Focus View
Corruption: Don’t prosecute whistle-blowers
FocusM team | 16 Jun 2017 00:30
Civil servants who lodge reports against their superiors need more protection. 
There are shortcomings under the Whistleblowers Protection Act 2010 that need to be addressed quickly. 

The authorities should re-examine the current provisions to ensure whistle-blowers have sufficient immunity. They must not be subject to harassment as that would be a mockery of the law. 

Those who expose their superiors must be protected from being charged under the Sedition Act 1948 and the Official Secrets Act 1972. And those who attempt to silence whistle-blowers must be charged with obstruction of justice.

Under the Act, informants are not liable to any civil, criminal or disciplinary action. But in reality, has this been the case? 

If informants feel they will not be accorded full protection, we are never going to see more whistle-blowers risking life and limb to come forward.

Protection must also be given to those who have connections/relationships with the informant. The informant’s identity and information provided must be kept confidential, even during the trial in court.

The Act should not be seen as another piece of legislation to make the authorities look good. It is there to address corruption and mismanagement. 

The Act is important to fight corruption. How are civil servants and members of the public going to expose corruption among the powerful if they can be penalised or victimised under other laws?  

Many Malaysians feel corruption is still a serious problem. Although the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has stepped up its efforts with several high-profile cases, the fight against corruption is far from over. 

The MACC is under the control of the executive branch of the government and this has not been addressed. What happened to a proposal to take it out of the civil service and make it answerable to Parliament? 

Similarly, what happened to plans for the Office of the Auditor-General to report to a bi-partisan special committee in Parliament? 

If those tasked with such important matters continue to sit on them, there is every possibility that the required amendments to the Whistleblowers Act will not see the light of day.