Whistleblower Protection Act has gaps, needs revamp, says C4

Source: Free Malaysia Today

PETALING JAYA: The Whistleblower Protection Act 2010 is not good enough and needs to be revamped, says civil society group Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4).

The anti-graft watchdog’s director, Cynthia Gabriel, said this following the jailing of Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli, for 30 months, for revealing bank accounts relating to the National Feedlot Corporation’s (NFC) subsidiary companies and that of executive chairman Mohamad Salleh Ismail six years ago.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) call to the public to come forth with information rang hollow, Cynthia said, because the country did not protect whistleblowers who were brave enough to come out and report wrongdoing.

Read more

Legal Lab with Aston Paiva on Rights of Whistleblowers

Taken from Facebook

Taken from Facebook

There is a recent and significant development in the law to embolden employees to step forwards and disclose any reprehensible conduct at workplace to the relevant authorities including MACC.

We call them “whistleblowers”.

The Whistleblower Protection Act 2010 came into effect on 15 December 2010 with the purpose of protecting the whistleblowers from any detrimental action taken against them.

In the case of Syed Omar bin Syed Agil v Institut Profesional Baitulmal Sdn Bhd, Dr. Syed Omar Syed Agil succeeded in his claim against his former employer to strike off a notice of internal investigations against him over his disclosure of alleged misconduct at his workplace.

The High Court judge affirmed the intention of Parliament and ruled that the defendant is required to prove detrimental action taken against plaintiff is not in reprisal for the disclosure under s.10(1), (3) and (7) of the Whistleblower Protection Act 2010.

To what extent does the Act actually protect whistleblower?

Come and join our Legal Lab with Aston Paiva on Rights of Whistleblowers on 17th March 2017 at MCCHR from 6.30pm – 8.30pm to find out!

Admission is free and open to all. Go to https://goo.gl/maps/XxXT9GswoA52 for direction.

The Legal Lab series is brought to you by UndiMsia! and KPUM.

IDEAS: Whistleblowers Protection Act too weak to protect public

Source: FMT News

IDEAS CEO Wan Saiful Wan Jan - Pic from FMT News

IDEAS CEO Wan Saiful Wan Jan – Pic from FMT News

PETALING JAYA: The extremely low number of whistleblowers coming forward to report on any wrongdoings in this country is due to weaknesses in the Whistleblower Protection Act 2010, says IDEAS chief executive officer Wan Saiful Wan Jan.

Referring to a new policy paper titled “A critical look into the Whistleblower Protection Act 2010” presented by IDEAS board member and past president of the Malaysian Bar Christopher Leong, the think tank chief said there are severe gaps in what should be reported and what is currently being reported in the country.

“Many experts can agree that whistleblowing is one of the best ways to discover corruption. In countries like the US, as much as 46% of fraud cases were discovered due to whistleblowers.

“However, in Malaysia, the numbers are extremely low. Only 28 out of 8,953 complaints made to the MACC in 2012 were by whistleblowers. This is approximately 0.3% of cases,” Wan Saiful said in a statement. Read more

No need to monitor MACC, says EAIC chief

Source: FMT News

Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission chairman says current cooperation between both agencies enough to check on errant MACC officers, not the organisation.

Chairman of Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission, Datuk Yaacob Md Sam ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

Chairman of Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission, Datuk Yaacob Md Sam ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

PUTRAJAYA: The Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) has cancelled its plan to place the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) under its purview, to enable the latter to maintain its independent status.

EAIC chairman Yaacob Md Sam said the EAIC believed that MACC should remain totally independent without being regulated by any government agency.

“If MACC is placed under the purview of any other agencies, this will create a perception that it is being controlled and has no elements of freedom,” he told reporters here today.

Yaacob said, at present, there were seven independent panels or committees monitoring MACC’s operations and its level of discipline.

Besides, he said the MACC was among investigative bodies that could work closely with the EAIC, in which the cooperation could not be exercised if MACC was placed under the EAIC’s purview.

In fact, Yaacob said the EAIC-MACC joint investigation team was established to investigate cases on enforcement officers who were involved in misconduct and corruption. Read more

Blow the whistle — Gurdial Singh Nijar

Source: The Sundaily

BY GURDIAL SINGH NIJAR
(Deputy President, HAKAM)

Whistleblowers-Act-2010BLOW the whistle” if you spot illegal, unethical or questionable acts, says Bank Negara. This is part of its policy to improve governance of banks and other financial institutions.

In the last 12 months, two key banks were fouled for non-compliance of laws. AmBank Group was slapped with a fine of RM53.7 million. The CIMB Group was required to initiate an independent review of its processes relating to the transfer of US$7 million for questionable purposes. The chairman of AmBank Group, which is at the centre of the 1MDB money trail, said that money launderers are getting smarter despite tougher regulations.

Bank Negara’s freshly-minted guidelines include a detailed whistleblowing policy that all banks and financial institutions must implement. They must set up a comprehensive system that allows for complaints to be made not only within the bank structure but to other regulators or law-enforcement agencies. Third parties dealing with banks – such as contractors and consultants – must be informed of this policy. And there must be periodic reporting and monitoring to oversee and assess that the policy is implemented and working effectively.

