Whistleblower Act must be amended

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Dr Radzi Jidin on whistleblower act
Dr Radzi Jidin. Photo Credit: Dr Radzi Jidin Facebook Page

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 14 – The Pakatan Harapan government must beef up the Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) to help the public feel protected when they report any wrongdoings.

Economic Affairs Deputy Minister Senator Mohd Radzi Md Jidin said it was important to ensure that people were confident with the Act or no one would report on misdeeds, Bernama reported.

“There must be an effective mechanism where it is safe for the whistleblower to report and feels assured of action.

“For example, in the United States they have the Dodd-Frank Act which is an effective way to protect whistleblowers,” he told reporters after delivering his keynote address at the “Public Sector Internal Audit Conference 2018 – The Notion of Public Values” here yesterday.

The Dodd-Frank Act 2010 is a US federal law that places regulation of the financial industry in the hands of the government. It created financial regulatory processes to limit risk by enforcing transparency and accountability.

The Whistleblower Protection Act 2010 was passed by Parliament in June 2010, and came into force on Dec 15 of the same year.

The objective of the Act was to give protection to a whistleblower through confidentiality of their information, immunity from civil and criminal action and protection from detrimental action against them.

Whistleblowers prosecuted under OSA

However, then opposition leaders from DAP and PKR, as well as anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International-Malaysia had voiced out their displeasure over the Act not going far enough to protect whistleblowers.

They said this was because the Act denied whistleblowers any protection if they did not first go to the authorities but instead made some revelation through the media or any other party, such as a political party or NGO.

Also, over the past eight years, there have been reports of the Official Secrets Act 1972 being used to prosecute whistleblowers.

Internal auditors must uphold integrity in government

Radzi also called for internal auditors in the public sector to identifying ways to improve the independence and transparency of their reports.

“We need to set the right tone and signal to the public as Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has repeatedly stressed on the importance of upholding integrity within the government.

“We must remember the purpose of an internal audit is to add value and improve an organisation’s operations,” he was quoted as saying by Bernama.

-NMT