Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Parliament: Protect whistleblowers from litigation


KUALA LUMPUR: A mechanism is needed to ensure that members of the public who report incidents of corruption are protected from being sued.

Loke Siew Fook (DAP-Rasah) said out that a woman who had lodged a report with the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) against a policeman for bribery was later sued by the policeman for defamation after the court dismissed the case on technicalities.

“This will not encourage people to make reports,” he said during the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Bill 2008 debate on Tuesday.

When Mohd Nor Othman (BN-Hulu Terengganu) asked what would happen if a false report was made, Loke said there were provisions in the MACC Bill to penalise the culprit.

Loke argued that the punishment meted out against those who make false reports was unjust compared with the punishment for those who allegedly committed the offence.

“Graft offenders will have to pay five times the amount they bribed, but those who make a false report have to pay RM100,000,” he said.

“We don’t want to create space for abuse. It is the role of the MACC to investigate and take action against such abuse,” he said.

He also suggested that the MACC offices be made accessible to the public, as was the practice with the Independent Commission against Corruption in Hong Kong, and that the building be covered with dark glass to ensure confidentiality.

Source: The Star online

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