Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General, MP for Tanjung and Assemblyman for Kampong Kolam, Lim Kit Siang, at the DAP Oppose Official Secrets Act Amendment Bill ceramah at Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall on Thursday, 13.11.1986 at 8 p.m.
Barisan Nasional MPs should not forget that they are legislators and not post-men, and must individually make up their own minds on the OSA Amendment Bill and not just toe the party line
The Barisan Nasional back-benchers club decided yesterday that Barisan Nasional, MPs unanimously supported the Official Secrets Act Amendment Bill, but would raise the opposing views of the National Union of Journalists and the Malaysian Bar at their meeting with the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed.
The Barisan Members of Parliament seemed to have forgotten that they are legislators and not post-men to convey to the Prime Minister the criticisms of NUJ and the Malaysian Bar. As responsible MPs, the Barisan backbenchers must individually make up their own minds on the OSA Amendment Bill, and not just toe the party line as laid down by the Prime Minister.
The question seems to be whether the Barisan Nasional MPs have individual minds, or they have surrendered the right to individual independent thinking and have only a collective Barisan back-benchers’ mind as decided by the Prime Minister.
If the Barisan MPs find that the NUJ and Malaysian Bar Council’s memoranda have merit and force in their opposition to the OSA Amendment Bill, then they should be honest, responsible and courageous enough to accept the views of the NUJ and the Malaysian Bar, even if this conflict with the notions of the Ministers and the Cabinet.
When the electorate went to the polls on August 3, they did not elect MPs whose first action is to surrender the right to independent thinking and judgement to the Cabinet, and regardless of their private doubts, dare not take a public stand to oppose proposed legislation which they regard as a great threat to democracy and freedom in Malaysia.
Call on the Barisan Nasional Government to explain why it has decided to abandon its commitment of an ‘Open Government’ by introducing the most secretive administration in Malaysian history
The Official Secrets Act Amendment Bill will destroy the basis for an Open Government, responsible and accountable to the People. I call on the Barisan Nasional to explain why it has decided to abandon its general elections commitment of an ‘Open Government’ by introducing the most secretive administration in Malaysian history with the OSA Amendment Bill.
The OSA Amendment Bill will be a delight to the corrupt, irresponsible and crooks in public life, for they can be rest assured that they would be given the best protection of secrecy in their heinous crimes of breach of trust, corruption, abuse of power and all forms of government wrongdoing.
The OSA Amendment Bill is the very denial of an Open Government in Malaysia. When it is passed Malaysia will become a closed society, as tight and secretive as the most authoritarian regimes of communist states.
The OSA Amendment Bill 1986 has put the Malaysian democracy in the greatest peril since Merdeka in 1957, and all Malaysians who cherish democracy and freedom must unite and take an uncompromising stand to fight for the withdrawal of the OSA Amendment Bill or its reference to
a Parliamentary Select Committee to review the entire question of freedom of information in Malaysia.