Low: Revamp OSA to protect civil servant whistleblowers

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 17 Feb 2016

PETALING JAYA: While acknowledging the need to protect sensitive government information, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Paul Low said a revamp of the Official Secrets Act (OSA) was needed to protect civil servants who are whistleblowers.

He said at present the Whistleblower Protection Act protected those from the private sector but not civil servants.

“If the information leaked is related to corruption, abuse and fraud, a civil servant who is sincere and has come forward with good conscience should be protected.

“We need to look at revamping the OSA to have a more effective whistle-blowing policy,” he said in an interview with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s portal and online radio, MACC.FM yesterday.

However, Low acknowledged the need for the OSA to protect sensitive government information relating to national security, ongoing investigations, project negotiations and data protection.

On Feb 6, Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali said he was considering amending the OSA to increase penalties against those who were involved in leaking state secrets, as well as those who reported from these sources.

On a separate issue, Low admitted that adverse reports surrounding 1Malaysia Development Berhad last year were among the reasons for the country slipping four points from 50 in 2014 to 54 last year under Transparency International’s annual global corruption index.

He said measures were needed to prevent a further trust deficit, as this would affect investor confidence.

“We need to give a proper image that we are serious in upholding the rule of law and not merely make cosmetic changes,” he added.

Low said the draft to the proposed Corporate Liability Bill was being refined before it was tabled in Parliament. The new law to make companies liable for corruption is needed after Malaysia became a signatory to the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement.

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