Fortifying OSA will not stop whistleblowers, says NOW

Source: FMT News

FMT News pic
FMT News pic

PETALING JAYA: Whistleblowers will still expose wrongdoing and abuses of power even if the Attorney-General strengthens the Official Secrets Act (OSA) and imposes heavier punishments, said the National Oversight and Whistleblowers Centre (NOW).

Speaking to Malaysiakini, its director Akmal Nasir said although the move could be seen as protecting those who do wrong, he was confident whistleblowers would still do what was right in the interests of the public.

“Anyone who has access to the information, and has a conscience and is brave, can come forward as a whistleblower.”

He defended the action of whistleblowers, saying they only exposed confidential information on companies that failed to deal with internal financial leakages, or were suspected of mismanagement and corruption.

“Leaks will stop when the swindling stops,” Akmal said, pointing out that the best way to address leaks was to impose punishments on those who were found to be corrupt.

Akmal was responding to news reports on Sin Chew Daily that AG Apandi Ali had plans to impose heavier punishments on whistleblowers under the OSA, that carried punishments that currently ranged from one to seven years or life imprisonment.

Apandi also said journalists who refused to reveal their sources could also be punished when the OSA was strengthened.

Undaunted, Akmal said, “Even when faced by challenges, including legal pressure, NOW will still remain relevant to the public as long as corruption, leakages, and abuse of power continue in this country.”

One controversy that has refused to go away has been the RM2.6 billion donation Prime Minister Najib Razak received in 2013.

Speaking to Sin Chew Daily, Apandi said the donor had been identified as the son of the late Saudi king, although he declined to reveal any name.

“We know his name. He is not the late Saudi king but the son of the king. He is still alive.”

In a report in The Star Online that quoted Apandi in the interview with the Chinese daily, the AG said that officers from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) had also recorded a statement from the donor and that he had read the report himself.

“Why are the people asking for the reason for the donation? This question has to be asked to the donor. He has billions. He wanted to give money to whoever, so what?

“This is his money. This is his personal matter. Our country does not have any laws to state that receiving political donations is illegal,” the news portal quoted him as saying.


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