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Cabinet should present White Paper in Parliament giving full, proper and satisfactory explanation, including declassification of all relevant documents, on the issues raised by Dr. Mahathir
Dr. Mahathir is recently singing a different tune, repeated yesterday when he challenged the written reply given by the Foreign Minister, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar to my parliamentary question on Thursday that Malaysia did not put the sale of land or use of its airspace on the table when negotiating with Singapore on the aborted crooked half-bridge.
Dr. Mahathir had challenged the government to declassify documents relating to talks between Malaysia and Singapore to substantiate Syed Hamid’s claims that Malaysia, in its pursuit to build a new bridge to Singapore, did not offer the sale of sand to the republic and the use of Johor airspace by the Singapore airforce planes, declaring: “The Official Secrets Act should not be used to hide untruths.”
Abdullah’s reform pledge and credentials of open, clean, accountable and transparent governance is at risk and in peril of being hijacked by Dr. Mahathir taking over the reformist banner with his cry – “The Official Secrets Act should not be used to hide untruths”.
Although Mahathir had been the biggest culprit going against the reform he is preaching now, this can be no reason why such a reform has not yet been implemented by the Abdullah premiership in the past 32 months.
It is “better late than never” and the Cabinet on Wednesday should adopt as motto and commitment that the OSA would never be used to “hide untruths” – to vividly illustrate the difference between the present and the former administrations.
Malaysians are wondering why the government is taking so long for a full, proper and satisfactory response to be made to the various issues which had been raised by Dr. Mahathir.
As a first step, the Cabinet should present a White Paper in Parliament giving full, proper and satisfactory explanation, including declassification of all relevant documents, on the issues raised by Dr. Mahathir.
Time should be provided for a full debate on the White Paper as the issues raised is not a private spat between the former and current Prime Minister, but concern the interests of the nation, present and future generations.
For more long-term, the Cabinet should set in motion the dismantling of the repressive and draconian provisions in the OSA and other authoritarian laws, such as the Printing Presses and Publications Act, the Police Act, the Internal Security Act, and consult MPs and the civil society to introduce a Freedom of Information Act to honour Abdullah’s reform pledge of an open, clean, incorruptible, accountable, transparent, trustworthy, democratic, just and people-oriented administration.
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