MCI response to PQ on access to Government documents in National Archives
Parliament Sitting on 26 February 2021
QUESTION FOR WRITTEN ANSWER
13. Mr Leon Perera: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information (a) whether he can provide an update on the number and proportion of Government documents that are more than 25 years old and hence part of the public archives contained in the publicly accessible National Archives Online; and (b) what are the factors that the National Archives takes into account when choosing whether or not to give researchers access to such documents which already constitute ‘public archives’.
Mr Speaker, the National Archives of Singapore (NAS) holds about 2 million Government Records that are 25 years and older. Of these, the metadata of around 258,000 records are publicly accessible on Archives Online. This is a significant increase over the metadata of the 160,000 records that were publicly accessible when the Member last raised a similar query in September 2019. Records transferred to the NAS undergo declassification before they are made available for public access. The NAS will continue to work with all public agencies to progressively make more records available.
As with archives around the world, public records transferred to the NAS are reviewed for release by government agencies taking into account the need to safeguard national defence, internal security, international relations, confidentiality (commercial or otherwise) and personal privacy.