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Samy Vellu – Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde on OSA and toll concessions______________
Media Statement (3)
by Lim Kit Siang
(Parliament, Tuesday) : Works Minister and MIC President, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu is playing the classic role of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde on the issue of the obnoxious Official Secrets Act (OSA) and toll concessions.
Yesterday, Samy Vellu was full of the “milk of human kindness” when he said he would seek the Cabinet's approval to declassify the toll concession agreements when only ten days ago, he was so “bloodthirsty” in demanding that four Opposition leaders, namely Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim and Tian Chua of PKR, Ronnie Liu of DAP and Dr. Hatta Ramli (PAS) “pay the price” and be jailed for at least a year under the OSA for revealing that the government had guaranteed profits to Litrak in the Lebuhraya Damansara-Puchong (LDP) concession agreement.
Is Samy Vellu the advocate for a regime of openness, accountability, transparency and freedom of information, or he is a defender for the cult of government secrecy, where the OSA is used to shield and protect corruption and abuses of power?
Samy Vellu showed his Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde character after the press contacted him for his comments on the statement by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz at the World Ethics and Transparency Forum yesterday that the Cabinet does not have any problem declassifying the concession agreements for privatized expressways but it is prevented from doing so by the confidentiality conditions in the contracts.
If this is the genuine reason, then why the double-standards where Cabinet Ministers want whistleblowers to be prosecuted and jailed for revealing information about the lopsided contents in the concession agreements to protect the interests of 26 million Malaysians, while they are blissfully unconcerned about the disclosure of information from the concession agreements to equity analysts, rating agencies, bondholders and the investing public to flog the shares, bonds and loans of concession companies?
One Cabinet Minister is Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is enough. It will be the country’s great misfortune if the Cabinet is collectively playing the dual role of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as well.
Is the Cabinet prepared to come out with a policy statement tomorrow that the government would suspend all investigations and prosecutions related to the OSA as warranted by the public interests of greater openness, accountability, transparency and respect for the right and freedom of information?
I will move a motion to declassify all toll concession and privatization agreements when Parliament reconvenes on March 19, to pave the way for the repeal of the Official Secrets Act and its replacement by a Freedom of Information Act, and I call on all MPs, whether Barisan Nasional or Opposition, to give full support to such a motion to demonstrate parliamentary commitment to the principles of accountability, transparency, integrity and good governance.