Towards a better governance in the new Malaysia: are we ready for freedom of information laws?

Nazli, Ismail@Nawang and Abdul Majid, Tahir Mohamed and Noor ‘Ashikin, Hamid (2018) Towards a better governance in the new Malaysia: are we ready for freedom of information laws? In: International Conference on Law & Globalisation 2018 (ICLG2018), 21 Oct 2018, UNISZA.

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The exponential development of vast arrays of web-based communication channels have perversely led to the dissemination of massive amount of unsubstantiated facts in the electronic environment. The pernicious repercussion of this scenario is that the public will be having difficulty in discerning the truth out of this information overload. The situation is further exacerbated by the unnecessary secrecy in the government and the lack of official data on matters of public interest. There is no easy solution to the problem but the right to freedom of information could provide some assistance by facilitating access to government-held information. The importance of such a right in a democratic country has been recognised as integral part of the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression. Accordingly, freedom of information has been explicitly incorporated alongside with the right to free speech in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Further, the right to freedom of information has also been recognised by the three regional human rights bodies of Europe, Africa and Inter-American. Unfortunately, not only express provision that confers freedom of information on its citizens is nowhere to be found in the Federal Constitution, their right to access information from official sources is further restrained by the provisions of the Official Secrets Act 1972. Recognising the importance of freedom of information, this paper seeks to examine the possibility of having freedom of information laws in the country. In so doing, the provisions of the Federal Constitution scrutinised. In conclusion, it is submitted that it is now timely for the new government to enact freedom of information laws so as to ensure transparency in governance as well as to enable the people to make informed judgments on any government policies or other matters of public interest.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: J Political Science > JX International law
K Law > K Law (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Law & International Relations
Depositing User: Muhammad Akmal Azhar
Date Deposited: 18 Nov 2020 00:46
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2020 00:46

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