Putrajaya says OSA to protect government secrets, not hide corruption

Datuk Razali Ibrahim (right) says the purpose of the OSA is the uphold the integrity of government documents and information that should not be made public. ― File pic
Datuk Razali Ibrahim (right) says the purpose of the OSA is the uphold the integrity of government documents and information that should not be made public. ― File pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 16 ― Putrajaya today denied claims that the Official Secrets Act (OSA) is used as a cover up for corruption, stressing that the law is needed to protect information that is key to national security and the economy.

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Razali Ibrahim said the purpose of the OSA is the uphold the integrity of government documents and information that should not be made public.

“The OSA is not used to defend corruption,” he said during Question Time in response to a supplementary question by PAS' Pokok Sena MP Datuk Mahfuz Omar.

“If you claim that the OSA is used to silence people, we have the Whistleblowers Act,” Razali added.

Mahfuz had asked if Putrajaya was considering amending the OSA to allow for protected information to be released when dealing with corruption cases, repeating a claim last year by Umno's Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah that the law had “hidden thousands of sins”.

Tengku Razaleigh claimed that the OSA has long been used to hide the truth behind many of the government's dealings, as it gives Putrajaya wide powers to pursue whistleblowers even if they have incriminating evidence of wrongdoings.

Razali, meanwhile, said today that a total of eight people were charged under the OSA between 1972 and 2000, and that there were no recorded cases of legal action under the OSA after 2000.