The intention of Parliament in framing the Official Secrets Act (OSC) must be taken up in the Federal Court, sitting as the constitutional court.

KUALA LUMPUR: Moscow-based investment consultant Pascal Najadi feels compelled to come forward and add his say on recent statements by Attorney-General Mohd Apandi Ali which, in his opinion, smack of Rule by Law (men rule, not laws).

“The Federal Constitution is based on the Rule of Law (i.e laws rule),” reminded Najadi, son of the late AmBank founder Husain Najadi.

He was commenting for one on the AG’s statement in the Sin Chew Daily on Sunday that journalists may even be jailed for life , under proposed amendments to the Official Secrets Act (OSA), for being party to leaking state secrets. “The intention of Parliament in framing the OSA must be taken up in the Federal Court, sitting as the constitutional court,” said Najadi. “OSA was meant to protect state secrets.”

“Wrongdoing, including criminal breach of trust and abuse of power, are not state secrets. That’s a misreading of the intention of Parliament.”

He added that it was not the done thing to jail journalists for not disclosing their sources. “If journalists disclose sources to anyone, no one will talk to them and their whole career, indeed the profession, will fall apart.”

“It’s against the ethics of their profession to disclose sources unless they themselves (sources) are willing to be quoted.”

Najadi warned that he would not talk to any journalist in confidence if it subsequently transpired that the journalist concerned named him in a report where he had requested confidentiality or exposed him as the source whether in Court or privately to the authorities concerned. “I may even pass documents to journalists on condition that they be kept confidential. I expect my request to be respected.” He may agree however, as circumstances permit, that journalists can report the contents of confidential documents he passes them but without disclosing that such documents were in their possession.

In his case, he agreed that he was not a civil servant and therefore cannot be cited as the source of leaking state secrets. “At best, I can only be a secondary source.”

Najadi argued that not everything in government can be considered a state secret even if classified under the OSA. “The politicians are mistaken if they think that they can get away with anything by simply classifying matters under the OSA.”

“This is certainly not the case. The intention of Parliament in framing the OSA determines what’s an official secret and what isn’t.”

Najadi expressed surprise that Apandi , despite having been a judge, was not on the ball when it comes to the Rule of Law, the intention of the framers of the Federal Constitution and the intention of Parliament. “One example is the AG’s recent claim that he has absolute powers to prosecute or otherwise under the Federal Constitution.”

It would be unfortunate, said Najadi, if the Constitutional Court does not visit the AG’s claim which he made when announcing that Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak would not be hauled to Court to face justice for alleged wrongdoing. “Prerogative and discretionary powers are not unfettered if abuse can be proven. I believe that there’s also case law on this in Malaysia.”

The Federal Constitution, said Najadi, enshrines the concept of “All are Equal before the Law” and that no one was above the law.

In summation, he urged the Bar Council and the Judiciary not to allow Najib and Apandi Ali to do whatever they liked and get away with it.

Source from FMT NEWS

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