The Right to Information (RTI) is a fundamental human right to seek and impart information, as enunciated under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. RTI promotes transparency and accountability; and strengthens the public’s right to be informed. Strong RTI legislation creates an environment that upholds and promotes the right of the public and individuals to access information. It enables constructive participation in debates that are related to specific decision-making processes and of public interest, thus encourages and strengthens participatory democracy, good governance, and the rule of law.
Currently, in Malaysia, only Selangor and Penang have Freedom of Information (FOI) enactments, which recognise and uphold the fundamental right to information within state boundaries. However, these enactments cannot override the federal-level Official Secrets Act 1972 (OSA). This law and other similar laws, such as the Evidence Act, Sedition Act and specific Penal Code provisions have been arbitrarily used to silence dissidents and advocates of transparency and accountability.
The aim NOW is to push for the RTI law at the national level.