by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General, MP for Tanjung and Asemblyman for Kampong Kolam, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Thursday, 4th December 1986:
DAP National Delegates Conference in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday will adopt a Declaration on Freedom of Information to commit the DAP to a long-term struggle for a free flow of information in Malaysia
The DAP National Delegates Conference in Federal Hotel, Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, 7th December 1986 will adopt a Declaration on
Freedom of Information to commit the party to a long-term struggle for a free flow of information in Malaysia.
The Declaration on Freedom of Information will be adopted the same day the Freedom of Information Group organises the Drive for Democraacy and a People’s Assembly for the Defence of Democracy at the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall on Sunday starting at 2.30 p.m. as a culmination of the campaign opposing the Official Secrets Act Amendment Bill and campaigning for a Freedom of Information Act.
The DAP leadership has made a last-minute decision to change the venue of the DAP National Delegates Conference, which was originally scheduled to be held in Ipoh, to Kuala Lumpur to enable Party leaders, delegates and members to take part in Sunday’s Drive for Democracy and People’s Assembly for the Defence of Democracy, for this is an event which should combine the strength of all freedom-loving Malaysians to demonstrate their deep-seated opposition to excessive encroachments and restraints on their fundamental liberties.
Deputy Prime Minister, Abdul Ghafar Baba, said yesterday that the government could guarantee that it would not abuse its powers under the Official secrets Act and the great powers given by the amendment bill.
The Government has given many guarantees before, but many of these guarantees had not be honoured. The Government had in fact guaranteed that Section 21(2) of the 1961 Education Act would be amended in the first parliamentary meeting after general elections, but this has not been honoured.
Guarantees of the government that there would be no abuse of power is contradicted by the case of the 14-year-old boy was nearly sent to the gallows for possession of a pistol, and had to be saved by a nation-wide public outcry. Another good illustration of the government’s failure to honour its undertaking not to abuse its powers is the existence of four Proclamations of Emergency in the country today. If the Emergency Proclamations could be abused, where they are allowed to continue when the situations for which the Emergency Proclamation was made had ceased to exist, how can anyone believe that there would be no abuse of power by the government in other areas?
The Education Minister and UMNO Youth Leader, Anwar Ibrahim, had said that in the new version of the OSA Amendment Bill, “everything the people asked for had been accommodated.”
Anwar Ibrahim must have commented with ‘tongue in cheek’, for he cannot be unaware that the major objections of the public to the Bill had remained intact, especially the mandatory minimum one-year jail sentence.
Tun Hussein Onn has asked for more time for MPs and the people to study the new version of the OSA Bill. And I reiterate my call to the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, to defer second reading debate of the Bill until the March meeting of Parliament next year to allow greater in–depth study of the Bill and the whole question of the right of freedom of information in Malaysia.