Since 2010, there have been 31 cases of leaks under the Official Secrets Act 1972 (OSA), while four individuals have been charged in court since 2011, said Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said.
The minister in the Prime Minister’s Department said in a written parliamentary reply that those charged with leaking secrets under Section 8 of the OSA could face one to seven years in jail.
“For the period of 2011 to 2015, 15 individuals were investigated under Section 8 of the OSA. From that number, four individuals have been charged with the offence,” said Azalina.
In another written parliamentary reply, she said, “incidents of leaked official government information and secrets recorded by the Chief Government Security Office (CGSO) stand at 31 cases from 2010 to 2015”.
She said the government had prepared a policy framework to tackle the problem of leaks in the long and short term.
It has identified three important elements which needed improvement: human, technology and process, she said.
Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali told Sinchew Daily in an exclusive interview last month that he was mulling imposing heavier punishment on those who leaked official secrets.
He told the Chinese-language paper AGC was considering life imprisonment and 10 strokes of the rotan as punishments.
Apandi added that the charges extended to journalists found protecting or refusing to disclose their sources.
His proposed amendments have been met with criticism from civil society groups and the opposition, who said it was an attempt to punish whistle-blowers.
Joining in the criticism, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Paul Low said the proposed punishment of life imprisonment was excessive, while former A-G Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman said it was disproportionate. – March 14, 2016.