Seminar answers questions about whistleblower protection

PRESS RELEASE

OCTOBER 29, 2021

A seminar jointly conducted by the Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4 Center), RasuahBusters, and Union Network International-Malaysia Labour Centre (UNI-MLC), with the support of the National Governance, Integrity and Anti-Corruption Center (GIACC), answered questions on whistleblower protection, and brought more understanding to GLC employees and public servants on how the process of whistleblowing works in Malaysia.

The session, held as the second part of three in a seminar series titled ‘Bersama Memerangi Rasuah’, saw Farizal Muzaffar Hafiz Abdul Wahab, Senior Manager of the Integrity & Discipline Department of Malaysian Resources Corporation Berhad (MRCB), seconded from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) as the guest speaker.

“C4 Center is aware of how it is vital for a strong Whistleblower Protection Act in encouraging the public to step forward and blow the whistle on abuses of power around them. Without strong, holistic protection, no one will dare to step forward and blow the whistle for fear of repercussions,” said Sudhagaran Stanley, C4 Center Programme Manager, in his opening speech.

As part of his presentation, Farizal shared about the current Whistleblower Protection Act 2010 (WBPA), some common definitions, as well as the repercussions against those who take detrimental actions against whistleblowers.

He also spoke about the role played by whistleblowers in exposing wrongdoing, the dos and don’ts of whistleblowing, as well as the process of applying for whistleblower protection, including the issues and challenges faced.

“Among the questions we usually receive is “am I protected?”

We can provide protection, but it is limited,” explained Farizal, adding that the Whistleblower Protection Act and the Witness Protection Act are separate in Malaysia.

In concluding the session, core RasuahBusters member Dr G. Manimaran, who was the moderator for the Q&A session, called for attendees to give their cooperation in fighting graft.

“I hope the reforms to the acts discussed can bring a positive impact to the confidence of the people in the enforcement agencies,” he said.

C4 Center has long been calling for reforms to the WBPA. Stronger laws would be a strong message from the government, and would help accelerate the fight against corruption and ensure that those that come forward to report abuses of power and corruption within their circles are protected.

The existing 2010 Act is deemed inadequate in encouraging whistleblowers to come forward. In fact, it is considered more detrimental to whistleblowers, due to Sections 6(1) and 8(1), where disclosure is only allowed to an enforcement agency and the disclosure made must not be prohibited by any law.

This means that a whistleblower would not be protected under the Act if they decide to go public with their information, or if that information is protected under the Official Secrets Act 1972.

Another concern is that the Act does not address Section 203A of the Penal Code which criminalises the whistleblower when revealing information obtained in the course of executing one’s duty or function under any written law.

Public servants, GLC employees and the general public must feel safe and be assured of protection when they choose to come forward and blow the whistle.

The low numbers of protection accorded under the current WBPA is a telling sign of serious weaknesses within it that must be addressed urgently.

END

Released by:
Center to Combat Corruption & Cronyism (C4 Center)
For further enquiries, please contact 012-379 2189 / 03-7660 5140


(Watch the second series of the ‘Bersama Memerangi Rasuah’ seminar here).

Farizal Muzaffar (left) seen here with Dr G. Manimaran (right) during the second series of the Bersama Memerangi Rasuah seminar on 29 Oct, 2021.

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