KUALA LUMPUR, March 4 — Proposed amendments to the Whistleblower Protection Act 2010 are scheduled to be tabled this year, Deputy Minister for Law and Institutional Reform M. Kulasegaran said today.

He said this is among the initiatives to be pursued by the government in its efforts to combat power abuse, corruption and breaches of integrity, especially in public and private organisations.

“For the time being, the government is examining the proposed centralisation mechanism for receiving complaints of misconduct and providing whistleblower protection under the Act 711 (Whistleblower Protection Act 2010).

“The proposed amendment to improve Act 711 will allow whistleblower protection to be implemented in an exclusive, effective manner, and subsequently, able to reflect a neutral atmosphere, more transparency and impartiality in the handling of all complaints of inappropriate behaviour from whistleblowers,” Kulasegaran told Parliament during Question Time today.

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He was responding to DAP’s Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh who asked the government if it had plans to improve the Whistleblower Protection Act 2010, and to state what they would be.

Kulasegaran added that the proposed amendment of a centralised mechanism involves the establishment of a specialised central agency with special training and operating procedures for the protection of whistleblowers and will be able to resolve all matters related to Act 711.

“This is to ensure focus on a more orderly, systematic and clearer work procedures for both the centralised agency and enforcement agencies so as not to confuse the scope of duties between the two,” he added.

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Other proposed amendments include main amendments to Section 2, 3, 5, 6, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 26, while other areas of the Act will see general amendments.

“Proposed amendments and improvements to the Act began in May 2019 to collect input and conduct a policy study for the purpose of improving Act 711.

“Several working committee meetings, workshops, engagements and briefings were held with relevant government agencies throughout 2019 to 2023, to examine Act 711 as a whole, including obtaining opinions and advisory services from stakeholders, including civil society organisations, such as Transparency International and Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4).

“In addition to this, these engagement sessions have also assessed the readiness of the bodies that have been allocated authority for the implementation mechanism and the implications that may arise when the amendment is enforced,” he said.

Through the proposed amendments, Kulasegaran said the government is hopeful that the function of the authorities in receiving and investigating complaints will be clearer, and at the same time, ensure that the investigation will be independent or impartial.

In February 2023, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had said that the government was studying the provisions in relevant laws to enhance protection for whistleblowers who report corruption and misconduct cases.

He reportedly said it was his main focus as there were many potential whistleblowers including civil servants who may feel insecure and unsafe about reporting such cases due to pressure.