KOTA BELUD: The proposal to review the penalty under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) 1972 proves that the leakage of government secrets is becoming more serious, said Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak.
Salleh felt that the decision of Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali to amend the act proved that the government was serious in tackling the problem.
“We are responsible to determine that the trust given to us should be kept well because such acts (leaking out government secrets) can jeopardise national security,” he told reporters when commenting on the proposal of the AG on this matter, here today.
Recently, a Chinese daily quoted Mohamed Apandi as saying that he was considering to amend the punishment on those involved in leaking out national secrets and those reporting news on the secrets.
The AG was reported as saying that he was looking at the possibility of imposing life-imprisonment and 10 strokes of the cane on offenders.
Mohamed Apandi was also reported as saying that journalists found to be protecting or refusing to disclose the source of information that they obtained could also be imposed the same punishment.
Salleh, who also agreed with the opinion of the Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi that no one should politicise the decision of the AG, said the government certainly welcomed and heard the views of various groups
before making any official decision.
Commenting on the suggestion that action be taken on media practitioners if they protected or refused to disclose the source of the information obtained, Salleh said every journalist in the country must be responsible in reporting news and they should not assume that they could not disclose the source of the information on grounds of preserving journalism ethics.
“Sometimes it (the news) is leaked from government information and it (leakage of information) is an offence. If we (journalists) report news that is wrong in terms of law, then (indirectly) we are involved in committing the offence,” he said.- BERNAMA