Whistleblower act needs to be strengthened: MACC chief

PUTRAJAYA (Aug 7): The Whistleblower Protection Act 2010 needs to be strengthened as there are still certain issues that need clear understanding, especially on the definition of immunity and  informants, Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner Latheefa Koya said.

She said sometimes, people tend to get confused with the correct definition of a whistleblower, adding that MACC itself categorised those who came forward into three categories.

“First, they could just be a mere informant, (second) a complainant meaning the victim, and the third person is someone who is a whistle blower.

“So a person needs to decide what kind of person she or he is when they come forward to complain and these are the things we need to verify first,” she told the media after the ‘Exclusive On Stage With The Chief Commissioner’ programme here yesterday.

Latheefa said whenever someone exposes a misconduct, it does not necessary mean the person is a whistleblower as the term whistleblower refers to the person who may be affected or penalised due to the information that he or she had exposed.

“Merely exposing someone does not make that person a whistleblower,” she said.

On immunity, she said as far as MACC was concerned, if anyone sought whistleblower protection, MACC on its own would protect them. 

“As a complaint is brought to us and a person claims to be a whistleblower and needs protection, then we would definitely ask for a commitment from them to actually say that they are seeking whistleblower protection, but after having made the commitment, then they go out there and probably say something else (and) that doesn’t help (the investigation).

Latheefa was of the view that in general, those who intend to complain about a wrongdoing tend to get their roles mixed up. 

“Sometimes they claim they are whistleblowers and then the next moment they change their mind… there are issues in which the MACC have to deal with, which is balancing the idea of protecting the whistle blower, as well as the effectiveness of the complaint.

“As far as the law is concerned there are certainly gaps which we need to tighten up. But I can only share those views and our comments and feedback on what is lacking to the policy makers,” she said.

Meanwhile, Latheefa said MACC has so far received good cooperation from members of parliament on the declaration of assets.

“We also need to understand it is not just asset declaration per se but also their liabilities,” she said, adding that was why it was only fair for the MACC to make public only general data.  

“We are not going to give too much details for (their) protection and privacy, but we are in the midst of collecting their liabilities as well,” she said.

Latheefa said there were MPs who claimed that they haven’t got the right forms because they had filed the declaration through the HRMIS (Human Resource Management Information System), the system for public servants.

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