While the Parliamentary Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang has urged the police to stop investigating us under the OSA, the Works Minister Samy Vellu said that we should be punished for disclosing the Litrak agreement.
Civil Rights groups Tenaganita and the Coalition for Freedom of Information also issued statements in solidarity and support with us.
Halt all OSA investigations
Media Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader and DAP MP for Ipoh Timur Lim Kit Siang
IGP should halt all OSA investigations until the police has received clear legal advice from the Attorney-General that the Litrak LDP concession agreement is protected by OSA
The Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Musa Hassan, should halt all Official Secrets Act (OSA) investigations against Opposition leaders, Ronnie Liu (DAP), Khalid Ibrahim and Tian Chua (PKR) until the police has received clear legal advice from the Attorney-General as the Public Prosecutor that the Litrak Lebuhraya Damansara-Puchong (LDP) concession agreement is protected by OSA.
There are at least two major reasons why the Police should not be trigger-happy to launch OSA investigations, viz:
Firstly, undermining and even destroying the pledge of open, accountable, transparent and good governance which was the clarion pledge of Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi when he became the fifth Prime Minister and on the basis of which he won the landslide 91% parliamentary seats in the 2004 general election;
Secondly, to demonstrate that the police upholds the rule of law and has learnt the lessons from the Mohd Ezam Mohd Nor OSA case, where the Shah Alam High Court Judge K.N. Segara in April 2004 quashed Ezam’s conviction and two-year jail sentence by the Sessions Court and made the following statements:
• It was incumbent upon the prosecution to establish that the alleged documents divulged by Ezam were genuinely classified by an authorized government official as stated in section 2 of the OSA.
• Instead of calling witnesses to prove the important requirement, the prosecution chose to solely rely on the certificate issued under Section 16(A) of OSA by the then Attorney-General, the late Mohtar Abdullah on August 24, 2000 in proving that the reports were genuinely classified as official secrets. Section 16(A) stipulates that the certificate by an authorized government official that an official document is an official secret “shall be conclusive evidence…and shall not be questioned in any court on any grounds whatsoever”.
• Segara found Section 16(A) to be “meaningless, obnoxious, draconian and oppressive” – “void and inconsistent to Section 2 of the Act in the interpretation of official secrets”.
• The judge said Section 16(A) cannot exempt the prosecution’s burden to prove that the classification of any document as official secret was done in a proper manner as stated in the Act.
The first question that must be resolved is whether the document in question, the Litrak LDP concession agreement, is an “official secret” under the OSA, and when and how it became an “official secret’.
This is because after the Segara judgment in the Mohd Ezam case, the Police have no reason to launch investigations which is no different from police harassment and intimidation of Opposition leaders for their legitimate political activities to hold the government to accountability, transparency, integrity and good governance unless the Police are fully satisfied that the document concerned is an official secret as to fall under the OSA.
The Police should now know, if they had known before, that there are official documents which are not official secrets under the OSA.
The only authority the Police can rely on this matter is the Attorney-General, and this is why the Police must not initiate any OSA investigations in relation to any police report unless it has received advice from the AG that the document impugned was in fact an official secret to fall under the OSA.
Has the Police received such advice from the Attorney-General that the Litrak LDP concession is not only an official document but an official secret under OSA?
Can the Police launch investigations and go on a “fishing trip” to harass and intimidate Opposition leaders and social activists just because of a police report under the OSA, regardless of the document referred to is an official secret or not?
If the Police has not been advised by the Attorney-General that the OSA has come into play as the document impugned is an “official secret”, how could the police invoke powers under the OSA to initiate investigations, including Section 11 of the OSA to demand the production of documents?
Section 15(1) provides that no prosecution for an offense under the OSA shall be instituted except by or with the consent of the Public Prosecutor. This means that even in cases where there had been unauthorized disclosure of “official secret”, there are circumstances where prosecution is not warranted in the public interest.
It would be a total mockery of such protection given by OSA against capricious prosecution where official secrets are involved if the police are allowed to abuse their powers by launching investigations under the OSA when the police is not clear and has not been advised by the Attorney-General that the official document in question is an official secret under the OSA, as is the case with the Litrak LDP concession agreement.
Lim Kit Siang
|Samy: They must pay for disclosing secret toll deal|
|Leaders of opposition parties have been accused of making a ‘big drama’ out of a toll concession agreement by Works Minister S Samy Vellu.Speaking at a press conference after officiating a textile shop in Kuala Lumpur this morning, he criticised the opposition leaders for revealing details of the document in public and blowing the matter out of proportion.“They take it, they exhibit it and they did a big drama with it […] without realising the consequences of it,” the minister said.
He reiterated that those who revealed the documents must be brought to justice.
“This is an agreement between the government and the concession company. And that has all been done with the requirements of the law.
“It is part of a government document which cannot be revealed. And they have revealed it and they will pay for it,” he stressed.
Four opposition leaders have been summoned to the Bukit Aman police headquarters on Monday under the draconian Official Secrets Act (OSA).
They are DAP NGO bureau head Ronnie Liu, PAS treasurer Dr Hatta Ramli, PKR treasurer Khalid Ibrahim and information chief Tian Chua.
Earlier this month, the quartet showed reporters a copy of a document pertaining to the agreement signed between the government and the concessionaire of the Damansara-Puchong Expressway.
The opposition argued that the 200-paged secret document showed the government had guaranteed profits to concessionaires at the expense of road users.
Following this, Samy Vellu has suggested to the cabinet that the attorney-general take action against those responsible for ‘stealing and exhibiting’ the toll concession agreements.
Those found guilty of violating the OSA are liable to a mandatory jail sentence of at least one year.
Should know consequences
The MIC president then took a swipe at Tian Chua calling him a ‘small boy’.
“Tian Chua and others have no right to reveal it. He’s like a small boy playing on the street. He’s a grown up man. He should know that it’s an official secret document, yet he revealed it.
“He knew the consequences of his action. So he has to face the consequences (now),” he said.
Chua had earlier told malaysiakini said they would adhere to the summon but he challenged the government’s decision to classify the document under OSA.
Yesterday, DAP said that people have a right to know about the contents of the toll concession agreement because they are taxpayers and highway users.
When asked to respond, Samy Vellu answered: “When the document is declared an official secret document, it is official secret document.
“Today they will do this, tomorrow they will take another secret document and reveal it. If one (person) reveal secret documents today without paying for it, everybody will do the same,” he said.
He added that the ministry has previously revealed documents relating to the North-South expressway to DAP in the past.
Meanwhile, Investigating officer ASP A Rajakopal from the Bukit Aman’s crime investigation department could not be reached for comment since yesterday.
According to the police summon signed by him earlier, the opposition leaders are required to hand over all documents or copies of documents related to the agreement between the government and Lingkaran Trans Kota Sdn Bhd (Litrak).
They were also reminded that failure to appear on Monday was an offence under Section 11 of the Act.