Pakatan Harapan (PH) will continue to exist at GE14.
Dr. Mahathir told news portal Malaysiakini that the law was necessary to prevent ministers from speaking publicly about discussions that are confidential to the government.
"If you do not want OSA, we can do that [do it]. [But] there will be no government because we are limited, we can not speak freely in the cabinet because it will be known to the people.
"There are things that we have to keep secret … If, for example, we tell everything we have discussed in the cabinet, many of us will be hammered, you see," he said.
Dr. Mahathir said that the government must keep some things secret so that members of the cabinet can make good decisions.
He acknowledged that the OSA is not perfect, but pointed out that there would be no room for abuse if the elected government would stick to the rule of law.
"The last government did not follow the rule of law, they did what they wanted with the law.
"The most important thing is to find a government that will not violate the laws," he said.
In addition to the OSA, Pakatan Harapan had promised in his election maneuver to introduce the Whistleblower Protection Act 2010, the Witness Protection Act 2009 and a Freedom of Information Act.
The OSA was used by the previous Barisan. The nasal government had used the OSA to classify the Auditor-General (A-G) report on the 1Malaysia Development Berhad scandal as official secret.
Then Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli was sentenced to 18 months in prison for releasing part of the report, but did not serve his sentence after PH Putrajaya had taken over.
The A-G report on the issue was made public on 12 May.
Last month Dr. Mahathir promised that his administration would not hide the reports from the Public Accounts Committee under OSA.