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OSA only used against
whistleblowers but not profiteers?
(Petaling Jaya, Sunday) : The Coalition Against Water Privatisation (CAWP) co-ordinator Charles Santiago has revealed government double standards on the government use of Official Secrets Act (OSA) in connection with privatization contracts, raising the pertinent question where the OSA is used only against whistleblowers but not profiteers.
This also raises the question whether Malaysians have a government and Cabinet of the people or they have Ministers who are just acting to protect the interests of concession companies and profiteers.
Santiago said the water privatization contract between the Selangor state government and Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Syabas), which is also alleged to be protected by the OSA, had been disclosed to potential investors in 2005 painting a glowing picture of Syabas’ financial prospects with details that could only have come from the classified document.
Is Samy Vellu demanding that the OSA should be used against an equity research firm, Kim Eng Research, which had issued a report divulging details which could only have come from the water concession agreement, as well as against those in Syabas and/or Puncak Niaga Holdings who had violated the OSA in communicating such official secrets to unauthorized persons?
Kim Eng Research had issued a report in April 2005 on Puncak Niaga Holdings Bhd (which owns 70 per cent of Syabas) entitled “Puncak Niaga Holdings Bhd – Deserve a second look!”, making the “Buy” recommendation for its investors.
Or do we have a situation where the OSA is used to protect privatization contracts from being exposed for its “lop-sidedness and short-changing the public”, but where OSA is not invoked so long as the details of the concession are used to flog for funds and investors in the marketplace?
The father of Malaysian privatization, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad conceded only last month that toll concession agreements were not well-conceived during his tenure as prime minister and that he suspected the highway operators were now reaping huge profits from the toll hikes.
Admitting that the Cabinet could have done a better job, Mahathir said:
Samy Vellu should have acted on the very broad hints given by his former political master of 23 years that these “lopsided” privatization contracts should be reviewed, including removing the OSA, to allow for public scrutiny and debate, instead of digging his toes in and being so “bloodthirsty” in demanding OSA prosecution to protect the various iniquities in the LDP concession contract.
Samy Vellu should also not be guilty of double standards in the application of the OSA and being a party to selective prosecution for OSA offences which entail the repugnant minimum mandatory jail sentence of one year, which he helped to put on the statute books in 1986.
The least he should do after being a party to so many lopsided highway toll concessions as Cabinet Minister which are inimical to the public interest is to call for a halt of all OSA investigations to enable a full review of OSA, particularly in the context of privatization contracts, in line with the reform pledge by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi for accountability, transparency, integrity and good governance.
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman