Akhbar: Revamp whistleblower policy to encourage people to come forward
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