Malaysia needs a stronger Whistleblower Protection Act so that members of public feel protected if they report any wrongdoings to the authorities.
Economic Affairs Deputy Minister Senator Mohd Radzi Md Jidin said it was important to ensure that people are confident with the Act, or no one would make any report on misdeeds.
“There must an effective mechanism where it is safe for the whistleblower to report and feels assured of action.
“For example, in the United States they have the Dodd-Frank Act, which is an effective way to protect whistleblowers,” Mohd Radzi told reporters after delivering his keynote address at the “Public Sector Internal Audit Conference 2018 – The Notion of Public Values” in Kuala Lumpur today.
The Dodd-Frank Act 2010 is US federal law that places regulation of the financial industry in the hands of the government. It created financial regulatory processes to limit risk by enforcing transparency and accountability.
Earlier in his speech, Mohd Radzi said internal auditors in the public sector should discuss among themselves on identifying ways to improve the independence and transparency of their reports.
“We need to set the right tone and signal to the public as Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has repeatedly stressed on (the importance of) upholding integrity within the government.
“We must remember the purpose of an internal audit is to add value and improve an organisation’s operations,” he said.
Echoing the opinion of the deputy minister, the chief executive officer of the Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA), Nurmazilah Mahzan, said there was a need to look at the structure of the respective internal audit departments in the government sector before determining the next action to enhance transparency and accountability.
“Currently, we notice the level of awareness on these matters has improved and urge everyone to take preventive measures to inculcate honesty and integrity.
“On the Whistleblower Act, there is also a need for the government to obtain more relevant data and measure the level of understanding of the current Act by the public to ensure its effectiveness in moving forward,” she added.
The Whistleblower Protection Act 2010 was passed by Parliament in June 2010, and brought into force on Dec 15 the same year.
The objective of the Act is to give protection to a whistleblower through the confidentiality of their information, immunity from civil and criminal actions and protection from detrimental actions against them.