C4’s R2Kmy campaign to create awareness on right to access information

KUALA LUMPUR: In an effort to educate the public on accessing state government information under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Enactment, the Centre to Combat Corruption and Croniysm (C4) today launched the “Right2Know Malaysia(R2Kmy)” campaign.

C4 FOI officer Simitha Singam said that one of the main objectives of the campaign was to increase awareness on the people’s right to access information as well as to educate the public on the importance of free-flowing information when it came to administrating a government.

“The campaign will start in Penang and Selangor and we intend to go to other states,” she said, adding that workshops are set to be held in the two states.

At present, only the Penang and Selangor government has this enactment, but Simitha said that the anti-graft NGO wants “to push it to a wider Malaysian context”.

The event today also saw the launch of right2know.my, a website which provides a step-by-step guide for Malaysians to apply for the relevant information.

C4 executive director Cynthia Gabriel, meanwhile, explained that the reason it embarked on such a campaign was because stricter regulations were being imposed on whistleblowers.

“The Attorney General wants the Official Secrets Act (OSA) to be even stricter by imposing lifetime imprisonment and corporal punishment, such as 10 strokes of the rotan, to whistleblowers.

“So that’s why we are trying to push for this (campaign) to you. This is what we need for a functioning democracy.”

Gabriel also hoped that this initiative could pressure the Federal Government to implement a federal-level FOI law and abolish existing laws.

“Information is the currency for democracy. If you block information, you are blocking participation in public policies.

“The first step to prevent corruption is to ensure that we are not blocking information. That’s the crux of it.”