Gerakan slams Penang state gov't for refusing to declassify documents

MOHAMED BASYIR

GEORGE TOWN: Penang Gerakan has slammed the state government for allegedly failing to uphold its 'Competency, Accountability and Transparency' (CAT) policy yet again.

It follows the rejection of its acting Youth chief Jason Loo’s applications to have at least 15 “confidential” state government documents on various issues to be declassified.

Loo said that several of his applications were turned down by officers-in-charge at Komtar on the basis that they “did not have the documents”.

For the documents which were available, Loo said their declassification could only be made provided he sign a statutory declaration (SD) not to reveal their contents to the public – which goes against the idea of transparency.

State Gerakan vice-chairman Lee Boon Ten said the CAT policy is merely a slogan used by the state government, which is actually hiding behind the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act.

"Is it 'competent' to implement the FOI to restrict public access to documents and information? Is it 'accountable' to disallow the rights of the people to access them?

"Moreover, through the various unreasonable actions used in making it difficult to obtain the documents applied for, is it 'transparent'?

"Be transparent if there's nothing to hide. Allow and approve Loo's applications without any conditions," he said in a press conference at the Penang Gerakan headquarters here today.