Coverage by: Free Malaysia Today (FMT)
PETALING JAYA: The Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4) says its support system for potential whistleblowers who need help in how best to expose misconduct is in the pipeline.
C4 legal researcher Arief Hamizan said there were limits in the Whistleblowing Protection Act (WPA) which prohibited whistleblowers from speaking about the case with anyone other than enforcement agencies like the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission or the police.
“They are essentially alone after reporting to an enforcement agency. Many are also not aware of how the whistleblowing process works, which is where this system will come in,” he told FMT.
Whistleblowing is when a person discloses information on wrongdoing such as fraud, corruption and abuse of power.
During a panel discussion at an anti-corruption forum recently, Arief said C4 had started discussions on collaborations on the one-stop portal with several other organisations, including the Bar Council.
The system aims to provide general advice, including whether the complaint is a whistleblowing issue, the risks, the possible avenues of support, and advice on what could be considered “improper conduct” under WPA.
“We also plan to provide strategic advice on how to disclose improper conduct to the correct enforcement agency and legal advice on the complainant’s rights at a particular stage of whistleblower protection, from pursuit to potential revocation,” he said.
He said the system was expected to be up and running at the end of the year, although some details needed ironing out in overcoming the legal limitations in supporting whistleblowers.
One was that whistleblowers were prohibited from disclosing confidential information after they reported to an enforcement agency.
“So, it’s a question of how to support them in a way that doesn’t exclude them from receiving or continuing to receive protection,” he said.
Another was determining how much information could be shared with the lawyers providing legal assistance in such cases, Arief said.
“If whistleblowers disclose the information to us, they would not be protected under WPA. But we believe there’s a need to support them even before they go to an enforcement agency,” he said.