[The Star] Government can’t declassify highway concession agreements

4 06 2008

THE Government is not allowed to declassify highway concession agreements due to a confidentiality clause in the contracts, says Works Minister Datuk Mohd Zin Mohamed.

He said before the Government did this, it would have to first get the consent from the parties involved.

“If the Government reveals the concession agreements without the companies’ consent, the concessionaires can take action against the Government for failing to abide by the ‘confidentiality’ provision in the agreements.

“The government’s credibility and image will also be questioned and it could affect investors’ confidence,” he said in a written reply to Teo Nie Ching (DAP-Serdang).
Mohd Zin said the Government would not reveal the details of highway concession deals for fear certain parties would manipulate these to create unease, and affect public order and the country’s economy.

Teo had asked whether the highway concession contracts would be declassified from the Official Secrets Act 1971. She also asked for the minister to state the reasons why, if the Government could not do so.
Mohd Zin also said that the Government would have to consider the implications of de-classifying the documents, so that it would not affect national security or public interest.

“The view is based on the case of the Takong Tabiri Government of Sarawak and 3 ORS (1995) 1 CLJ 403, where the court had stated that Act 88 was meant to prevent any leakage of official secret documents without consent.

“The main aim of the Act is to protect official secret documents or information which, if revealed, would be detrimental to national security or public interest,” he said.

This article is taken from the Web portal of “The Star”newspaper.


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