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Blow the whistle or what?

April 9, 2010
Whistleblower Protection Bill fatally flawed
Hafiz Yatim
Apr 9, 10
9:09am
All the song and dance over the WhistleBlower Protection Bill has come to naught as it does not allow for total protection for those who inform on corrupt parties.

Unlike in the US where under their witness protection programme, the informer is given a completely new identity together with the family and relocated to an entirely different neighbourhood.

Our version only provides relocation of employment and immunity from civil court action or criminal prosecution for disclosing such information.

Even the parts of the Bill that means to arm enforcement agencies with the power to conduct their own investigations on improper conduct or other complaints has come under criticisim.

The main grouse is that these agencies are looked upon with jaundiced eyes by the public as over the years the former have earned the distrust of the latter by their perceived biased actions.

For all its good intentions, some parties still feel the Bill, which had been tabled for its first reading three days ago lacks the necessary punch to make it more effective.

This is vital in the government’s serious efforts to curb the cancerous growth of graft plagueing the civil service.

NONEThe need for such a legislation is deemed necessary,and long overdue since it was brought-up three years ago, through revelations of the Lingam video tape by opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim (right).

It is aimed at maintaining the government’s integrity and transperancy to stop the rot in the civil service in the effort to curb the cancer.

In the past, the government has been criticised for not doing enough to protect whistle blowers.

Will bill protect such cases?

We had seen cases like that of former Sabah Anti Corruption Agency director Mohamad Ramli Manan, who had made several allegations against his former boss, the agency’s director-general Zulkipli Mat Noor, who had since been cleared.

Similarly, there was also a poison pen letter alleging something wrong in the judiciary when former Chief Justice Mohd Eusoffe Chin, was seen holidaying with prominent lawyer VK Lingam in New Zealand.

eusoff chin vk lingam new zealand trip photos 240108 frontFollowing the startling revelation, former High Court judge Syed Ahmad Idid Syed Abdullah Aidid had claimed responsibility for the 33-page letter alleging the abuses.

Although then Attorney General Mohtar Abdullah had cleared the case, Syed Ahmad Idid chose to resign.

The issue was further cemented following the formation of a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) formed to look into the Lingam video tape, where the RCI recommended action against six individuals, including former Premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Against the backdrop of the two cases, questions will rise if such issues crop up again, such as will the current legislation be sufficient to protect witnesses?

Will they continue to come forward and assist in exposing such illegalities?

No clear agency looking into abuse

Transperancy International Malaysia president, Paul Low welcomed the introduction of the Bill, as it was a longtime coming.

He told Malaysiakini that it (the Bill) will be a powerful instrument in helping the government combat corruption and abuse of power.

However, he said the public has to be convinced that it would truly enforce the law and would act as a trustworthy agency for lodging complaints.

transparency international malaysia corruption perception index  2008 pc 230908 paul lowThe advantage would be that the agency will be able focus on its role unburdened by other duties, said Low (right).

He added that the information received should be kept confidential and action must be swift and without fear of favour.

The agency receiving the information must be independent, he said.

And herein lies the rub, Low said questioning the ability of government departments or agencies to be independent in looking into complaints and protectioning the whistleblower.

“Will an alleged abuse case in police custody be looked at by the police or will the agency? There is no stated mechanism stipulated in the bill. It only says an enforcement agency will conduct the investigation.

“Ideally, the complaint should be looked at by an independent agency or an ombudsman with wide ranging powers. This is a point of principle where an alleged wrongdoing should not be looked at by the same department,” he said.

Relocation of informants needed

forum on the future of orang asli and asal in malaysia 141009  ragunath kesavanBar Council chairperson, Ragunath Kesavan (left) said it is a good start for the government.

He, however, felt the provisions to relocate the witnesses or their family members and in terms of ensuring their safety had not been adequately addressed.

“I have gone through some of the provisions but my concern is over having a whistle blower relocated to start life anew with his family.

“Sometimes the information given maybe dangerous in nature and may involve big-time gangsters.

