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 —–









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。