Thanks to Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamad Apandi, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak would be attending the US-ASEAN Summit with United States President Obama in Sunnylands, California next week (15-16 Feb) with two, and not just one, dubious credentials – not only as the political leader in ASEAN and the world with the largest RM2.6 billion “donation” in his personal banking accounts, but also the leader of a government which is tightening to screws on the Official Secrets Act (OSA) to stop all leaks of official information on corruption, fraud, negligence or abuses of power in government.
In fact, Najib might be very bad influence at the US-ASEAN Summit and international conferences, for some might be tempted to think that if Najib could get away with the RM2.6 billion “donation” scandal in his personal banking accounts without being guilty of any criminal wrongdoing and in tightening the screws on the OSA to prevent any expose on government abuses of power, negligence, fraud or corruption, Najib should be emulated as an example.
If democracy, human rights and good governance are to be among the topics of the US-ASEAN Summit in Sunnylands, California next week, Najib is not the best candidate to represent Malaysia.
Najib would be placed in a better position for the US-ASEAN Summit if the Cabinet today had heeded my suggestion that it should take a policy stand to stop the Attorney-General Apandi in his tracks by making clear that the Attorney-General has no sanction or authority from the Cabinet to draft amendments to the OSA to increase criminal penalties to punish and deter whistleblowers and journalists for information leaks to combat corruption, particularly grand corruption.
It is to Malaysia’s shame and disgrace if we are seen as buckling the international trend to combat corruption by tightening the screws on OSA to protect corrupt practices under the guise of “national security”.
It is in fact a service to national security to expose and combat corruption, which undermines public confidence in the governance of the country.
However, from the dismal record of Najib’s Ministers whether in fighting corruption or upholding democracy, human rights or good governance, I am quite dubious that the Cabinet meeting had taken any decision to stop the Attorney-General from proceeding with his proposals to draft amendments to increase criminal penalties under the OSA to deal with whistleblowers and journalist.
As it is, the Deputy Prime Minister and two UMNO Ministers have publicly expressed support for the Attorney-General proposals to make the OSA even more draconian and repressive for whistleblowers and journalists.
What is the stand of the MCA, MIC and Gerakan Ministers as well as the Ministers from the Sarawak and Sabah parties of Barisan Nasional to Apandi’s proposal to tighten the screws of OSA for whistleblowers and journalists to prevent them from exposing corruption and all forms of government abuses of power?