Source: The Malaysian Insider


Khairy: Yes to transparency, but not for arms buys

By Shannon Teoh

July 30, 2011

Bourdon’s deportation has thrown the spotlight back onMalaysia’s arms purchase methods. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, July 30 — Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin has declared support for a Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, but stressed last night that several areas needed to be excluded in the interest of national security, such as defence procurements.

He pointed out that “no country will disclose specifications” of their military hardware due to security concerns.

“The exact specs of tanks, what kind of systems and missiles we use shouldn’t be discussed in Parliament and recorded down on the Hansard,” the Rembau MP said at a forum on FOI at the Bar Council last night.

The issue of defence deals cropped up again after authorities deported a French lawyer who has been pursuing judicial investigations intoMalaysia’s controversial RM7 billion Scorpene submarine purchase in the French courts, the day after he spoke on the issue inPenang.

In his absence, Pakatan Rakyat (PR) MPs had accused the Najib administration of wanting to keep the facts hidden in the purchase of the submarines from French defence firm DCNS and up to RM16 billion in defence deals over the past three years.

However, Khairy, along with DAP lawmaker Charles Santiago, mooted an Armed Services committee instead be formed by lawmakers and the armed forces to hear representations from field experts before discussing policy in secret.

When asked if this would still mean that decision-making was shrouded in secrecy, he said that “some disclosure is better than none and at least MPs, representatives of the people, will have the information.”

The purchase of two submarines from French defence company DCNS in 2002 was made when Datuk Seri Najib Razak was still defence minister and a company run by Abdul Razak Baginda, said to be a close aide of the then-deputy prime minister, was reported to have received commissions of over RM500 million from the deal.

Human rights groups and opposition parties here also linked the episode to the 2006 murder of Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu.

In December 2009, Suaram filed a complaint with the French courts asking for access to information regarding government contracts signed with Abdul Razak’s Perimekar Sdn Bhd and other information classified as official secrets inMalaysia.

The French courts accepted the request to investigate claims of graft in the RM500 million payment from DCNS to Perimekar.

French lawyer William Bourdon had arrived inKuala Lumpuron July 23 fromPenang, where he spoke at a fundraiser organised by rights group Suaram regarding the Scorpene submarine deal but was prevented from speaking at further events when immigration officers boarded his plane and detained him before deporting him the same night.

Klang MP Santiago had said thatMalaysiashould go further than simply forming a committee to scrutinise defence procurement as defence journals and publications “already tells you who’s buying what for how much.”

“If you buy a missile for so much, experts can tell you why. So there is nothing to hide. If you search on Google, you can find out what the Malaysian government has.

“Procurement policies should be made clearer. This culture of secrecy must come to an end”, he said.

மூலம் :- மலேசிய நண்பன்

Soalan : Tuan Charles Santiago [Klang] minta Menteri Penerangan, Komunikasi dan Kebudayaan menyatakan adakah pihak kerajaan bercadang untuk menggubal undang-undang hak untuk maklumat (Right to information) sebagai fokus ke tujuh dalam program transformasi kerajaan untuk menjamin kepentingan rakyat dan kembalikan keyakinan terhadap kerajaan.

Jawapan :

Source : Free Malaysia Today

Thu, 08 Apr 2010 14:43

By Rahmah Ghazali

KUALA LUMPUR: Despite calls from various quarters to draft a law on the rights to information, the government had “never discussed the matter”.

Deputy Information, Culture and Communication Minister Heng Sai Kee said: “The government has no plans introduce any such law.”

In response to a query from Charles Santiago (DAP-Klang) in Parliament today, Heng said the 1Malaysia concept encompasses openness and transparency in the administration.

“It gives an opportunity to the people to get any information as long as it is not against the law or any other existing Acts.”

Her explanation, however, failed to convince Charles.

He said there was a strong case for such a law in line with the Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s call to be more transparent under the newly-launched New Economic Model (NEM).

“Why can’t we have this law?” he asked. “The prime minister called for more transparency in order to prevent rent-seeking and patronage, especially in government procurements,” he said.

He argued that the Pakatan-led Selangor government has enacted such a law at the state level, and has declassified several documents pertaining to the state administration.

Heng, however, disagreed, saying that there is no correlation between the corruption index and enacting such a law as is with other countries.

“When we look at our neighbouring country, it also has such an Act but it has a higher corruption index than us,” said Heng.

Source : The Edge Daily

Written by Chua Sue-Ann
Thursday, 08 April 2010 11:47

KUALA LUMPUR: The federal government has no plans to enact any freedom of information (FOI) legislation as the 1Malaysia concept has paved the way for people’s right to information, according to Information, Communication and Culture Deputy Minister Senator Heng Seai Kie.

