Report: Ban on cellphones, smart devices at Cabinet, state exco meetings

Putrajaya has banned the use of mobile phones and other electronic devices at Cabinet, post-Cabinet and state executive council meetings. —  Picture by Choo Choy May
Putrajaya has banned the use of mobile phones and other electronic devices at Cabinet, post-Cabinet and state executive council meetings. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, June 8 ― In a bid to prevent information leaks, Putrajaya has banned the use of mobile phones and other electronic devices at Cabinet, post-Cabinet and state executive council meetings where policy and other confidential matters are to be discussed.

The ban was issued by National Security director-general Datuk Sanusi Sidek in January this year, The Star reported today.

“This has become necessary as the uncontrolled use of such devices in government agencies can have negative implications and compromise security.

“It can also violate provisions in the Official Secrets Act 1972,” Sanusi was quoted saying in the directive, which was reportedly issued following the leak of an internal memo concerning court matters from the Attorney General’s Chambers.

Other than mobile phones, the banned devices cover smartwatches, smart pens, cameras, voice and video recorders as well as tablets.

These electronics devices have been reportedly banned at meetings where the issues discussed involve national security, the federal budget, defence, international relations and high-level meetings at ministries, government departments and agencies.

The devices were also barred at discussions on government tenders, enforcement activities and meetings concerning the running of the government.

Sanusi was quoted as saying that the move was necessary as the leak of government secrets through mobile phones had reached worrying levels.

“Department heads will have to decide on the restricted zones where the use of mobile phones and other communication equipment will be barred.

“The failure to comply can lead to the risk of official secrets being leaked and this can affect the government’s image as well as national security.”

He said notices should be put up to warn the attendees on the ban of such devices at meeting rooms.

Sanusi also called for action to be taken against members who failed to comply with the directive.

He said that if there is any violation of provisions in the Official Secrets Act, the chairman will have to lodge a police report and notify his department in writing.

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