Selangorians, what say you of the FOI bill?
The Selangor state government has tabled a Freedom of Information (FOI) enactment and is inviting public feedback, which will be collated and studied by a Select Committee before the bill is tabled for third reading in April 2011. CIJ is making available the state’s bill and the civil society’s version. Click into the article to assess them.
As a public service, and in keeping with the spirit of FOI, CIJ is uploading the version proposed by civil society
groups for comparison with the state-tabled bill. CIJ will be providing its own analysis which we will share with all soon.
The proposed draft bill by civil society is based on the document prepared by the Freedom of Information Coalition, a network consisting of 33 civil society organisations, including CIJ, which came together in 2005 to campaign for a federal law. International NGO ARTICLE 19 assisted with the drafting.
The draft went through further revision with assistance from human rights lawyers and was given to the Pakatan Rakyat government in 2008 and in 2009. The Pakatan leadership gave their commitment to enacting the law at the state level, but it was the Selangor government that really walked the talk after stating their commitment in May 2009, with engagement through the newly established Coalition for Good Governance.
At Parliament level, though promises had been made to raise the issue, there was little action until the first Parliament meeting following the momentous 2008 general election, when Parti Keadilan Rakyat, through Subang representative R. Sivarasa, tabled a Private Member’s Bill on FOI. However, because it was tabled by a member of the Federal Opposition, the bill was not put high on the agenda and never saw the light of day.