Sunday, February 7, 2016

You’re not here to protect those in power, Ambiga reminds A-G

You’re not here to protect those in power, Ambiga reminds A-G

Datuk Seri Ambiga Sreenevasan says any move to have heavier punishments to deal with leaks of official secrets will make Malaysia a complete dictatorship. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, February 7, 2016.Datuk Seri Ambiga Sreenevasan says any move to have heavier punishments to deal with leaks of official secrets will make Malaysia a complete dictatorship. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, February 7, 2016.Former Bar Council president Datuk Seri Ambiga Sreenevasan has reminded Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali that his duty was not to protect those in power, after the attorney-general (A-G) warned of tougher laws against those who leak official secrets.
Ambiga said the move would be similar to what oppressive regimes would do to hide information implicating those in power.
"This is not about protecting sensitive security information but about not allowing the truth to emerge about corruption and abuse of power of those in the high echelons of power.

"Any such amendments will make us a complete dictatorship," Ambiga told The Malaysian Insider.

Apandi had said he was contemplating amending the Official Secrets Act 1972 (OSA) to increase the punishment for those who leak state secrets as well as journalists who report them.
He told Sin Chew Daily that he was mulling amending the law to impose life imprisonment and caning on those who leak official secrets, and to allow the prosecution of journalists who refuse to reveal their sources
Ambiga, who heads the National Human Rights Association (Hakam), said most of the recent information on the RM2.6 billion donated to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak came from the A-G himself, rather than from leaked secrets.
She reminded Apandi that his duty was to uphold democratic principles and the rule of law, not shield the powerful from being accountable.
"I might add that the A-G should stop sounding like Najib's personal legal advisor. If there are matters the public have raised which are legitimate, he must revisit his decision to close the case," she said, referring to Apandi's decision to order the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission to close its investigation into the RM2.6 billion donation and RM42 million SRC International funds deposited in Najib's private accounts.
"It is not good for the A-G to sound so defensive. He should be independent and above the fray.
"In other words, he should stop threatening those who disclose information and should instead act on the information provided."
She called on Malaysians to protest any attempt to muzzle the press, saying that the media were one of the few they could rely on to tell the truth.
Without them, the public would be oblivious to the corruption of those in power, said Ambiga.
"Let those in power know that we will resist all further attempts to undermine our democracy.
"And when the day comes when Malaysia regains its democracy (and that day will surely come), we will remember the names of all those who chose to destroy democracy rather than defend it, and we will call them to account."
Meanwhile, Institute of Journalists Malaysia (IoJ) said it does not condone any act that would compromise the proper functioning of the government.
IoJ also said it was against any move for stiffer punishments against those seeking to reveal the truth in cases of public interest.
"Whistleblowers and journalists who decide to run with the information after having performed due diligence, should not be penalized for seeking to highlight issues that deserve public attention," it said in a statement.
IoJ said journalists have the duty to protect the identity of a source as part of the universally accepted practice in journalism, while adhering to existing local laws.
It said that public and national interests were better served when there was access to information through a Freedom of Information Act to replace OSA.
It added that such a move would ensure those in the positions of power were accountable and bound by the principles of transparency. – February 7, 2016.
The AG is so adamant to protect the Umno leaders, his masters that he is not fit to be AG, a post he has sworn to do independently without fear and favor - now he is showing favor the ruling elite. How gross and evil. Evil follows and engulfs the one doing it and consumes him!
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