The Selangor state government has taken the lead again. It is hoping to pass a Freedom of Information Act by the end of the year.
“For a country that practises democracy, oppressive laws like
Printing Presses and Publications Act and Official Secrets Act used to keep media in line and prevent ordinary citizens from exercising their full rights to access information, should not be allowed to remain in Malaysia,” said Mentri Besar Khalid Ibrahim in a statement this evening to mark World Press Freedom Day.
Acknowledging that the powers to abolish such draconian laws lie with the Federal Government, he said the Pakatan government in Selangor has tried its best to promote Freedom of Information (FOI).
In early 2009, the State formed a taskforce on FOI consisting of State Assemblymen and civil society. The taskforce’s first project is to study the possibility of legislating a Freedom of Information Act.
“The State hopes that an act that promotes FOI in Selangor will be tabled and passed in the State Legislative Assembly end of this year,” added Khalid.
The state government will be organising a public consultation themed “Freedom of Information: A Right to Reclaim” on 19 May to discuss the intended FOI Act with the public. All discussions and comments will be collated and duly considered when the Bill is tabled.
To mark World Press Freedom Day, the state government will also be holding FOI training for its civil servants especially those dealing with members of the public at the local councillor level. “This is to promote awareness among civil servants to be more responsible and to understand their role as trustees to public documents,” said Khalid.