OSA threat: What AAB has said on the Litrak agreement on 10 Jan

From a concerned journalist:

Hi
i still cannot find anywhere that the Agreement is listed in the Schedule to the
OSA Act 1972-and I see that even Badawi is not sure-so can someone
help me out here-what makes the 1996 Agreement sobject to the OSA???
-note-I am making special reference to the 1996 agreement.

BTW, if the prime minister and Works Minister were not sure whether the toll concession agreements were classified as OSA  documents, can they now start a witch-hunting process by calling these documents OSA materials? Please read an old report published by the NST on 10 Jan this year…

How secret is LDP toll concession agreement?
345 words
10 January 2007
New Straits Times
2
English
(c) 2007 New Straits Times Press (Malaysia) Berhad.

PUTRAJAYA: Action can be taken against Parti Keadilan Rakyat for
breaching the Official Secrets Act if the “secret” toll concession
agreement it purportedly obtained is classified under the Act.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said a check would be
made first to verify if the government’s agreement with Lingkaran
Trans Kota Sdn Bhd (Litrak), operator of the Damansara-Puchong Highway
(LDP), was OSA-classified.

“If it is, we can take action. We can also check on how Keadilan
obtained the document,” the prime minister told reporters yesterday
after the ground-breaking ceremony for the National Cancer Institute
here.

He was asked about Keadilan’s claim that it had obtained a copy of a
1996 concession agreement, which the party was using to organise
protests against the Jan 1 toll hike for the LDP.

The LDP is one of five highways in the Klang Valley on which toll
rates were increased.

On why government subsidies and toll collection for the LDP had to
continue despite Litrak’s net profit of RM80 million last year,
Abdullah said: “We have had a lot of discussions with them, and we
thought it was the reasonable thing to do. If you have some more
information, let us know.”

Abdullah reiterated that the toll hike was necessary and that highway
concessionaires had justified their reasons to the government.

“They had made projections on traffic volume in years to come, and

now, today, we have to consider the situation. If the situation today
requires us to act by increasing the toll, we have to. Facilities like
these (highways) need to be paid for if we want to enjoy using them.”

He said highway operators submitted the amount of toll collected to
the government as part of their justification for a toll hike.

“What they have proven to us is that a hike is necessary,” Abdullah said.

Asked if the amount of toll collected should be revealed to the
public, he said people could check the companies’ reports as they were
public documents.

Document NSTRAT0020070110e31a0000n

OSA probe over toll documents

The Star

3 Jan 2007

Four opposition officials are being investigated under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) over the disclosure of a toll concession agreement.

Criminal investigations director Comm Datuk Christopher Wan Soo Kee said the police have given them notice to be present at Bukit Aman on Monday.

The four are PAS treasurer Dr Hatta Ramli, Parti Keadilan Rakyat treasurer Khalid Ibrahim, PKR information chief Tian Chua and the DAP’s Ronnie Liu, who heads the party’s bureau on non-governmental organisations.

Wan said a police report was lodged at the Damansara police last week. “We want them to assist us in our investigations,” he said. The four are alleged to have disclosed the contents of a document that was purportedly an agreement signed between the Government and the toll concessionaires.

They had claimed that the Government had, in the agreement, guaranteed profits to the concessionaires.

On Jan 25, following the disclosure, Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said the Cabinet would take appropriate action against the person (or persons) who had stolen and exhibited the agreement.

He had said that the agreement was solely between the Government and the company and was a confidential document.

He had also suggested to the Cabinet to ask the Attorney-General’s office to take appropriate action against those who stole the document and exhibited it without any authority.

Those convicted are liable to be jailed up to a year under Section 8 of the OSA.

Commenting on the investigation yesterday, Samy Vellu said the Government had no choice but to act against those who make public the contents of documents classified as official secrets.

Samy Vellu said he was aware that Tian Chua was among those who had made public the documents on the highway concession agreements that had been classified as official secrets.

However, he said, he did not know that the police had initiated action against others who were involved.

The Government was right to act against him (Tian Chua), he told reporters after opening the latest textile outlet of Chennai Potty Sdn Bhd at Leboh Ampang here.

“It is an agreement between the Government and the (concession) company done according to the law.

“It is part of a Government document that cannot be revealed.

“(But) they took the document, exhibited it and created a drama of it,” he said, when asked why there was a need to classify the concession agreement as a classified document under the OSA.

Samy Vellu said the Government had been transparent with concession agreements and had even invited DAP members to look at the agreement during the construction of the North-South Expressway.

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