Sunday, April 3, 2011

People's Right To Know Refused To Make People Stupid?

1. First of all, I applaud the Selangor state government for putting in the FOI bill which surely will answer what the people want. If the people wants to the breakdown of costs for each project, it will be an obligation of the state government to reveal it, without showing bullshit to the people. In other way, it also eliminates the presence of Mr. 30 percent (those who want an extra cut from the project). And it lives to the billing of the PR Selangor of the SELCAT concept (similar to the one in Penang).

2. What I am appalled though is that none of the BN assemblymen support the FOI Bill. If I am not mistaken, Gerakan called the Penang FOI bill like OSA. Perhaps this is the same opinion that was taken by the BN. According to Free Malaysia Today, not even one person from BN came in, though invited to show support for the bill. With that it clearly implies that it is not willing to make things known for people as part of the right to know thing.

3. Times have changed. With the power of the Internet, people know start to exercise the right to know more than what is served in the platter. If the platter is the newspaper, is whatever is there enough or they need to more specifics if the newspaper doesn't cover it? I agree that people's awareness is getting much better on, but still there are many people that has no clue over what is happening or so because of the impasse on the information to be given out.

4. "Will cause problems to the public" is the main excuse for not revealing information to people. I suppose because of high-profile scandals that will impact the public that information is stopped before it's out of the door. But the problem, is without more clarity and specific information, how will other parties promptly respond to the problems that they are facing without adequate input?

5. Therefore, the common bullshit above must be stopped. It has already making people look stupid and it insults people intelligence thinking that people have no right to know whatever that is necessary.

6. There are actually many entities that are actually owned by the public. Petronas is an example. Bank Simpanan Nasional, and a few other entities are government-owned, which is actually chosen by the people. Therefore, people have the right to know all the information of what the government is doing especially, what they are planning to do with our money. As of this time, because of the OSA tag, it simply prevents people from knowing. Sometimes, out of keeping people out from what could be potentially damaging, the OSA has been simply misused.

7. For example, crime statistics access, in which women are entitled to know got blocked by the police. Why would the IGP Ismail Omar classify that as a secret document? Is it that if the real statistics hit out, that the Home Ministry or the police could be embarrassed because the statistics don't match the NKRA set? If this is the fear factor, then maybe it's okay to spill it out and get help from outside. You can't bottle up alone.

8. There is always a struggle of whether divulging sensitive information would be beneficial or not. The bad side of not having the FOI is that it can be used to cover-up heinous acts particularly if committed by a politician. And it also raises suspicion that the project cost could go more than usual because of the presence of the Mr. 30 Percent. All in all, people of the 21st century are not like people before and they have the right to know. Britain, previously introduced the OSA has now showed a turn of attitude than it was 60 years ago and with the introduction of their own equivalent of the FOI act, people at least get the knowledge of where is their money, as taxpayers. We too are taxpayers. Even if we do not pay income tax, we still pay the 6% service tax. All of us. That's where the right to know comes in!

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