Current Affairs, National

Whistleblower Lalitha is not wrong

Media statement by MP for Bukit Gelugor and DAP National Legal Bureau Chairman, Ramkarpal Singh on 8 January 2022:

 

The Whistleblower Protection Act 2010 was introduced for an obvious reason. To protect those who have valid reasons to report the wrongdoings of another, specifically those involved in corrupt practices.

 

The Act does stipulate circumstances in which one may claim protection. It basically protects those who whistleblow to an enforcement agency which is defined in section 2 of the Act as follows:

 

“enforcement agency” means:

 

(a) any ministry, department, agency or other body set up by the Federal Government, State Government or local government including a unit, section, division, department or agency of such ministry, department, agency or body, conferred with investigation and enforcement functions by any written law or having investigation and enforcement powers;

a body established by a Federal law or State law which is conferred with investigation and enforcement functions by that Federal law or State law or any other written law; or

a unit, section, division, department or agency of a body established by a Federal law or State law having investigation and enforcement functions;”

 

Although Lalitha Kunaratnam might not have reported her grievance to an enforcement agency as defined by the Act above, I am of the view that she should be afforded protection as her complaint is valid and worthy of being investigated.

 
The Vibes article screenshot on Azam Baki suing Lalitha.
 

Persecuting her, whether by means of a civil suit or criminal prosecution would make a mockery of the purport and intent of the Act.

That purport and intent is given expression in section 7 of the Act which states:

 

“Whistleblower protection:

7. (1) A whistleblower shall, upon receipt of the disclosure of improper conduct by any enforcement agency under section 6, be conferred with whistleblower protection under this Act as follows:

(a) protection of confidential information;

(b) immunity from civil and criminal action; and

(c) protection against detrimental action,

and for the purpose of paragraph (c), the protection shall be extended to any person related to or associated with the whistleblower.”

 

MACC chief Azam Baki will, no doubt, claim that Lalitha is not entitled to protection under the Act as she did not report her grievance to the relevant enforcement agency.

I believe such an argument is flawed as it overlooks the spirit of protecting whistleblowers as they whistleblow in the public interest.

At the time she aired her complaint publicly against Azam, Lalitha had good reason to have done so and that belief was rightly shared by most right thinking Malaysians as Azam never addressed her complaints immediately.

 
MP for Bukit Gelugor, Ramkarpal Singh.
 

If a civil action is commenced against Lalitha by Azam, I am of the view that she would have a compelling argument that she ought to be protected under the Act as a defence.

 

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