“Hence, the right of the informant and his family for personal security should have been included ,especially in terms of relocation,” he said.

Ragunath said there is only a provision for relocation of employment which is insufficient in his view.

“There is also protection against civil or criminal action but that should have been expanded further,” he said.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Bei Suu Lan permalink
    April 14, 2010 11:07 AM

    To: All Malaysians with a One Good Heart,
    From: Ms Bei Suu Lan, NGO for Natives, KK, Sabah,
    Subject: Help the poor natives of Sabah,
    I came from Kedah to settle down in Sabah twenty years ago.I have seen with my own eyes the natives descending from prosperity to the living in the sewers.The politicians grew from rags to riches.The natives descend from a decent simple work status to living to the sewers.
    Why?Why?Why?
    It is because illegal immigrants has been given Real Residential Documents.They have been made real citizens.
    This enables them to compete and take away the jobs from all the local natives.
    I am in the hotel IT management line.I found that all my hotel clients employs immigrates with real documents.When they conduct job interviews they will just talk to the natives as a goodwill gesture.Then they will throw away the documents into some big box in the store.They will give all the jobs to illegals.I have seen it a million times.
    Look this is what is happening to the Sabah youths of today and the Sabah leaders of tomorrow. The future of Sabah has been sold to the foreigners by today’s politicians,

    Thursday February 25, 2010
    Scores of Sabah youths living like beggars in KL after losing jobs
    By MUGUNTAN VANAR and JOSHUA FOONG

    newsdesk@thestar.com.my
    KOTA KINABALU: They sleep along roadsides, parks or buildings and have to forage for leftover food.
    About 400 homeless Sabah youths are loitering around Jalan Masjid India, the Dayabumi Complex, Klang bus station and Bukit Nanas in Kuala Lumpur.
    Most of them come from the interiors of Sabah. One of the youths, Apai John from Tenom, said he had been without a job for four years.
    Their plight has been highlighted by the Catholic church and NGOs like the Kechara Soup Kitchen Society (KSK) and Street Fellowship.
    The NGOs claimed that the Sabahans roamed the streets and relied on free meals after they lost their jobs or were cheated by bogus employment agents.
    Bleak future: Some of the Sabahans seen loitering nearby Dayabumi Complex. Picture courtesy of Kechara Soup Kitchen Society.
    “Most of them are young – 16 to 25 years old – and are hoping to seek employment in the Klang Valley,” said KSK treasurer Julia Tan who leads her group of volunteers to distribute food to the homeless every Saturday and Sunday.
    “Those who are still unemployed mingle with the homeless in the city,” she added.
    “When I ask them why they choose to stay on, they said there are more opportunities here for them to earn a living,” she added.
    Yang di-Pertua Negri Tun Ahmadshah Abdullah recently said the Sabah government should assist homeless Sabahans to return home if the cases were genuine.
    Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman said state Community Development and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Azizah Mohd Dun and state Resource Development and Information Technology Minister Datuk Dr Yee Moh Chai would investigate the claims.
    “We will come out with some assistance to bring them home,” Musa said.
    “They can then find employment in the state,” he said.
    Musa advised Sabahans to be cautious about agencies offering jobs in other states or overseas.
    “They should only go to government-approved labour agencies.”
    He said some of these youths had become drug addicts.
    “As a result, they have lost their jobs,” Musa said.

    To all Malaysians,
    Please report all corrupted politicians,government officers and private people to the following agencies by phone and by emails,
    1) SPRM at Tel: 1800886000 and email: info@sprm.gov.my
    2) Prime Minister Office at Tel: 0388888000 and email: ppm@pmo.gov.my
    3) Bukit Aman Police at Tel: 0322626222 email: rmp@rmp.gov.my
    4)Registration office: pro@jpn.gov.my
    5)Customs: kastam@customs.gov.my
    6) Bank Negara: fiu@bnm.gov.my
    7)Income Tax: callcentre@hasil.org.my
    8)Home Affairs: pro@mois,gov.my
    9) MITI: webmiti@miti.gov.my
    10) Sabah local police: aduanawam@rmp.gov.my

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