PUTRAJAYA, Feb 15 — Official secrets are not meant to protect anyone breaking the law and those who are corrupt, said Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan.
Speaking to reporters after joining his staff at a ministry Chinese New Year gathering here today, he said confidentiality was an important part of an institution in carrying out its duties.
"This is a complex issue because in certain things, the government cannot reveal information due to certain reasons, but then we are accused of being secretive.
"No organisation can be successful if it did not have secrets, not only a nation or government but even the family institution, if we are too open with the outside world, we will collapse," he said.
Abdul Rahman, who is also Barisan Nasional's Strategic Communications Director, gave the example of developed nations such as Singapore, the United Kingdom and Switzerland which are successful today because they respected data and information secrecy.
He said there were special channels for complaints about offences including the integrity units of each ministry, the Public Complaints Bureau and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
Abdul Rahman, who is also the MP for Kota Belud, also urged the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to implement Section 29(4) of the MACC Act 2009 to protect the integrity of those accused.
He said the law provides that the nature of the complaint made to the MACC be kept from the media.
"Under the law, the complaint cannot be shared with others and only during prosecution can the identity of the accused be released to the media," he said, adding that the provision was to protect the accused from wrongful accusations.
"This is because any baseless accusations can spread, and with the provision, we can prevent it happening in order to ensure justice for all," he said.
Under Section 29(4) of the MACC Act, contents of a complaint must be kept secret and can only be disclosed when the case is brought to court.
Commenting on certain parties which inform the media when they want to lodge a complaint with the MACC, Abdul Rahman said revealing the name of the accused and their offences would jeopardise the accused even before he is taken to court.
In fact, he said, if the accused party was really guilty, revealing the case to the media would give him time to destroy the evidence.
Earlier, Abdul Rahman had witnessed a ceremony on an acceptance letter for the procurement of two Agusta Westland Model AW 189 helicopters worth RM201 million for the Fire and Rescue Department, within three years.
Both the Italian-made helicopters will be stationed in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, when the Kota Kinabalu Fire and Rescue Department Airbase is completed in 2018. — Bernama