Malaysia drops seven spots in anti-graft ladder

Source: The Malaysian Insight

Transparency International-Malaysia chairman Akhbar Satar says Malaysia’s ranking is likely to fall in the next few years until major corruption scandals are resolved. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Kamal Ariffin, February 22, 2018.

FAILURE to resolve major corruption scandals, like 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), Tabung Haji and Felda, is one of the main reasons Malaysia’s ranking fell in a global corruption index, an international anti-graft group said today.

“These scandals affected our score,” said Transparency International-Malaysia (TI-M) chairman Akhbar Satar at the launch of the Corruption Perceptions Index in Kuala Lumpur this morning.

Until these scandals are resolved satisfactorily, Akhbar said, Malaysia’s ranking is likely to further fall in the next few years.

Malaysia fell to No. 62 in the index last year, down seven spots from 2016, marking its lowest position since the index began in 1995.

The CPI ranks 180 countries by perceived levels of public sector corruption, according experts and business people. It uses a scale of 0 to 100, where 0 is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean.

Malaysia, since its 2014 score of 52, has been dropping every year, passing the halfway point in 2016 (49) and reaching 47 in 2017.

“We are at the same spot as Cuba. We should be better than them,” said Akhbar. Read more

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

Information freedom in Malaysia: Why we must empower the media and whistleblowers — Anas Alam Faizli

Source: Astro Awani

BY ANAS ALAM FAIZLI

In the current state, can the media in Malaysia be recognised as the fourth estate? Pic taken from Astro Awani

In the current state, can the media in Malaysia be recognised as the fourth estate? Pic taken from Astro Awani

Back in 2009, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak launched the New Economic Model (NEM), intended to spur the shift of a Government-led economy to the private sector.

He proclaimed that “the era where the Government knows best is over.”Subsequently, in a 2014 interview at UMNO’s 68th anniversary, he reiterated, “And, with all sense of humility, we consider ourselves not as know-alls. I have said that the era of the Government knows best is over.”

What the Prime Minister said is perfectly accurate and must be applauded.

While the context might have been with regards to giving the lead to the private sector or receiving criticism from the general public, his statement will be meaningful only if public participation is included in the Government’s operations and policies.

This can only be achieved if the public is given access to government documents; in order to pave the way or provide constructive criticism.

There are two ways to do this effectively; periodical release of data for the general public to consume, analyse, and scrutinise and secondly, the granting of rights for the public to request government documents and information. Read more

Court orders Rafizi to enter defence over OSA leak

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 1 — PKR’s Rafizi Ramli has been ordered to enter his defence for unauthorised possession and exposing confidential 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) documents.

Sessions court judge Zulqarnain Hassan said that based the evidence presented so far, including the publishing of the document page on Rafizi’s website, Facebook page and the fact that he had the document page on his mobile phone, and that this was sufficient in establishing a prima facie case.

“In my opinion, the prosecution has presented a prima facie case,” the judge told the court.

“Among the reasons is that the accused, Yang Berhormat Rafizi has been proven to be in possession and had exposed page 98 of the report,” he added.

September 27 has been set for the continuation of the trial. 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

Hearing for Dr Syed Omar Syed Agil’s application to block suspension

May 27 hearing for whistleblowing Islamic college CEO’s bid to prevent suspension

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Institut Profesional Baitulmal CEO, Syed Omar Syed Agil arriving at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur, January 4, 2016. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, April 13 ― The High Court here will next month hear the bid by Baitulmal Professional Institute (IPB) CEO Dr Syed Omar Syed Agil to prevent the suspension of his position by the college.

His lawyer Ida Daniella Zulkifli told reporters that May 27 will be the hearing of both Syed Omar’s application for a temporary court order blocking his suspension as well as his lawsuit.

“May 27 at 3pm for the hearing of the interim injunction and for the originating summons,” she said.

The case came up for case management before High Court judge Datuk John Louis’ O Hara, where IPB Sdn Bhd was represented by Nooron Aini Zakaria.

Last December 16, Syed Omar had filed his lawsuit or the originating summons against IPB’s operator Institut Profesional Baitumal Sdn Bhd, seeking to stop the latter from continuing to suspend him and continuing with an internal probe against him.

He claimed his suspension last October was due to his whistleblowing about possible funds misappropriation by the administration of the private tertiary institution where the Federal Territories Islamic Council (MAIWP) owns a 70 per cent stake.

Syed Omar had claimed that he had lodged reports with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and the police last August 14 and last September 1 over alleged financial mismanagement within IPB.

He claimed that the police had issued a notice on September 2 to say it had launched a criminal investigation based on his complaint and that he had provided them with the necessary documents and accounts.

He had also claimed that the MACC came to IPB on September 29 for a search and seizure, but the anti-graft authorities could not proceed as the relevant IPB officer was on medical leave.

Syed Omar also claimed to have received a September 29 show-cause letter from IPB which he replied on October 5, adding that IPB then issued a disciplinary notice on October 6 notifying him that the IPB had launched an internal probe against him.

IPB then suspended him just a day later on October 7, but Syed Omar has since then successfully obtained court orders on December 21 and January 4.

May 27 hearing for whistleblowing Islamic college CEO’s bid to prevent suspension

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Institut Profesional Baitulmal CEO, Syed Omar Syed Agil arriving at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur, January 4, 2016. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, April 13 ― The High Court here will next month hear the bid by Baitulmal Professional Institute (IPB) CEO Dr Syed Omar Syed Agil to prevent the suspension of his position by the college.

His lawyer Ida Daniella Zulkifli told reporters that May 27 will be the hearing of both Syed Omar’s application for a temporary court order blocking his suspension as well as his lawsuit.

“May 27 at 3pm for the hearing of the interim injunction and for the originating summons,” she said.

The case came up for case management before High Court judge Datuk John Louis’ O Hara, where IPB Sdn Bhd was represented by Nooron Aini Zakaria.

Last December 16, Syed Omar had filed his lawsuit or the originating summons against IPB’s operator Institut Profesional Baitumal Sdn Bhd, seeking to stop the latter from continuing to suspend him and continuing with an internal probe against him. Read more

Rafizi remanded for three days after OSA arrest

Source: The Malay Mail Online

PUTRAJAYA, April 6 ― The Magistrate Court here granted today the police’s request to remand Rafizi Ramli for three days after the PKR lawmaker was arrested under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) 1972.

Rafizi’s remand will expire on Friday, after which the police can seek further extension of remand or release him on bail.

He will be held at the Jinjang police detention centre.

The Pandan MP was arrested outside the Parliament compound yesterday after he previously disclosed what he claimed to be an excerpt from the Auditor-General’s report on state investment firm 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), which is classified under the law guarding state secrets. Read more