These guidelines could not come at a more propitious time – given the battering of Malaysia’s image internationally involving money laundering.

The guidelines actually operationalise the 2010 Whistleblower Protection Act – which was put in place to combat corruption and other wrongdoings. It is meant to encourage employees and others to report certain kinds of wrongdoing – whether in the public or private sector. As a whistleblower you’re protected by law – you shouldn’t be treated unfairly or lose your job or suffer any form of direct or indirect adverse consequence because you “blow the whistle”. Read more

Blow lid on whistleblower — Jahaberdeen Mohamed Yunoos

Source: The Malay Mail Online

BY JAHABERDEEN MOHAMED YUNOOS

MARCH 28 — In the midst of confusion surrounding the business of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), there appears to be bemusement among some sectors of the public on what a “whistleblower” is in law.

A whistleblower, in law, is not someone who whistles loudly any tune or music he wants in public with the purported motive of disclosing a wrongdoing by some government department. If that was the legal position, then any number of government agencies can be vilified and undermined in public on the pretext of whistleblowing — as in the case of trial by media.

Likewise, writing a blog article for example, based on so-called inside information, to disclose a purported wrong by say, a minister or a ministry, also does not qualify as whistleblowing in law.

Contrary to his expectations, the blog writer could end up committing various crimes and may even face potential civil liability if his accusations of wrongdoings are levelled at individuals.

For this reason and reasons that follow herein, I am surprised why quite a few refer to the Sarawak Report as a “whistleblowing site” because, at best, what are reported are allegations which are not proven in accordance with the law. Read more

Malaysian Bar raises doubt over seriousness to reform anti-graft body

Source: The Malaysian Insider

Malaysian Bar president Steven Thiru has raised concerns over the recommendations to reform MACC. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, December 16, 2015.

The Parliament’s reaction to the proposed recommendations to reform the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) reflected how serious those in power were in tackling graft in the country, participants in a seminar were told today.

Steven Thiru, the president of the Malaysian Bar, said the way the recommendations were pitched would determine if they would survive the passage in Parliament.

He, however, admitted that “we may not get all that we ask for”.

Steven was answering a question raised by a participant in the seminar on reforming the anti-graft watchdog in Kuching, Sarawak.

What the Bar, Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas), Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4) and Citizens Network for a Better Malaysia were asking for was the creation of the Independent Anti-Corruption Commission (IACC), expanding the definition of gratification and the power to investigate individuals living beyond their means, amending legislations such as the Whistleblower Protection Act 2010, the Witness Protection Act 2009, adoption of a Freedom of Information Act and an Asset Declaration Act. Read more

The unprotected whistleblower protection law — Muslim Youth Movement Malaysia

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Whistleblowers-Act-2010JULY 30 — Over the past few months, the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) issue has received a great amount of attention from the different backgrounds in Malaysian society.

The entire saga of 1MDB was heading towards the end with the culprit almost identified after the former Premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and several opposition leaders including Non-Governmental Organisations relentlessly criticised the Malaysian government over the operation of the debt-ridden company.

The greater highlights by online media in Malaysia and beyond has put the company and the government in a defenceless state.

However, the story now seems to be prolonged when the issue has been dragged to another episode to bring the show towards a different ending. Instead of having the case probed into transparently by the authorities, they are now more interested to identify and criminalize the whistle blowers. As far as the matter is concerned, the authorities claimed the action is for the sake of upholding Official Secrets Act 1972 -Act 88 (OSA 1972).

The explicit example of statement from the Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar that “police will investigate the leak of confidential documents pertaining to Lembaga Tabung Haji’s purchase of land from 1Malaysia Development Berhand (1MDB) under the Official Secrets Act (OSA)” had spoken for itself. Read more

Pemberi maklumat wajar dilindungi – Syahredzan Johan

Sumber: Sinar Harian

OLEH SYAHREDZAN JOHAN

Syahredzan Johan — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

Syahredzan Johan — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

WUJUD suatu persepsi dalam kalangan umum bahawa pihak berkuasa lebih berminat mencari mereka yang mendedahkan kesalahan yang berlaku, dan bukannya mereka yang benar-benar melakukan kesalahan. Dalam erti kata lain, pihak berkuasa ‘menembak’ si pemberi maklumat, atau dalam bahasa Inggeris, ‘whistleblowers’, dan bukannya si pesalah.

Tidak dinafikan bahawa kadangkala, pendedahan maklumat oleh pemberi maklumat juga salah di sisi undang-undang. Undang-undang kita penuh dengan peruntukan yang menjadikan ia suatu kesalahan bagi seseorang individu yang mendedahkan maklumat yang mereka miliki. Contohnya, Akta Rahsia Rasmi atau OSA, menjenayahkan pendedahan maklumat yang diklasifikasikan sebagai ‘rahsia rasmi’ oleh orang yang tidak diberi kuasa. Kanun Keseksaan pula menjadikan ia suatu jenayah sekiranya seseorang yang berkhidmat sebagai penjawat awam mendedahkan maklumat tanpa kebenaran. Read more

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