Notes: The sender of this letter says the on-going case involving Rafizi Ramli vis-a-vis the National Feedlot Centre (NFCorp) issue should not deter Malaysians from blowing the whistle on wrong-doers because the Whistleblower Protection Act 2010 [Act 711] does provide safeguards ... "The whistleblower protection mechanism in the Act clearly states the types of disclosures that can be made, to whom it’s to be made to, how one qualifies for whistleblower protection and how he may lose it, its enforcement procedures, acts which amount to offences and their penalties. It’s all there, all clear. Nothing hidden, no diabolical plan behind it."
Good intentions are always misunderstood, especially if one already has prejudices clouding their minds, and opposes every good intention of the Government. Any new idea or policy introduced is more often than not met with sneers, ridicule and straight-out criticism –everything is seen as a tool for the Government to close its ranks and protect its own.
The aim of the Whistleblower Protection Act, even before it came into being, has always been very clear - to protect those disclosing information on wrongdoings from being victimized for making the disclosure. The protection is extended indiscriminately to every citizen from every walk of life, be it in the public or private sector, so long as the disclosure is made in accordance with the mechanism encapsulated within the Act. The way this Act works is the same way in which other whistleblower legislation works in countries that have long provided for whistleblower protection, which, incidentally, were referred to in drafting the Malaysian legislation.
The whistleblower protection mechanism in the Act clearly states the types of disclosures that can be made, to whom it’s to be made to, how one qualifies for whistleblower protection and how he may lose it, its enforcement procedures, acts which amount to offences and their penalties. It’s all there, all clear. Nothing hidden, no diabolical plan behind it.
Unfortunately, when one is blinded by his misconceptions and prejudices, he chooses to see only what he wants to see and believes only what he wants to believe. Had it been any Tom, Dick or Rafizi who did the “whistleblowing” and the misconduct disclosed of not connected to some former Cabinet Minister, things would probably not turned out the way it did. However, with the players in this little tale being who they are and what they represent, fingers were automatically pointed and accusations hurled without anyone bothering to do a little homework before putting their foots into their mouths.
Yes, our dear Mr. Rafizi blew the whistle. Is he a whistleblower within the textbook definition of “whistleblower”, then? Not quite, as most dictionaries define a whistleblower as an employee who reports of employer misconduct. Is Mr. Rafizi an employee of NFCorp? That fact is very much doubted. The kind people who drafted the Malaysian legislation didn’t want to be confined to the textbook meaning of whistleblower and instead broadened it to be any person who makes a disclosure of improper conduct. Does this make Mr. Rafizi a Malaysian whistleblower, then? Not quite either. Read the definition of whistleblower in section 2 of the Act and the magic words “to the enforcement agency” towards the end of the sentence gives you the answer. Unless the two people that he disclosed the information to can, by any stretch of the imagination, fall within the meaning of “enforcement agency” also found under section 2, then our dear Mr. Rafizi is also sadly denied the title of Malaysian whistleblower. If he can’t even whistle blow the Malaysian way, how can he be protected?
Graphic by Beruang Biru
If he’s not a textbook whistleblower and he’s not a Malaysian whistleblower, who is he then? A good Samaritan intending to put right the wrong that has long been going on without any slightest consideration to protect or spare his informer, a person described as any other person named in the disclosure of improper conduct who would suffer any risk or loss if his identity is disclosed as described in the definition of “a whistleblower” in Act 711, or a person with a hidden agenda who is not above using unscrupulous means to achieve that agenda? It’s for the court to decide. Either way, with the manner and clouded intent in which he made the disclosure, he does not deserve whistleblower protection legally or otherwise.