Sunday, 15 July 2012

Don't shoot the messenger

Article in The Edge Malaysia, July 9, 2012:

Don't shoot the messenger:

Of late, a disturbing trend has been to shoot the messenger. Just last week, there were two cases of whistle-blowers being intimidated.

The first was the inspection by the Companies Commission of Malaysia of human rights group Suara Rakyat Malaysia - the first in the non-governmental organisation's 23-year existence. The human rights watchdog has called on the authorities to focus instead on its allegations of abuse in the multibillion-ringgit Scorpene submarine deal.

The second case, which happened earlier in the week, involved opposition politician Rafiz Ramli being investigated by police over classified documents related to the Ampang LRT extension project. Rafizi had wanted to know if the job was awarded to the best qualified consortium.

Last month, it was reported that whistle-blowers in the National Feedlot Corp scandal were either hauled up by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission or questioned under the Banking and Financial Institutions Act. A bank employee also alleged he was under intense pressure at his workplace and subsequently resigned.

This pattern of putting whistle-blowers through the wringer instead of focusing on the crux of the issues raised only makes one suspicious. Why wasn't there a concerted effort to investigate the issues raised by these individuals and NGO's?

The action taken against the whistle-blowers was clearly not warranted and did not earn the authorities any brownie points. The real effort should go into getting to the bottom of the allegations.

I 100% agree with the above. Shooting the messenger has been a popular pastime in certain circles in Malaysia. The leadership should step up to show that the new initiatives regarding protecting whistle-blowers are not in vain. Highly relevant for corporate governance, since bad practices are often noticed by the employees, who should be encouraged by protection.

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