PKR vice- president Rafizi Ramli's action of criticizing the proposed amendment to the Official Secrets Act (OSA) 1972 shows that he is desperate and afraid of his case related to the Banking and Financial Institutions Act (BAFIA) 1989, which is still pending.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said said Rafizi was intentionally trying to distract attention from his case to claim that the amendment was intended to suppress the freedom of journalists and the media in the country.
"He has also deliberately stated that this amendment would oppress journalists and media freedom so that he can get the support of the media in relation to the matter," she said in a statement here, Monday.
She said the Pandan MP does not have any immunity or privilege in the context of the law, not to mention the case involving him under BAFIA 1989.
Attorney-General (A-G) Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali was reported to have said that he was considering an amendment to the OSA, to increase penalties on those involved with exposing state secrets, and those who report it.
Rafizi then started a campaign on social media to gather support to reject the proposed amendment.
She said Rafizi's action of obtaining personal information, especially from financial institutions, was against the law.
"During the debate in Parliament, he stated that he had obtained leaked information over the purchase of government assets. This clearly shows that he himself has indirectly acknowledged the fact, and this should be investigated and dealt with immediately," she said.
She said the BAFIA case involving Rafizi had dragged on for almost four years and should be decided upon soon, to become a benchmark for the country's financial sector.
"This issue not only involves personal interests, but could also threaten the economy and national security. If the case is prolonged, outsiders would think that the legislation involving the banking sector in the country is lenient.
She said of late there had been too many information leaks, to the extent that it could threaten national security.
"Exposing (confidential information) to the public is not a good action, instead, those who obtained such information should bring the issue to the relevant authorities for further action," she said.
Meanwhile, Azalina said the move by the A-G to review the OSA 1972 was very timely for Malaysia.
She said Mohamed Apandi was extremely concerned about information breaches, as there was a lot of information being leaked with regards to the Government.
Azalina said a line had to be drawn to differentiate a fair comment, freedom of expression, and breach of trust.