Minister says AG's proposal for stiffer penalties on whistleblowers and journalists shows he is concerned with the incidence of too many leaked documents.

KUALA LUMPUR: There is no absolute freedom in this world be it for members of the public or members of the media, said Minister in Prime Minister’s Department Azalina Othman Said. 

In supporting the Attorney-General’s (AG) wish to likely amend the Official Secrets Act (OSA) to include stiffer penalties for whistleblowers and journalists who report news based on leaked documents, Azalina argued that this showed Apandi Ali was concerned with the number of incidents concerning leaked documents in the country.

On February 6, Apandi was quoted by a Chinese daily as saying that he was looking at the possibility of imposing life imprisonment and 10 strokes of the rotan on whistleblowers and journalists who leaked information on confidential documents.

The Pengerang lawmaker went on to claim that even in the US, there was no such thing as absolute freedom whether for members of the press or the public.

“I think what the AG is saying is that it is high time for Malaysia itself (to put a stop to it).

“There are a lot of breaches going on when it comes to government information. You don’t get that in other countries,” she told reporters before exiting MCA’s Chinese New Year celebrations at the party’s headquarters here today.

Azalina also said it was difficult for the government to carry out their duties if there were always breaches in confidential information and thus serious action had to be taken to put an end to its occurrence.

She however said that Apandi’s proposal for harsher punishments would be reviewed in Parliament first.

When asked about people leaking information on corruption and the misappropriation of funds, Azalina said, individuals with such information should lodge a report with relevant government agencies instead of leaking the information to the press.

“I think even in America, if you leak too much information you will be arrested. So why is it everything is okay in Malaysia?”

Source from Free Malaysian Today

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