There are currently 495 whistleblowers under the protection of the Whistleblower Protection Act 2010 (Act 711), said the de facto law minister Liew Vui Keong.
He said this is based on information gathered from the police, MACC, Royal Customs Department, Immigration Department, Road Transport Department, Securities Commission, and Companies Commission from 2011 up to May 31, 2017.
He added that the existing whistleblower protection law does not contradict the Official Secrets Act 1972 (OSA).
“Law enforcement agencies, especially the main agencies I had just mentioned, provide real protection according to the scope and provisions of Act 711, namely protection of confidential information, immunity to civil and criminal action, and protection against detrimental actions.
“Enforcement of Act 711 is based on guidelines and standard operating procedures that had been jointly agreed upon, and collaboration is still ongoing to increase the effectiveness in implementing Act 711 such as by studying the difficulties faced by enforcement agencies in ensuring confidentiality,” he said in a written parliamentary reply dated yesterday.
However, he said the protections under Act 711 do not apply if the whistleblower’s identity had already been exposed or the information had already been disclosed to a third party.
As for whether the Act is adequate to encourage potential whistleblowers to expose wrongdoing in the public or private sector, Liew said the matter would require a more holistic policy study to determine.
This includes studying whether other countries have more effective ways to provide protection to whistleblowers.
He said in this in response to a question from Lim Lip Eng (PH-Kepong) asking how many whistleblowers are under the protection of Act 711, and whether the government intends to amend Act 711 and the OSA to provide “real protection” for whistleblowers.
Lim had been lobbying for more protections for whistleblowers in a bid to combat corruption, which had been criticised as ineffective as there are other laws that could implicate whistleblowers such as the OSA.
On May 22, Lim said he would table a motion in parliament to improve Act 711.