‘Dr M’s gov’t jailed Ezam using OSA, too’

ezam handcuffed

(Malaysiakini) – Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad is contradicting himself when he said the Official Secrets Act is used to punish anti-government elements, said Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak.

Salleh said then PKR Youth leader Ezam Mohd Nor was jailed for revealing a document classified ‘secret’ under Mahathir’s watch and he had no qualms about that.

“There are certain files, papers or documents that do not even need a RAHSIA (secret) stamp and are automatically protected under the OSA, with or without any RAHSIA stamp.

“This is so fundamental it boggles the mind that Mahathir does not seem to understand this.

“And even more perplexing is the fact that Mahathir sent Ezam to jail for doing precisely what he says Malaysians should do,” Salleh said.

He said Mahathir appears confused when he said the government is using the OSA to keep secret crimes done by individuals in power.

Salleh said that under OSA, it was not the content of the document which mattered, but rather that it has been classified as secret.

“It can even be a menu for the departmental dinner, which is not at all sensitive to the security of the nation. It is the RAHSIA classification of that file that would be the crux of the matter,” he said.

He added that there is already the Whistleblowers Protection Act which allows those who know of crimes committed by those in power, to alert the authorities.

However, he said, the information must be legally obtained.

“The catch phrase here is ‘legally available through the course of their work.’ That does not cover data or document theft or information illegally procured.

“In short, you cannot fight crime by committing a crime. It is as simple as that,” he said.

Mahathir had earlier criticised the use of the OSA against PKR secretary-general Rafizi Ramli, who exposed a classified document linking the Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera with 1MDB.

Rafizi was charged last week and faces one to seven years in jail, if found guilty.

Ezam was jailed for two years for exposing classified documents on approved permits for vehicle imports.

Ezam, who was later appointed Dewan Negara senator by BN, criticised Rafizi’s OSA charge.