Pandikar: Ex-ministers may have breached their secrecy oath

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KUALA LUMPUR: Several former cabinet members may have breached their oath of secrecy by speaking of issues they had knowledge about during their tenure as ministers.

Dewan Rakyat Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia said the oath taken when an individual takes up a ministerial position includes a vow to abstain from revealing any information they had acquired while holding the post.

This applies even after the person is no longer a minister, he added.

“I was a minister myself, we took the oath. So if we talk about what we learnt while in that position, then we have breached the oath.

“Sometimes, when holding the microphone (in the Dewan), some completely forget (about the oath),” he told a press conference in Parliament here today.

According to Pandikar, as a Speaker, he can only remind members of parliament (MPs) of the oath they have taken.

Several laws such as the Official Secrets Act and the Sedition Act, can be used against such MPs, he added.

He cited remarks by former Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin yesterday.

When debating Budget 2017, Muhyiddin had allegedly said that when he was in the government, the Cabinet had wanted to approve a RM3 billion loan to 1MDB, but after he expressed his reservations, it was converted into a standby credit of RM950 million.

“To me, what I heard, and read of (Muhyiddin’s remarks) is that the Cabinet’s decision had not been carried out. That is secret information.

“We can’t tell the secrets to anyone. You can’t even whisper it to your wife at night.”

In the past week, three former Cabinet members, namely Muhyiddin, former second finance minister Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah and former rural and regional development minister Shafie Apdal, have used the Budget 2017 debate time to speak about 1MDB.