MALAYSIA: Whistleblower Protection Act Discourages Whistle Blowing

MALAYSIA: Whistleblower Protection Act Discourages Whistle Blowing
Photo Credit: REUTERS / 達志影像

By Alyaa Azhar

MALAYSIA: People's Justice Party (PKR) secretary-general Rafizi Ramli on Wednesday criticised the Whistleblower Protection Act, which he said did not facilitate whistleblowing, but instead discouraged it.

The Pandan MP was responding to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nancy Shukri who said that he was not protected under Act as he had exposed information publicly.

He, however, pointed out how he had never even been protected under the Act.

Obtaining protection under the Act, he opined, was a ‘waste of time’ as the Act was not put in place to facilitate whistleblowing.

“I'm not interested in what the government has to say about the Whistleblower Protection Act,” Rafizi told a press conference in Kuala Lumpur today.

“If we take over the government, obviously we will revamp and ensure that it behaves and functions the way it is supposed to.”

This way, former ministers who have information related to corruption, can come forward to reveal them and their protection will be secured, said Rafizi.

Meanwhile, Rafizi added that the idea of whistleblowing was to allow subordinates to go outside of the official law enforcement framework to disclose information.

The Act currently allows for information to only be disclosed to law enforcement agencies, namely the police, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), the Securities Commission and Bank Negara Malaysia.

Rafizi, however, queried what if there were cases of mismanagement in the MACC or police.

“If I'm from those agencies, of course I would be afraid. (There would be) the concept that you are whining, or sabotaging your superiors," he said.

And this is the reason why this provision is not included in the whistleblower protection act of other countries, he added.

Citing the United Kingdom’s version, Rafizi said its Act states that information can also be revealed by ‘competent parties’ and this includes the media, politicians and NGOs.

On April 8, Rafizi was charged with disclosing a confidential document and possessing a document regarding 1MDB which was classified under OSA.

Nancy in her parliamentary written reply said Rafizi’s identity was exposed when he revealed information on the matter openly at press conferences and therefore did not qualify to be a whistleblower and be protected under the Act.

First editor: Edward White

Second editor: Olivia Yang

The News Lens has been authorized to repost this article. The piece was first published by Malaysiakini.