Putrajaya refuses to lift OSA veil from Council of Eminent Persons’ report

Hanipa clarified during Question Time this morning that the government has no plans to remove the report from under the protection of the Official Secrets Act (OSA). — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Hanipa clarified during Question Time this morning that the government has no plans to remove the report from under the protection of the Official Secrets Act (OSA). — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, March 28 — The government will not declassify the Council of Eminent Persons’ (CEP) report and release it to the public, Hanipa Maidin told Parliament today.

The deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department clarified during Question Time this morning that the government has no plans to remove the report from under the protection of the Official Secrets Act (OSA).

“Up until today, this report has been protected by the OSA.

“This report was given to the prime minister only and there is no intention to share it with the masses,” Hanipa said.

Hanipa was answering to Wong Kah Woh (PH-Ipoh Timur) who asked if the government will make the contents of the report public.

Wong suggested publishing the report so its contents and revelations could be debated by the public, to which Hanipa disagreed.

The deputy minister then cited alleged abuses by the previous administration to justify this.

“Maybe some are asking why we want to protect the report under the OSA, but I would like to stress the OSA is something all countries need.

“We were not unhappy with the OSA itself, but because the OSA was abused and used to protect bribery, abuse of power and tyranny,” said Hanipa in a swipe at the previous Barisan Nasional government.

“Now we want to protect the issues and information that is confidential; this is the difference between us and the previous government,” he claimed

The CEP’s formation was announced on May 12 last year after Pakatan Harapan won the general election.

It was headed by former finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin and comprised industry icons including former Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz, former Petronas president and chief executive Tan Sri Hassan Merican, billionaire Robert Kuok,and prominent economist Jomo Kwame Sundaram.

The council had been set up by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad ostensibly to advise him on socio-economic and financial matters.

The council ran for 100 days, during which they had met with over 350 people from more than 200 organisations.

The council ended on August 19 last year.

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