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Hamid Albar does not know the law that  intention- whether good or bad -  is no defence under Official Secrets Act


Press Statement (2)

by Lim Kit Siang  

, Wednesday) : Foreign Minister, Datuk Seri Hamid Albar clearly does not know  the law that intention � whether good intention or bad � is no defence under the Official Secrets Act, and it was on this ground that I was charged, prosecuted and convicted of  five charges under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) in 1979 although my intention was the noble one of acting in the national interest to safeguard public funds from waste, abuse or corrupt practices.


I did not advocate  that former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad should be arrested, charged and jailed for offences under the OSA for revealing classified information in connection with the 10-year  saga of Malaysia-Singapore relations in connection with the RM1.1 billion crooked half-bridge proposal and this was why I had had suggested that the Foreign Ministry should declassify all correspondence and documents between the leaders of both countries on this issue.


Such a declassification to remove the OSA from all documentation in connection with the Malaysia-Singapore crooked half-bridge controversy will not only serve the purpose of providing full information to Malaysians, it would also save the Malaysian government from the invidious position and serious allegation of practicing double standards and undermining the rule of law in closing its eyes to any breach of the OSA by Tun Dr. Mahathir.


It is most unworthy on  Hamid�s part  to insinuate that I had �bad intentions� in raising the OSA issue.


I am consistent in my call for the repeal of the OSA  and its replacement by a Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, where the public are entitled to access state information except for those concerning sensitive subjects such as  defence and security as well as private information, but I am against any double standards whereby laws are  only applied selectively against the Opposition, like Parti Keadilan Rakyat Malaysia Youth chief Mohd Ezam Mohd Noor who was charged and jailed under the OSA for exposing high corruption in government.


Referring to Mahathir�s Open Letter, which was posted on Kelab Maya UMNO (UMNO Virtual Club), and five appendices of official correspondence between leaders of both governments, (I have not received any copy of this Mahathir Open Letter  although it is reported that it has been addressed to all MPs), Hamid said it was only Mahathir�s opinion and the former premier had no �bad intention� against anyone.


I welcome Hamid�s open-mindedness  concerning Mahathir�s serious allegation that the Cabinet  was �afraid of protecting the rights and sovereignty of the country and the people� and the even more serious allegation by Mahathir�s former political secretary for Chinese affairs, Matthias Chang  doubting the very loyalty and patriotism of Hamid himself.


However, such open-mindedness is not  reflected by a free and fair media or Mahathir would not be lamenting that he is being blacked out in the mainstream media to the extent that the former Prime Minister had to resort to cyberspace, like the Kelab Maya UMNO website, to air his views!


Will Hamid use his influence with the controlled mainstream media to advise them not to �black out� Mahathir views or those of his former political secretary  for Chinese affairs?


In an  interview yesterday, Matthias Chang criticized me for supporting the cancellation of the crooked half-bridge and yet in the same breath calling for a White Paper on the issue.


If Matthias cannot understand that one can support the cancellation of the crooked half-bridge and yet wants full accountability as to why the Cabinet could unanimously decide to scrap the crooked half bridge after having unanimously agreed to support its construction at great costs to the country and people, the former political secretary to the former Prime Minister is not very smart at all.


This also appears to be a blind-spot shared by Hamid, who made the baseless accusation in Parliament yesterday  that I was  trying to gain political capital after supporting the cancellation of the crooked half-bridge.


Both Hamid and Matthias Chang are wrong.  The majority of Malaysians want to know why such an expensive mistake as the crooked half-bridge could be  made by the Cabinet, to the extent that the Works Minister, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu  could tell  Parliament that �more than RM2 billion had been spent on the CIQ� � the latest and most expensive �White Elephant� in Malaysia under the premiership of Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.


The RM100 million compensation to Gerbang Perdana, the RM250 million CIQ flyover contract without tender, apart from other unknown mega-expenditures related to the project which are not disclosed to the public, will all have to borne by the 26 million Malaysian taxpayers � and not by Mahathir, Matthias Chang or Hamid Albar, and this is strong reason enough for a White Paper on the crooked bridge issue.


*  Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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