CEP report to be protected under OSA after all

(The Star) – The government has no intention of making the findings of the Council of Eminent Persons’ (CEP) 100-day report public and has, in fact, placed it under the Official Secret Act (OSA), Parliament heard on Thursday (March 28).

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mohamed Hanipa Maidin said the report was currently protected under OSA.

“At the moment, it has only been submitted to the Prime Minister, and the government has no intention to make the findings public,” he said in reply to a supplementary question from Wong Kah Woh, Pakatan’s MP for Ipoh Timur, during Question Time.

Wong had asked the government whether it had any intention of releasing the CEP report findings, and to allow it to be debated in public.

Mohamed Hanipa explained that the report needed to be protected, saying that “many countries also needed it.”

“Maybe some will ask why we classified it under OSA, but many other countries also needed it.

Previously, we were not totally against the OSA, but we were angry at the abuse, protecting corruption, power abuse and injustices under OSA.

“When some people raise issues involving corruption, power abuse and injustice, they were detained and charged in court under OSA.

“But now, we really want to protect the problems or confidential and sensitive information. This is the difference between us and the previous government,” he said.

Many politicians and civil society groups, such as the G25 group of eminent Malays and electoral watchdog Bersih 2.0, have asked for the report to be made public.

In August, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said CEP’s role was to investigate and inform him of their findings, and that the report might not be made public.

Mohamed Hanipa said the CEP had previously set up special teams to look into several issues, including megaprojects such as the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project.

“Aside from that the Institutional Reforms Committee (IRC), which was suggested by the CEP, were among the government’s commitment to restore public confidence towards key public institutions,” he said.

To the question of whether the government had any intention to appoint former CEP members as mentors of ministries, Mohamed Hanipa said no decisions had been made by the government.

“This is because, Insya-Allah, we are learning very fast. I would also congratulate the opposition for quickly learning the ropes of becoming an effective opposition,” he said.