FOI and accountability

It’s good to know that the Selangor state government is pursuing religiously its intent to make Freedom of Information (FOI) law a reality. The PR government reportedly planned to table a FOI Enactment in the next sitting of its state assembly in March next year.

People of Selangor and Malaysians in general have now seen how vital FOI can be especially after being revealed by the PR Selangor government how taxpayers’ money had been misused by the previous BN government.

But, to be sure, FOI should not only be meant to expose questionable economic planning and development projects of the previous government. It should also convey the notion to the rakyat that they have the right to know how their money has been spent by the very people who have been entrusted to run the state and the country.

As we also know, leakages in the delivery system can exact a heavy toll on the rakyat and the country in the long run and unless information is made freely available, these leakages can’t be plugged or plugged effectively.

In other words, FOI law is one of the means of making political leaders, irrespective of their political hues and party affiliations, accountable to the rakyat in whose name they supposedly govern.

Given the importance of the FOI law, we hope other state governments, particularly those under PR rule, would not be averse to the idea of pushing for transparency via a law like the FOI Act.

Incidentally, the mainstream media, particularly those that supposedly have the welfare of the ordinary people at heart, should campaign for FOI. It’s good for journalism too.

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