Putrajaya says reviewing Official Secrets Act to plug leaks

Hanipa said the government is also simultaneously reviewing the Whistleblower Protection Act 2010 and the Witness Protection Act 2009 in its efforts to improve transparency. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Hanipa said the government is also simultaneously reviewing the Whistleblower Protection Act 2010 and the Witness Protection Act 2009 in its efforts to improve transparency. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, July 16 — The federal government is looking to amend the Official Secrets Act 1972 (OSA) to prevent the leak of state secrets.

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mohamed Hanipa Maidin told the Dewan Rakyat during Question Time today that the amendments are expected to be tabled next year.

“The government, through the Chief Government Security Office (CGSO) and relevant ministries, departments and agencies, is reviewing and studying the amendments needed for the OSA in its efforts to tighten the current regulations to prevent leakages in the ICT environment and current threats.

“The amendments on Act 88 is expected to be tabled in Parliament in 2020 after it has obtained the approval of the Cabinet,” the de facto deputy law minister replied Tumpat MP Datuk Che Abdullah Mat Nawi.

Hanipa said the government is also simultaneously reviewing the Whistleblower Protection Act 2010 and the Witness Protection Act 2009 in its efforts to improve transparency.

A working committee has been formed to review the Whistleblower Protection Act and it is in the midst of collecting data and studying the policies for improvements.

The committee has organised engagement sessions with stakeholders and is cooperating with experts from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. The study is expected to be completed at the end of this year.

Hanipa said amendments to the Witness Protection Act 2009 is required to ensure the Witness Protection Programme is not compromised, while promising it will not disrupt transparency and freedom of the press.

“The secrecy underlined here is on the safety of the witness and the witness’ family which could be compromised if the scope of openness and transparency is expanded to include the witness.

“Witnesses must be seen as an important asset that must be protected in all aspects and any leaks could compromise the Witness Protection Programme,” said Hanipa.

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