Former youth leader challenges Najib, A-G on OSA

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KUALA LUMPUR: A former youth leader has filed a challenge on the Official Secrets Act (OSA) against Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and Auditor-General (A-G) Ambrin Buang.

He’s seeking to declassify the Auditor-General’s report on 1MDB. The report has been placed under the OSA.

“Classifying it under OSA is a breach of the law,” said former PKR Deputy Youth Chief Zahid Md Arip in an application for judicial review on Friday. “The audit report should be presented to the Agong when it is completed.”

Zahid stressed there was a conflict of interest in classifying the audit report as a government secret. “The Prime Minister was alleged to be involved in the scandal.”

Besides seeking to declassify the audit report, Zahid wants it to be submitted to the Agong and presented in Parliament.

Zahid’s lawyer Haniff Khatri Abdulla said this is the first application in court seeking to lift the OSA mark. “Previously, there were applications seeking the discovery of classified documents to be used in trials,” he recalled.

He believes it’s the duty of the court to lift the OSA, whenever there is injustice, and interference with the Federal Constitution.

Haniff will be serving a copy of the judicial review to the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC).

Speaking to reporters, Zahid said this is the first time that an audit report has been placed under the OSA. “It’s strange that an audit report has become a government secret.”

He recalled the Prime Minister previously advised the people to wait for the 1MDB final report and not make comments until it was out. “When it was out, it became a disappointment,” he lamented. “The government stamped it as secret.”

Ambrin disclosed at the Sessions Court last month, while testifying at the trial of Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli, that he classified the 1MDB final report under the OSA to prevent it being leaked out.

He said the 1MDB interim report last year had been leaked. He wanted to prevent a repeat incident.

Ambrin added that he did not lift the OSA stamp on the report based on a decision by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC). The PAC decided the 1MDB report need not be attached to its (PAC’s) own report.

Rafizi is facing a charge under the OSA for possessing and exposing page 98 of a classified document.