KUALA LUMPUR:Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) has questioned the government's need to include a confidentiality clause in the settlement agreement with Goldman Sachs Group Inc (Goldman) over the 1MDB scandal of US$3.9 billion (RM16 billion).

Citing a Free Malaysia Today report, its president, Muhammad Mohan, said it was an issue of public interest and should be examined by the Parliamentary committee.

The Goldman Sachs Malaysia Unit previously pleaded guilty to a conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in the United States (US) in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) financial scandal.

Reuters reported a Goldman Sachs representative appeared in Federal Court on Thursday morning (local time).

Goldman Sachs also agreed to pay US$2 billion (RM11 billion) to the US government for 1MDB-related offences.

Earlier, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Parliament and Law), Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan said that the details in the agreement with Goldman Sachs could not be disclosed to avoid legal action against the government as it was bound by a confidentiality clause.

He explained that the legislature on both sides should be given access to information in the name of transparency. It cannot be easily termed a national secret.

Meanwhile, the President of the Malaysian Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, Datuk Seri Akhbar Satar stressed that Goldman Sachs Malaysia's guilty plea could have a positive impact on the court process involving the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) financial scandal case.

According to him, the decision could give space to the prosecution to submit a claim for higher compensation.

Commenting on the same issue, Wathshlah Naidu of the Center for Independent Journalism (CIJ) said the confidentiality clause was important for national security, defence and public order, but could not be used as an easy way to prevent the public from accessing public interest matters.

He said the government must explain why the disclosure of the details of the agreement was detrimental and the impact of specific laws if it does so.

Recently, Subang Member of Parliament Wong Chen said that Malaysians demanded justice and the full return of the stolen money.

He said if the government still thought that 10 MPs could not look at the agreement as a whole, then the head of audit should give his opinion on the matter.

He said hiding the facts about the solution would cause a second wound for Malaysians.