1) What are documents considered Official Secret under the OSA?
According to the Schedule of the OSA:
1) Cabinet documents, records of decisions and deliberations including those of Cabinet committes;
2) State Executive Council documents, records of decisions and deliberations including those of State Executive Council committees;
3) Documents concerning national security, defence and international relations.
Pursuat to section 2 of the OSA “document” includes, in addition to a document in writing and part of a document —
(a) any map, plan, model, graph or drawing;
(b) any photograph;
(c) any disc, tape, sound track or other device in which sound or other data (not being visual images) are embodied so as to be capable (with or without the aid of some other equipment) of being reproduced therefrom; and
(d) any film, negative, tape or other device in which one or more visual images are embodied so as to be capable (as aforesaid) of being reproduced therefrom;
2) What is meant by the word “Official Secret”?
According to section 2 of the OSA:
“official secret ” means any document specified in the Schedule and any information and material relating thereto and includes any other official document, information and material as may be classified as “Top Secret “, “Secret ” ,”Confidential ” or “Restricted “, as the case may be, by a Minister, the Menteri Besar or Chief Minister of a State or such public officer appointed under section 2B.
Section 2B of the OSA provides:
“Minister, the Menteri Besar or the Chief Minister of a State may appoint any public officer by a certificate under his hand to classify any official document, information or material as “Top Secret”,”Secret “, “Confidential” or “Restricted “, as the case may be”
3) What are offences under the OSA?
Inter alia are:
a) Section 4. Prohibition of taking or making any document, measurement, sounding or survey of or within a prohibited place.
b) Section 5: Penalty for making or assisting in making false declarations or statements in obtaining permits.
c) Section 3. Penalties for spying – If any person for any purpose prejudicial to the safety or interest of Malaysia…
d) Section 7. Prohibition from carrying photographic apparatus.
e) Section 8. Wrongful communication, etc. of official secret.
f) Section 9. Unauthorized use of uniforms, falsification of reports, forgery, personation and false documents.
g) Section 10. Interfering with police officers or members of the armed forces.
h) Section 11. Duty to give information on the order of the security forces
4) Defence for Those Charged under OSA
Pursuant to Section 17A OSA Any person who is charged with any offence under this Act shall not be convicted if he proves that he did any such thing in the performance of his official duties or with proper authority.
5) When a document falling under the OSA can become a public document accessible to all and no more being an OSA document?
Section 2C of the OSA provides (Declassification of official secret by a Minister or a public officer)
“A Minister or public officer charged with any responsibility in respect of any Ministry, department or any public service or the Menteri Besar or the Chief Minister of a State or the principal officer in charge of the administrative affairs of a State may, at any time, declassify any document specified in the Schedule or any official document, information or material as may have been classified and upon such declassification, the said document, information or material shall cease to be official secret”