Heng, in a reply to Charles Santiago (Klang-DAP) in parliament on Thursday, April 8, said the ministry and the federal government had not discussed any matters related to FOI legislation. She added the government had no plans to enact such laws or make it a “focus” in the Government Transformation Programme.

“The people’s right to information is guaranteed. The implementation of the 1Malaysia concept, which is more open and transparent, has given more space for the people to obtain information as long as it is not against the law,” Heng told the Dewan Rakyat.

In his supplementary question, Charles pointed to the recently announced new economic model’s (NEM) executive summary which said that the new model must change the old system of “rent-seeking and patronage”.

Charles maintained that such declarations formed a strong basis to draft legislation to promote rights to information.

“If Selangor (state government) can do it why can’t the federal government?” Charles said, referring to the state government’s endeavours for greater access to information.

In reply, Heng said that there was no correlation between corruption indices and FOI while noting that neighbouring countries who had signed up for FOI laws had more corruption than Malaysia.

Advocates of FOI laws have frequently criticised the Official Secrets Act 1972, which prohibits the possession or distribution of any government document marked as a “secret” or “restricted”.

Source : Merdeka Review

Title : Opposition urges to enact law to implement transparency in information, Heng says freedom of information act is not a reform agenda.

作者/本刊朱君明 Apr 08, 2010 04:19:10 pm

【本刊朱君明撰述】新闻、通讯与文化部副部长王赛芝透露政府未制定 “资讯权利法令”(Right To Information Act),强调制定该法不是“政府改革计划”的环节,并称“一个马来西亚”理念已经足以确保国家的透明度。

今早国会下议院,巴生区国会议员查尔斯圣地亚哥(Charles Santiago)提问:“政府是否打算如‘政府改革计划’第七项提及的,制定‘资讯权利法令’以确保人民的利益及赢回民心?”

王 赛芝(右图)回答说,新闻部和中央政府目前尚未讨论此事。不过,人民获取资讯的权利已经受到现有的其他法令保证。

她 还说道:“一个马来西亚的概念已经赋予人们获得资讯的空间与权力,只要他们没有违反法律及法令。”她强调,制定“资讯权利法令”亦非“政府改革计划”的其 中一环。


查尔斯圣地亚哥(左图)回应道,刚推出的“新经济模 式”(NEM)已经为制定此法令打下了基础,并指出“新经济模式”倡议要提高政府运作的透明度及责任感,以打击朋党及贪污风气。

他 透露,雪州政府将在下周州议会重开时提呈《资讯自由法令》(FOI)。“为什么雪州政府可以,而中央政府却不可以?”

王 赛芝反驳道,一个国家的贪污指数和《资讯权利法令》并没有直接的关系。“我们看看几个已经签署了此法令的邻国,我们将发现他们的犯罪及贪污指数是很高的, 甚至比马来西亚的还高。”

查尔斯圣地亚哥显然不满意王赛芝的回答,站起来表示:“她根本不明白资讯权 利。”不过,议长班迪卡(Pandikar Amin)却阻止他继续发言,并说道:“同一块蛋糕,你不能咬两口。”查尔斯圣地亚哥笑道:“这蛋糕很小。”

Source : The Sun

By Hemananthani Sivanandam

KUALA LUMPUR (April 8, 2010): The government has no plans to enact a Right to Information Act, as the 1Malaysia concept is adequate for the government to be open and transparent about its administration to the people.

Deputy Minister of Information, Culture and Communications Senator Heng Seai Kee said the neither the ministry nor the government had discussed the matter.

In response to Charles Santiago (DAP-Klang)’s question in Parliament today, the deputy minister said: “(1Malaysia concept) It also gives opportunity to the people to get any information as long as it is not against the law or any other existing Acts.

“Therefore, the government is not planning to enact this Act or make it the focus of government’s transformation,” she said.

Santiago then interjected and said there was a strong basis for the Act to be enacted.

“Why can’t we have this Act although the prime minister has called for more transparency in order to prevent rent-seeking and patronage especially in the government’s procurements?” asked Santiago.

He also argued that the Selangor government led by Pakatan Rakyat has enacted such act at the state level and has declassified several documents pertaining to the state administration.

Heng however disagreed, saying that there is no correlation between the corruption index and enacting the Act as proven in other countries.

“When we look at our neighbouring country, they also have such Act but they have higher corruption index compared to us,”said Heng. — theSun
Updated: 03:40PM Thu, 08 Apr 2010

Source : Malaysian Insider

By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal

KUALA LUMPUR, April 8 — The federal government has no plans to enact right to information legislation.

