Police's Investigations Into Three Former Cabinet Ministers - by Executive Councillor, Derek Low Eng Tack
Friday, November 04, 2016

The police should specify the basis for investigating alleged official secrecy breaches made by former Cabinet members in their respective Parliamentary speeches recently. Based on media reports, ex-DPM Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and former Ministers, Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal and Datuk Seri Husni Hanadzlah had largely rehashed information that had already been in the public domain. 

Clearing the air on this would help allay public suspicion that the police are being used to silent government critics. If indeed there were breaches in official secrecy laws, then the police need to act swiftly and decisively, and in a way that leaves little room for the public to doubt the police's motives. 

The three former Cabinet Ministers are also Members of Parliament. That gives them the right to ask questions in the legislature and raise the peoples' plights, within the confines of the law. Besides, the three MPs enjoy Parliamentary immunity when speaking in the August House.

Using veiled threats to gag any Yang Berhormat is to undermine Parliamentary democracy and the principles of separation of powers in which this country is built upon. No elected representatives should be robbed of their rights to speak up independently, and without fear or favour.

Being former Ministers does not preclude them from the rights to ask questions or debate issues of national importance, whether in Parliament or outside. The Official Secrets Act ought to be used only for matters that concern national security, such as details on key military installations or sensitive intelligence findings.

Instead of going after the messenger, the government should clear the air on the issues raised by the former Cabinet Ministers. This is in line with transparency and good governance which CENBET promotes.

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