PKR MPs slam OSA seal on CEP report

Pasir Gudang MP Hassan Abdul Karim speaks to reporters at the Parliament lobby in Kuala Lumpur March 14, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Pasir Gudang MP Hassan Abdul Karim speaks to reporters at the Parliament lobby in Kuala Lumpur March 14, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, March 29 — Two PKR MP’s have today voiced their dissatisfaction at the government’s decision to classify the Council of Eminent Persons (CEP) report under the Official Secrets Act (OSA).

Pasir Gudang MP Hassan Abdul Karim, in a statement, pleaded with Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to table the report in Parliament and make it accessible to the public.

“The people have high hopes when the prime minister formed the CEP immediately after forming the new federal government after the 14th General Election on May 9, 2018.

“Therefore, I, as an MP, am very disappointed when the government informed the Dewan Rakyat yesterday, March 29, 2019, that the CEP report will be made a secret under the Official Secrets Act (OSA).

“The announcement in Parliament by the Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department surely disappointed the people who had hopes of seeing the Pakatan Harapan government being more open and transparent compared to Barisan Nasional (BN),” Hassan said.

He also questioned the motive behind the secrecy.

“I would like to humbly and most respectfully remind that the prime minister is answerable to Parliament and the Parliament is answerable to the people. This is the basis of a democratic government that is way different than an autocratic, iron-fisted or even an oligarchy,” he added.

Permatang Pauh MP Nurul Izzah Anwar said on Twitter: “There is a better term. Unacceptable.”

The terse remark was posted along with the link to a news report in which Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mohamed Hanipa Maidin was quoted as saying that the government had no intention of releasing the CEP report to the public as it was under OSA.

Hanipa had yesterday said that the CEP report will remain under the OSA only to protect confidential information and not to conceal wrongdoing.

He said this was unlike the previous BN government which used the OSA to conceal corruption.

Former de facto law minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim also took to Twitter to express his displeasure over the move, even labelling the PH government as ‘mad’.

“Tun Daim and five others worked very hard to prepare the CEP report; about breakdown in governance, about closing one eye to abuse of power. We should read the report and discuss this. But PH govt classify that as ‘official secret’. This govt must be mad.

“To curb corruption and abuse of power, govt must be transparent. Secrecy must be limited to real security matters. If opinion of six eminent persons on administrative/ economic matters are ‘secret’ then we have no hope,” Zaid, who has been a staunch critic of both BN and PH, wrote.

The CEP was led by former finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin, and is made up of former Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz, former Petronas CEO Tan Sri Hassan Marican, economist Jomo Kwame Sundaram and billionaire tycoon Tan Sri Robert Kuok.

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