Deputy Minister of Information, Culture and Communications Senator Heng Seai Kee said in Parliament that the 1 Malaysia concept is sufficient to ensure transparency.

She was replying to Klang MP Charles Santiago during Question Time.

“Up till now it has never been discussed by the ministry or government. However, the rights of people to get information are guaranteed. The execution of 1 Malaysia has given people room and access to obtain information as long as it does not go against the laws and acts that have been outlined.”

“Therefore the government has not considered enacting this Act or making this a focus point of government transformation,” said Heng.

Santiago then pointed out that there was good reason for the introduction of such an act and pointed out that that the NEM (New Economic Model) espoused by the government has recognised that more transparency is needed to combat rent-seeking, and corruption.

“If Selangor can do it, why can’t the federal government do so?” asked Santiago in reference to the state’s recent declassifying of documents.

Heng was not impressed and rejected the reasoning.

“There is no correlation between a country’s corruption index and rights to information…if we see neighbouring countries that have signed the Act, we can find that actually their corruption index is high, higher than Malaysia,” said the deputy minister.

This, in turn prompted Santiago to make a passing remark, saying that “she does not understand the right to information.”

Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin then told the Klang MP to sit down, and said “you can’t have two bites of the same cake.”

“But the cake is very small,” Santiago retorted and laughed.

Source : Bernama

November 30, 2009 23:27 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 30 (Bernama) — The Works Ministry will provide a written answer to every question raised by members of parliament, the Dewan Rakyat was told Monday.

Its Deputy Minister, Datuk Yong Khoon Seng said this was due to inadequate time to answer all questions during the winding-up debate on the ministry’s supply bill.

“I will give written answers to all questions due to lack of time. I expect the winding-up debate to finish at about 10pm. I am tired,” he said.

However, Yong was pestered by opposition members of parliament to reveal the Bukit Antarabangsa landslide report.

“The Cabinet had decided that the report was classified under the Official Secret Act. So I cannot reveal it,” he added.

Deputy Speaker Datuk Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar intervened and stopped Zuraidah Kamaruddin (PKR-Ampang), Charles Anthony Santiago (DAP-Klang), Tony Pua (DAP-Petaling Jaya Utara) and Teo Nie Ching (DAP-Serdang) from harping on the issue.

The opposition members of parliament also questioned the absence of Works Minister Datuk Shaziman Abu Mansor.

The sitting resumes tomorrow.


Source : The Star

Sunday November 29, 2009

WHEN the Selangor State Government went public with its intention to declassify the Bukit Antarabangsa landslide report, the country missed a collective heartbeat.

But that anticipation has since dissipated as the Federal Government applied the brakes on Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim’s decision. The Federal Government has challenged the decision and cautioned the state not to declassify the documents.

For now, only parts of the report are available pending an approval from the Works Minister. No one knows when or if the green light would ever come.

The fatal landslide which occurred on Dec 6, 2008 killed five people and caused damage costing millions of ringgit. The Government established a technical committee led by the Public Works Department together with 11 other agencies to investigate the causes of the landslide.

The public has a right to know exactly what triggered the tragedy. Bukit Antarabangsa residents reportedly welcomed the release of the report.

But the Government decided against making the entire report public. The question that comes to mind is whether the Government is protecting particular interests.

However, the Selangor state leadership must demonstrate that it is different from the Federal Government.

I therefore call on Khalid to honour his earlier commitment to legislate freedom of information and declassify the document in the interest of the people of Selangor, who voted for good governance, transparency and accountability in the 2008 elections.

If necessary, Khalid should convene an extraordinary State Assembly meeting to get the legislative body’s endorsement to declassify the report. In this way, the Selangor State Government can send a strong message to the people of the state and to the Federal Government that it would not compromise on the right to information and public safety of its people.

Furthermore, the report is crucial to setting guidelines for hillside developments and preventing further landslides.

This is certainly not the time for the Government to wrangle over whether or not Khalid would violate the Official Secrets Act if he made the report public. Bukit Antarabangsa residents were reportedly not surprised that a burst pipe and leak in active water supply pipes caused the tragic landslide, as the leafy suburb has always been waterlogged despite a lack of rain. This view has since been confirmed by the PWD’s technical team.

If indeed the landslide was a result of negligence and poor maintenance of the pipes by the water company, then immediate action should be taken against these businesses and contractors by Suruhanjaya Perkhidmatan Air Negara (SPAN) and the Energy, Water and Green Technology Ministry.

I suggest that SPAN and the ministry immediately identify the company and suspend all existing water-related infrastructure work pending further investigations.


Member of Parliament,