First published in Free Malaysia Today
By FMT Reporters , (c) 2016, MToday News Sdn. Bhd (c) 2016

A democratic government should be open to public scrutiny, says think tank’s head Wan Saiful Wan Jan.

PETALING JAYA: The recent arrest of Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli at the Parliament gates under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) is a regressive move by the authorities, the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas) said.

In a press statement, the think tank’s Chief Executive Officer Wan Saiful Wan Jan said the workings of a democratic government should be open to public scrutiny.

“Transforming the country into a developed and high-income nation necessitates the need for the government to be open, transparent and accountable, especially when public funds are involved.

“Instead of silencing critics, the government should proactively look for ways to change our laws so that we have a more open environment,” he said, adding that the government could have looked for more “positive” steps, beginning with signing the Open Government Partnership (OGP), a global multilateral initiative for governments committed to transparency and fighting corruption.

Some 69 countries have thus far signed the OGP, launched back in September 2011. Participating countries must endorse a high-level Open Government Declaration, deliver a country action plan developed with public consultation, and commit to independent reporting on their progress going forward.

“It is disappointing that our government has not committed itself towards a more positive direction like the OGP, but it is silencing critics using the OSA instead.”

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