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KOTA BELUD, Feb 8, 2016:

The proposal to review the penalty under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) 1972 proves that the leakage of government secrets is becoming more serious, says Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak.

Salleh felt that the decision of Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali to amend the act proved that the government was serious in tackling the problem.

“We are responsible to determine that the trust given to us should be kept well because such acts (leaking out government secrets) can jeopardise national security,” he told reporters when commenting on the proposal of the Attorney-General on this matter, here today.

Recently, a Chinese daily quoted Mohamed Apandi as saying that he was considering amending the punishment against those involved in leaking national secrets and those reporting news based on the secrets.

The A-G was reported as saying that he was looking at the possibility of imposing life-imprisonment and 10 strokes of the cane on offenders.

Mohamed Apandi was also reported as saying that journalists found to be protecting or refusing to disclose the source of information that they had obtained could also be subjected to the same punishment.

Salleh, who agreed with the opinion of Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi that no one should politicise the decision of the A-G, adding that the government would certainly weigh the views of various groups before making any official decision.

Commenting on the suggestion that action would be taken on media practitioners if they protected or refused to disclose their sources, Salleh said every journalist in the country must be responsible in reporting news.

He said they should not assume that they did not have to disclose the source of information on grounds of preserving journalism ethics.

“Sometimes it (the news) is leaked from the government and it (leakage of information) is an offence. If we (journalists) report news that is wrong in terms of law, then (indirectly) we are involved in committing an offence,” he said.

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