Akhbar: Re­vamp whistle­blower pol­icy to en­cour­age peo­ple to come for­ward

New Straits Times - - News -

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Anti-Cor­rup­tion Com­mis­sion’s (MACC) move to go af­ter civil ser­vants who re­ject bribes, but fail to lodge re­ports is ap­pro­pri­ate.

Trans­parency In­ter­na­tion­alMalaysia pres­i­dent Datuk Akhbar Satar said the move to ex­er­cise Sec­tion 25 (1) and (2) of the MACC Act 2009 was a good one.

How­ever, he said, the com­mis­sion needed to look at the pos­si­bil­ity that the rea­son why some did not re­port at­tempts to bribe them was be­cause they were afraid of re­tal­i­a­tion, or be­lieved noth­ing would come of their re­ports.

Akhbar said the Global Cor­rup­tion Barom­e­ter (GCB) con­ducted by Trans­parency In­ter­na­tional showed that 15 per cent of Malaysians were afraid of the con­se­quences, 12 per cent thought noth­ing would be done and it would not make a dif­fer­ence, another 12 per cent did not know how to re­port it, and 10 per cent did not know where to re­port it.

“It is a good move and will en­cour­age more peo­ple to re­port these cases. MACC is do­ing the right thing in con­duct­ing this cam­paign, as most do not know that it is an of­fence (not to re­port at­tempted bribery).

“(But) peo­ple are afraid of re­tal­i­a­tion. These is­sues need to be ad­dressed to en­cour­age them to come for­ward. This in­cludes a re­vamp of the whistle­blower pol­icy.”

Akhbar said peo­ple needed to be en­cour­aged to lodge re­ports, as with­out them, MACC would not be able to act.

“Only through (re­ceiv­ing) re­ports will (MACC) know some­one is of­fered a bribe.”

Cen­tre to Com­bat Cor­rup­tion and Crony­ism ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor Cyn­thia Gabriel, while agree­ing that it was a com­mend­able move, said there were some se­ri­ous struc­tural prob­lems that im­peded the re­port­ing of cor­rup­tion by civil ser­vants and the pub­lic at large.

An ex­am­ple, she said, was the Of­fi­cial Se­crets Act (OSA) which blocked whis­tle-blow­ers from re­veal­ing clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion.

“(In ad­di­tion), Sec­tion 203A of the Pe­nal Code places a RM1 mil­lion fine (or a year’s jail, or both) on any­one who leaks in­for­ma­tion.”

Gabriel said while MACC was gain­ing the pub­lic’s trust in its abil­ity to fight graft, this was “not fully there yet”.

“These (is­sues) need to be over­come to cre­ate an en­vi­ron­ment that is more en­abling for re­port­ing of cor­rup­tion to be­come a prac­tice. You can’t use this part of the (MACC Act) cur­rently with­out ad­dress­ing the struc­tural lim­i­ta­tions.”

Datuk Akhbar Satar

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