Malaysia

Selangor passes Freedom of Information Enactment

April 01, 2011

WongWongSHAH ALAM, April 1 — The Selangor Freedom of Information Enactment 2010 (FOI) was passed at the state assembly this morning, with the Pakatan Rakyat government promising future improvements on the new law.

“Today we pass it, but if in six to seven months we find ways to improve it, then we will accept the proposals and amend it,” state executive councillor Elizabeth Wong, who tabled the bill for the third reading, said in the assembly.

She said that it was a landmark for not just Selangor but also Malaysia, as it was the first state to “have dared to implement the Freedom of Information Enactment. This is a product of the people’s power.”

She said the enactment would be a dynamic law, with Selangor Pakatan Rakyat (PR) lawmakers ready to make changes to improve it.

The Bukit Lanjan assemblyman also pointed out that there were Barisan Nasional (BN) assemblymen who were members of the select committee to draft the enactment, but they skipped all the meetings.

“They had a chance to create history with the people of Selangor, but they gave it a pass, and this is regrettable,” she said.

Wong also said that amendments introduced after it was first tabled in July last year, was accepted by the state government.

BN had questioned the legality of the law when it was first tabled, claiming it ran contrary to the federal government’s Official Secrets Act (OSA), which would take precedence.

However, law experts said that Selangor could implement the law if it sidestepped matters directly pertaining to the OSA, such as matters solely pertaining to the state like state executive council meeting minutes.

Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim had said that the enactment, if passed, would promote transparency in the state’s administration and promote press freedom.