Enacting Freedom of Information Act in Malaysia: A Cost-Benefit Analysis

  • Muhammad Izwan Ikhsan Universiti Teknologi MARA, Sabah Branch, Malaysia.
  • Lenny James Matah Universiti Teknologi MARA, Sabah Branch, Malaysia.
Keywords: Freedom of information, Cost-benefit analysis, Prismatic interpretation, Official secrecy, Transparency


Freedom of information (FOI) refers to the right given to the public to seek information from government bodies. In Malaysia, to date, there is no federal legislation on the right to information. The system of official secrecy under the Official Secrets Act 1972 is the default system of information access. This paper aims to discuss the current constitutional setup, information disclosure system in Malaysia and the cost-benefit analysis of enacting the Freedom of Information Act at the Federal level. This article uses content analysis methods of previous literature, courts’ judgements, and statutory interpretation. This article also studies the international paradigm of FOI in various human rights instruments. This article concludes that the arguments favouring enacting the FOI law outweigh the contentions against such regulation.


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How to Cite
Ikhsan, M. and Matah, L. (2022) “Enacting Freedom of Information Act in Malaysia: A Cost-Benefit Analysis”, Malaysian Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities (MJSSH), 7(2), p. e001297. doi: 10.47405/mjssh.v7i2.1297.