Do not ‘shoot’ the whistleblower – Syahredzan Johan

Source: The Star Online

BY SYAHREDZAN JOHAN

Syahredzan Johan - file pic

Syahredzan Johan – file pic

There is perception, not unwarranted, that the authorities are more interested in going after those who expose wrongdoings, rather than those who actually committed the offence. In other words, the authorities are more likely to take action against whistleblowers, rather than wrongdoers.

Recently, someone cheekily tweeted a scenario where a person makes a report to a police officer about money stolen from a mosque. When asked what proof he had, the CCTV footage of the perpetrator was shown. The officer’s response was to investigate how the CCTV was obtained, ignoring the actual crime.

It is true that sometimes the disclosure of information by the whistleblower is crime. We have a whole host of laws that make it an offence for individuals to reveal information that they possess. The Official Secrets Act (OSA), for example, criminalises disclosure of information that is classified as an “official secret” by unauthorised persons.

Meanwhile, the Penal Code criminalises the unauthorised disclosure of information by those who obtain that information through their work as a public servant. For information relating to bank accounts, there are also laws, which makes it a crime for someone to give such information to others. Read more

Civil society keeps the state under watch – Khoo Ying Hooi

Source: The Malaysian Insider

BY KHOO YING HOOI

I believe a stronger civil society is always part of the answer for social justice and accountability from all institutions during turbulent economic and political times.

In this challenging period that is facing Malaysia, ranging from leadership crisis to deterioration of public institutions, civil society becomes indispensable in the process of liberal democratic political reform.

Civil society is the major driving force behind democratisation and the containment of the state. Its popularity and relevancy rest on its ideological base, as separate from the state, in opposition to the state, as well as the source of liberal democratic values.

Crudely speaking, civil society is crucial as watchdog to strengthen and enhance democratic governance.

Last week, the World Alliance for Citizen Participation (Civicus) released their 2015 State of Civil Society Report, which also includes Malaysia.

The report highlighted that although civil society was recognised as the first responder to humanitarian emergencies last year, they faced dire threats and a funding crisis around the world. Read more