Access to documents in MBPJ

The Majlis Bandaraya Petaling Jaya (MBPJ) full board meeting today (29 June 2009) agreed that all documents related to development planning should be made available to the public, except for the building design, which can be made available with the consent of the building owner.

At its meeting today, councillor Cynthia Gabriel said they should make a decision on the public access to information in the case of development planning.

Councillor Derek Fernandez cited the court decisions in the case of Petaling Jaya, where the Town and Country Planning Act provides for the public to have access to all information about a development project to facilitate their participation in the decision making.

As the executive director of the Centre for Independent Journalism, I welcome the decision, but feel that local councils should have a policy on public right to information to cover all information and not just those related to development planning. In the long run, councils should adopt a right to information law to make the local governments more transparent and accountable to its constituents.

See previous stories on the topic in The Star here and The Nut Graph here.

Gayathry V.


Introduction to RTI

What is RTI?

Right to information

How is it different from FOI, freedom of information?

There is no difference substantively, but references to rights and freedoms brings us to the fundamental human rights framework whereby access to public information is part of our human rights.

Read CIJ’s paper on benefits of the RTI, prepared in 2008 that also shows how it benefits the governments and businesses. [Reading on Freedom of Information Legislation]