Press Statement:

22 October 2013

Lawyers For Liberty is appalled at the BN government’s attempt to pass the new section 203A of the Penal Code Amendment bill, which criminalizes the act of unlawfully disseminating information received under any written law and carries a maximum fine of one million ringgit or a year imprisonment or both.

The proposed amendment is so widely drafted, it is scarcely believable. But the severity of this odious amendment being passed as law cannot be overstated.

This proposed amendment is the BN government’s knee jerk and undemocratic reaction to stop the exposure of all incriminating information irrespective of whether they have been classified under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) or other laws.

The amendment will effectively shield all ‘official’ documents & information received under written law with a cloak of secrecy, and can only be released legally according to the whims and fancies of the BN government.

This would mean any information on scandalous issues such as the NFC, and Scorpene submarines would no longer be legally accessible to the public & whistleblowers will be punished severely while the wrongdoers will be protected.

This amendment is certainly more oppressive than the OSA which at the very least requires a process of certification by a minister before a document is deemed ‘restricted’ under the act.

Such an odious piece of law has no place in a modern and democratic state like Malaysia and is more suited for totalitarian regimes in North Korea or Myanmar.

We therefore call for all parties – MPs, opposition, civil society, the Malaysian Bar to oppose this amendment, if passed, would effectively turn Malaysia into a nightmare Kafkaesque secret state not unlike that depicted in G.Orwell’s 1984.

Released by:
Eric Paulsen
Co-founder & Adviser
Lawyers for Liberty

For more information, please contact:
Off: 03-7960 5688
Mobile: 012-716 2972 (new number)
E-mail: [email protected]
Twitter: @lawyers4liberty