50,000 apply, 400 whistleblowers given protection

KUALA LUMPUR: Almost 400 whistleblowers were given protection under the Whistleblower Protection Act 2010 (WPA) although more than 50,000 had sought protection for disclosing wrongdoings and corruption.

The 392 individuals were given protection under WPA although 55,287 had applied for it, said Performance Index (KPI) officer Shuhairoz Mohamed Shukeri.

“In 2015, some 12,527 individuals sought protection as whistlerblowers,” she said in a Breakfast Talk entitled “Whistler Blowers Must Be Protected” at the Malaysian Institute of Integrity here yesterday.

She said not all who came forward to provide information would be given protection automatically.

“The Act does not cover those who are accomplice to the wrongdoing,” she said, adding there were also frivolous reports made against colleagues.

Shuhairoz, who is attached under Prime Minister’s Department, denied claims that Official Secrets Act (OSA) had eroded the effectiveness of the WPA in encouraging those with information on corruption to come forward.

However, Syahredzan Johan, a committee member of the National Young Lawyers, blamed a trust deficit and confidence in the enforcement authorities, that had led to instances where those with information had resorted to going to politicians and media.

“I am not saying who is wrong and who is right but it is a question of perception which has led to a trust deficit,” he said.

He cited amendments to Section 203A of the OSA which makes it an offence for a public servant to disseminate information he received.

Anyone found guilty under the Act is looking at a maximum fine of RM1mil or a year’s imprisonment or both.

However, Section 17A provides protection to civil servants if they are merely discharging their duties.

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