There is no more reason for the government to keep the 1MDB audit report secret as it has already been leaked and made public by the Sarawak Report, said human rights group Hakam.
The group, headed by former Bar Council president Ambiga Sreenevasan, said if the report was erroneous, then auditor-general Ambrin Buang would have said so.
"Once a purported 'official secret' is in the public domain, it is no longer a secret and ought to be declassified," it said in a statement today,
It cited arguments by British appellate court judges in the 1980s, including a judgement by Lord Bridge of Harwich, who said "once information is freely available to the general public, it is nonsensical to talk about preventing its ‘disclosure’."
The 1MDB audit report is currently classified under the Official Secrets Act.
Sarawak Report, which leaked the report, claimed it did not reflect well on Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and the state investment firm, and contained "stark criticism" from Ambrin.
Malaysiakini cannot independently verify if the documents published by Sarawak Report are authentic, nor can it report on the contents due to legal restrictions.
Besides arguing that the report is already in the public domain, Hakam also said that Ambrin had another avenue to disclose the report, by submitting it directly to the Agong under Section 9(8) of the Audit Act.
It said this would allow the Agong to present the report to the Council of Rulers, who could then consider advising that the report be disclosed.