Information Leak Bans Under the New Amended Penal Code Reinforces Secrecy Of All Information Effectively Sabotaging Freedom of Infomation Enactments Passed By Penang As Well As Allowing The Federal Government To Cover Up Corruption, Abuses of Power and Wrongdoings By Government Leaders And Public Officials.(en/cn)

Press Statement By Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng In Komtar, George Town On 24.10.2013.

The recently amended Penal Code on 22.10.2013, particularly section 203A concerning the offence of ‘disclosure of information’ (“Section 203A”), effectively bans disclosure of any information obtained in performing his or her duties and subsequent disclosure by any third party of such information. Information leak bans under the new amended Penal Code reinforces secrecy of all information and effectively sabotages Freedom of Information Enactments passed by Penang and Selangor as well as allowing the Federal Government to cover up corruption, abuses of power and wrongdoings by government leaders and public officials.

Section 203A directly contradicts Minister in Prime Minister’s Department, YB Puan Hajah Nancy Shukri’s assurances that section 203A will not deter whistleblowers from exposing acts of corruption in the public service and/or rendered as redundant. The Whistleblower Protection Act 2010 (“WPA”) is meaningless as it is stripped of all effect and powers a paper and toothless tiger.

Penang was not consulted by either the Attorney General’s Chambers or the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department prior to the introduction of Section 203A which can also serve to eliminate or oust the legal force of the Freedom of Information Enactments passed earlier (“FOI Enactments’). FOI Enactments are part of Selangor’s and Penang’s initiatives to improve the states’ transparency and accountability by allowing greater public access to disclosure of information except for certain information which are bound by the Official Secrets Act 1972 and/or prejudicial to the state’s administration and security.

The Penang state government urges Nancy in her capacity as the Minister concerned to abolish Section 203A in Parliament so as not to render laws which protect the whistleblowers such as WPA and the FOI Enactments to be in vain.
I have written to YB Nancy on 23.10.2013 detailing, among others, the above concerns surrounding the application and/or effect of Section 203A. A copy of the letter is enclosed with this statement.

Judging by the harsh penalties contained in Section 203A of a RM1 million fine and/or a jail term of one year, one will inevitably conclude that the law is meant to protect the wrongdoer and punish the whistleblower. When that happens, it reduces the public’s faith in the government’s commitment to fight corruption.

Lim Guan Eng

——Mandarin Version —–

槟州首席部长林冠英于2013年10月24日在光大乔治市发表声明:

新修订的刑事法典禁止资讯外泄,进一步强行管制所有政府资讯的机密性,破坏了槟城所通过的资讯自由法,并让联邦政府可以掩盖贪污、滥权及枉法的政府领袖及官员。

最近2013年10月22日通过的刑事法典修正法案,特别是增设新条文203A,阐明禁示任何人泄漏在其任职期间或行使权力时所取得的资讯,以及后来被第三者揭露有关资讯。新修订的刑事法典禁止资讯外泄,进一步强行管制所有政府资讯的机密性,破坏了槟城所通过的资讯自由法,以及让联邦政府可以掩盖贪污、滥权及枉法的政府领袖及官员。

第203A条文直接与首相署部长南茜的保证相违,她说203A条文不会妨碍吹哨者揭露公共服务的贪污行为及/或变成多余的。2010年吹哨者保护法令是无意义的,因为它已经被剥夺做为一纸法令的法律效应,只是一只无牙老虎。

可被罚款不超过100万令吉或监禁1年或两者兼施。

总检察署或首相署部长在推出第203A条文时,没有咨询槟城州政府,因为这项修正案直接剔除或凌驾资讯自由法令的法律权威。雪兰莪及槟城州议会通过的资讯自由法是两州试图改善州内透明度及公信力而制订的,它让公众可以获取资讯,除了特定受官方机密法令管制及/或能导致州政府及安全不利的。

槟州政府促请南茜做身为相关修正案的部长,在国会废除第203A条文,以让保护吹哨人的法令如吹哨人保护法令及资讯自由法令继续有效。

我已经于2013年10月23日到致函南茜,针对刑事法典修正案及/或第203A条文的影响。(信涵请参考附件)

从第203A条文的重罚罚款不超过100万令吉、或监禁1年,我们很难不联想有关法律是拿来保护犯错者、处罚吹哨人。如果是这样, 公众不会对政府肃贪行动抱任何信心。

林冠英

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