Kota Sentosa assemblyman Chong Chieng Jen has submitted a motion to the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) to introduce a private members’ bill for the proposed Sarawak Freedom of Information Ordinance 2014.
Chong told reporters yesterday that a full bill has been drafted for the proposed ordinance, which aims to enhance disclosure of information for public interest, and to provide every individual reasonable right of access to information from every state government department.
He claimed that the public has been kept in the dark about the processes involving the award of government contracts, approval of projects, alienation of state land and issuance of logging licenses.
“The public has the right to knowledge. This is a move towards effective democracy and to put the state government administration under the greater scrutiny of the public, not just the Aduns (state elected representatives),” he said.
On the features of the proposed ordinance, he said it would, among others, involve the appointment of an information officer for every department.
He said anyone committing an offence, including destroying, erasing, damaging, concealing, blocking or falsifying information within the control of any department with the intention of preventing disclosure, would be liable to a maximum fine of RM50,000 or maximum five years in prison or both.
Chong, who is Democratic Action Party (DAP) Sarawak chairman, said he hoped the bill would be tabled and eventually passed in the DUN.