MyGovt Reform Tracker

Freedom of Information

FOI legislation reflects the fundamental premise that all information held by governments and governmental institutions is in principle public, and may only be withheld if there are legitimate reasons, such as privacy and security. The importance of this information is that the public will have the ability to scrutinise government actions, from how it spends tax money, to which companies receive contracts from the government. This transparency is a key factor in exposing corrupt and inefficient practices that can be hidden by the government. 

However, with the existence of the Official Secrets Act 1972 and other secrecy laws, FOI has been extremely curtailed in Malaysia. These laws severely limit access to public information, and have previously been used to thwart investigations into cases such as 1MDB.

Despite the existence of FOI Enactments in Selangor and Penang, major legal reforms are needed to improve access to information. These must include the repeal of secrecy laws, and the enactment of laws which promote access to information.