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18-12-2010, 02:38 AM
KL implements law to protect whistleblowers
Move aimed at fighting graft, but some wonder if it will be effective in nabbing offenders
By Teo Cheng Wee, Regional Correspondent

KUALA LUMPUR: Amid the ongoing global buzz over WikiLeaks, a new Malaysian law that safeguards whistleblowers came into effect here this week, and was greeted with a mix of hope and scepticism.

The government promises that its much-hyped Whistleblower Protection Act, first announced last year by Prime Minister Najib Razak, will help curb corruption in the country.

It is part of his extensive programme to reform the public sector and turn Malaysia into a First World country.

With some of the biggest scandals in Malaysia having been exposed by informants, the hope is that such an Act will embolden more people to come forward to report wrongdoings.

The new Act, for one, ensures that the identity of the informant is kept secret and that he is protected from civil and criminal liability. If his identity is revealed, he may take the suspected offender to court.

An employer who retaliates against a staff informant can also be charged. Anyone found guilty of such actions against the informant can be jailed for up to 10 years or fined up to RM50,000 (S$21,000), said Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department V.K. Liew last week, after a briefing to civil servants on the Act.

The Act covers both the private and public sectors. The government is formulating a reward system for people who come forward with information as well, said Datuk Liew.

Besides netting corrupt officials, the hope is that the law will be able to protect whistleblowers such as social activist Irene Fernandez, who fought a court case for 13 years before being acquitted last year.

Ms Fernandez was arrested in 1996 and sentenced to a year in jail for publishing false news, after releasing a report on the living conditions of migrant workers in Malaysia. She fought her conviction while out on bail, pending her appeal.

The authorities point out that similar laws in the United States and Europe have proven successful in fighting corruption, and they believe the effect will be the same in Malaysia.

But the implementation of the Act still raises questions in many quarters.

'In principle, it's a good idea. But we need to see how it actually works - the details and the practicalities,' said Bar Council president Ragunath Kesavan.

The Act will make little difference, critics say, if blowing the whistle does not translate to offenders being punished, as has happened in several high-profile cases.

The Attorney-General, for instance, has yet to take action against those implicated in a judicial corruption case in 2007. This was despite a Royal Commission of Inquiry turning up allegations of widespread judicial corruption and finding evidence of wrongdoing.

Port Klang Authority (PKA) chairman Lee Hwa Beng believes the public perception is that it is not worth their while to come forward with information.

The PKA implemented its own whistleblowing system early this year, in the light of the Port Klang Free Zone scandal. The system offers protection and a procedure for reporting that assures anonymity. So far, however, nobody has come forward.

The sense people get is that nothing is done even when information is offered, said Datuk Lee.

'You put yourself at risk to do the right thing, but there is no payoff and nobody is punished,' he said.

'If the government wants success, that will have to change.'

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18-12-2010, 02:50 AM
in Singapore its

Whistleblower Prosecution Act

Dreamer1
18-12-2010, 02:55 AM
Lee & Lee should quickly catch up with Razak & Razak

Windsor
18-12-2010, 03:48 AM
So the first one Najizz should protect is PI Bala who has blown the whistle on the connections of Razak Baginda, Perimekar, Altantuya, his wife's Carpetbaggerman and the role of his brother to get PI Bala out of the country. Then we all will believe pigs can fly.

wahlaneh
18-12-2010, 03:52 AM
wahlaneh...
najib also want to blow ah?:D

Watchman
18-12-2010, 04:16 AM
I think they probably murdered PI Bala .