GEORGE TOWN: It is absolutely unnecessary that individuals or parties applying for classified documents under the Freedom of Information (FOI) enactment, be made to sign a Statutory Declaration (SD) as well upon receipt of the documents, says Jason Loo of Gerakan Youth.
The acting Youth chief said the Penang government had the power to declassify documents relating to matters of public interest and that these powers were bestowed to state authorities as well.
“We are entering an information era, where the youths today want information to make informed decisions about their government.
“We need genuine transparency from the government so that there is a proper check and balance,” he said in a press conference today, adding that there should be no requirement for the signing of SDs if the FOI enactment was indeed genuine.
“I think Statutory Declarations are not needed for documents that have been declassified.
“The FOI Enactment, Section 11(2) gives the state authority the right to declassify documents of public interest,” he said.
Meanwhile, Loo also raised the matter of signing SDs upon receiving documents under the FOI.
He said the assertion by state FOI chairman P Ramasamy that the SDs were to ensure the information was not amended, was unnecessary.
“If you cannot abolish the requirement for SDs, then please abolish the FOI enactment,” Loo added.
Loo also questioned the clashing government portfolios in regard to the handling of FOI matters i.e. the chairmanship of the FOI committee to Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy.
Loo said Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng should helm all FOI matters as he was chairman of the Information Committee.
“Information is under the CM’s portfolio, while the FOI (enactment) is under the DCM II. So who is calling the shots?”