Topic: Whistleblower Protection Act
Coverage by: The Sun Daily
PETALING JAYA: Whistleblowing and related mechanisms are not only an integral part of business to combat corruption and to promote an ethical business environment but are also key components in ensuring global compliance, according to First Solar Malaysia Sdn Bhd.
Its managing director Datuk P’ng Soo Hong pointed out that it is a member of the Promise of Integrity – a coalition of corporations focused on ethics and integrity in the supply chain ecosystem, aiming to transform the local ecosystem towards global compliance and create a competitive business environment.
“Whistleblowing is vital in protecting the organisation and the community by combating corruption, fraud and misconduct that otherwise may remain unexposed,” he said in his opening remarks for the Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism’s (C4 Center) virtual seminar “Whistleblower’s vital role to stem corruption in the workplace” today.
Against the backdrop of the pandemic, P’ng believes the importance of integrity has increased due to increasing regulatory scrutiny all over the globe. Thus, he encouraged every one across all levels of their organisations to promote an open and transparent environment which would result in an inclusive and sustainable growth in the supply chain.
On this subject, C4 Center executive director Cynthia Gabriel expressed her views that whistleblowers are crucial in the fight against corruption and the creation of an ethical environment.
“Ideally, whistleblowers should not face reprisals or retribution, yet in reality, it is an extremely dangerous task in the environment they operate in today. We need to find ways to change the environment to make it more enabling for them to come forward.”
For corporations, National Centre for Governance, Integrity and Anti Corruption’s deputy director-general Farah Adura Hamidi encouraged companies to develop their own organisational anti-corruption plan as it will embed the whistleblowing regulation in the company as recommended by the corporate governance initiatives under the National Anti Corruption Plan.
She highlighted that whistleblower participation in an organisation’s internal compliance systems should be encouraged by top management.
“Responsible companies with strong compliance cultures should not fear whistle blowers but embrace them as a constructive part of the process to expose wrongdoings that could harm a company and its reputation,” said Farah.
In the case of SMEs, which is the backbone of the Malaysian economy, she pointed out that there are also tools available to suit their size and needs such as the anti-bribery management system which allows them to assess their risks on corruption. She added that it is important for management to encourage such a mechanism.
“Let’s say there’s something wrong with the internal controls, then the whistleblower has confidence to see the top management as there is precedent in the company’s policy and mechanism to report such wrongdoings.”