PETALING JAYA (Feb 23): Majlis Perbandaran Petaling Jaya (MBPJ) has been lambasted for releasing personal information of a resident who had complained against construction work near her home, which has sparked privacy concerns that may silence future complainants.
In a report by Free Malaysia Today (FMT), Damansara Perdana resident Cynthia Hor was shocked to find out that the council’s engineering department had sent a letter to developer Mammoth Empire Holding Sdn Bhd, complete with her full name and home address.
Questioning the need for her particulars to be included in the letter, she added that this was a breach of the Whistleblower Protection Act 2010, which protects those who voluntarily report wrong doings — including the disclosure of their personal details, such as their name and address.
“I only wanted MBPJ to come and check if what I see could be a trigger to a possible landslide,” she told the portal.
“Each time it rains, I see a little more vegetation disappear. I was worried that if that area is prone to a massive landslide, someone needs to do something about it,” she added.
She said it was unlikely that people would come forward to perform their civic duty if MBPJ could not guarantee the privacy of a complainant — a sentiment echoed by MBPJ councillor Sean Oon.
“Is this how they treat every complainant who lodges a report with MBPJ? Is this their standard operating procedure?
“If this is how they handle whistleblowers, I’m afraid not many people will not dare come forward to voice their complaints in the future, for fear of their identity being disclosed in this manner and jeopardising their safety,” he said.
He added that the council should have sought Hor’s permission before disclosing her particulars to Mammoth Empire Holding.
However, MBJP’s Engineering Department director Ismail Shafie told Oon that the developer should know who the complainant is “in order to verify the legitimacy of the location”.
“He also said this was not a personal complaint, but a complaint that involves the public, therefore there is no issue in disclosing the identity of the complainant,” he said.