Penang Freedom of Information Enactment: RM500 for five requests for info?


The fee for making a request to the Penang state government for information under the Freedom of Information Act is RM100 if the information relates to earlier years.

A veteran journalist then wondered aloud to me: “I want to make a number of requests for information in the course of my work,” he said. “Does that mean if I make five requests under the FOI, I have to pay RM500?”

This is an excerpt from a Malaysiakini report:

Spokesperson for human rights NGO Suaram Ong Jing Cheng urged the state government to review the fee, which now stands at RM50 for information for the current year and RM100 for previous years.

Photocopy fee for the requested documents is RM1 per page.

“What if the copies we need run into the hundreds?” Ong asked at a press conference held at Komtar Level 3, where the state government offices are located.

“This may defer people, including poorer NGOs, from applying for the information they want,” he said.

“The fee is 10 times higher than the charges imposed by the Selangor government, which is RM12 for each application, and 20 sen (per page) for photocopy,” he noted.

Apparently, students can seek a discount while others can also ask for a reduced fee, which would be at the discretion of the department concerned.

Incidentally Jing Cheng has made two requests for information, which are of public interest. He wants:
– the George Town Festival 2014 financial report and
– a Penang Municipal Council report on the top 10 highest density housing areas on the island from 2008 to last year.

So far, he told me he has received the George Town Festival financial report. “But I received just two pages … a summary of the financial information; so not very helpful in learning about the detailed expenditure.”

He is now waiting for the top 10 highest density areas, which should prove interesting. The information under the FOI has to be supplied within 14 working days.

Unfortunately, the relatively high fees in Penang will deter many others among the public, especially those whose work involves researching regularly into issues of public interest, from seeking information under the FOI Enactment.

Sort of defeats the purpose of the FOI, doesn’t it?

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You need a car? Brand Kia Suci.


Right to Information Act (RTI) in India: INR10/- for a maximum of 5 questions. Right to Information should be affordable for the common man, especially the poorer segments of society. Otherwise there is no use in having it, it is just a decorative phrase saying “We have the right (freedom) to information”.


Information is free? Just look at RTM that provides free-to-air TV but cannot pay its employees.
Yet Shaberry Cheek still tell us RTM to go digital soon?
BN government can raise RM42 billion in loans for 1MDB to waste but cannot afford to pay RTM/Bernama TV staff? How pathetic!

gk ong

You can still get cheapest wan tan mee at RM2.50 in Jln Lembah Permai, Tanjung Bunga if you read The Star today:{F4039878-3378-4987-9755-015EF2D6FA35}

Go eat as 4 Sekawan (tunglang, Yang, iSupercally and ananars) and give us your verdict.

Ismail Sabri can tell us where to find RM2.50 mee rebus.

Xavier Thomas

Thanks for the info, but the link is incorrect.
Good to see affordable street food is still available in Penang.
I must say Nasi Kandar is very expensive and over charging of Nasi Kandar in Penang is not uncommon. Ismail Sabri should check on those mamak vendors.

gk ong

At Penang nasi kandar restaurants, better pay first before you eat as (they) cannot charge you for items you do not order.

Anyway, had Line Clear resolved their family dispute? Or it is just a ploy to operate without license since they claim to be a living heritage of George Town?

Don Anamalai


This is the follow-up story on the 80-year old wan tan mee seller.
10sen wantan a hit following report
Verdict: the texture of the noodles was good and distinct.

Original report with the correct link:


Sure we now have a money face CAT. No more a cheap minister … 72k house for 240k . Now free information for a fee. Wow Penang really have change. Soon it will be for the rich and famous.

tua kee lang

Freedom of Info sharing by Sabri to ask Malays to boyscott Old Town Coffee outlets ? This may trigger boyscott of Maryland Chicken as his singer son has been the spokeperson for Maryland ?
Racial politics from racial based BN then where’s 1Malaysia ??????????


I stop buying from MPH knowing that his son of Akademi Fantasia is the spokesperson for MPH.


As long as the 1Malaysia PM does not say anything to rebuke Ismail Sabri and make Ismail apologise to all Malaysians for his racist FB rant, there can be no remedy.

Ismail’s FB statement has portrayed Umno-BN’s policies and outlook to be unabashedly racist. The racism tactic to win malay votes at the expense of racial disharmony must stop. Our cultural diversity is being destroyed by such racists.

Ismail Sabri has also cast doubts on the capability and integrity of halal certification authority in the OldTown saga.

gk ong

MCA Youth ended up as the ultimate loser in this saga when Najib defended Ismail ie. No apology needed from Ismail.

gk ong

“Many non-Malays and moderate Malays do not understand why Liow still posed for photographs and smiled broadly with Ismail after the Cabinet meeting if MCA is genuinely so angry with his false and racist slur against the Chinese.

“This is a classic case of saying something in public but doing the complete opposite inside the Cabinet. Can Liow and Wee Ka Siong explain why they have now overlooked Ismail’s racist anti-Chinese remark?”

Timely reminder from LGE that MCA is still irrelevant despite leadership change.

gk ong

Sabri’s son should explain why books at MPH are so much more expensive than those at Big Bad Wolf?

2nd fiddler

Incompetent nuts in power ?
Frankly, have we seen any good project completed since DAP took over Penang, for all these years ?