Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Where do we draw the line on whistle-blowing?

Salleh Said Keruak

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad made a point today in his Blog posting regarding whistle-blowing. While he argues his case well, as he usually does, there are certain things that he has omitted in his arguments.

Yes, we do have a law that is supposed to protect whistle-blowers who report a crime. But that does not mean you are at liberty to post confidential documents on the Internet or circulate them to the media. You are supposed to lodge a report to the police or to the Anti-Corruption Commission with the supporting evidence so that the right authority can investigate this matter.

The law is meant to encourage those who have information regarding a crime to report that crime. It is not to encourage people to publish details of that alleged crime that has not been confirmed yet.

We cannot have anyone simply accusing so-and-so of a crime and then claim that he or she is a whistle-blower and hide behind the protection of the law. What if later that allegation is proven false? Can that person claim he or she did not know the information was false and get away scot-free?

The reputation of that person being alleged of a crime would be ruined and even if later it were proven that the allegation is false that would not erase the stigma. People will still say that person is a criminal and that there was a cover-up.

Dr Mahathir in his Blog posting today has misrepresented the issue and has made it appear like whistle-blowers are not welcome and if they do whistle-blow they, and not the criminal, would face punishment. That is not what the situation is and it is very mischievous of Dr Mahathir to suggest so.

If you think your neighbour may have raped his own daughter and you have grounds to believe so, you report this neighbour to the authorities. You do not go around to every house and inform the entire neighbourhood about this ‘crime’ and in the end it is proven false.

The stigma that the neighbour accused of raping his own daughter will face will remain forever. And you cannot claim that you are protected by law to make this false allegation.

Worse of all, the foreign media is being used to perpetuate this allegation against Malaysia’s Prime Minister. At one time Dr Mahathir accused the foreign media of trying to subvert a democratically elected government. Now he is using this same media that he accused of being under Jewish control to undermine the government.

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