According to Eric Paulsen, co-founder and adviser to Lawyers for Liberty, a human rights and law reform organisation:
"The Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) is rendered virtually ineffective and meaningless by at least three highly questionable provisions that are incompatible with the purpose of enacting such a law in the first place (i.e. to combat corruption and wrongdoings by facilitating disclosures and to protect whistleblowers) and the standard provisions in other countries with proper whistleblower protection framework.
First, according to the proviso in Section 6 (1) of the WPA, the disclosure will not fall under its protection if the disclosure is prohibited by any written law...the Officials Secrets Act that confers absolute discretion to the relevant authorities to classify any official document as “official secret” that cannot be questioned in court even though it may not be a secret or security risk and its exposure is in the public interest.
Second, Section 11 (1) (d) of the WPA states that the whistleblower protection conferred can be revoked if the “disclosure of improper conduct principally involves questioning the merits of government policy, including policy of a public body” – surely a preposterous and an “unclear of the concept” provision, as in most cases of serious or systemic wrongdoings of public bodies, this will involve questioning the merits of government and public body policy.
Third, Section 8 of the WPA further criminalises the whistleblower if he were to divulge the wrongdoing to another party (including to the press or members of Parliament) once he has invoked the “protection” of the Act – an offence punishable with a fine up to RM50,000 and/or imprisonment up to ten years.
Applying these oppressive provisions to Rafizi and Johari, do we for a moment think that the NFC scandal would have been exposed leading its chairman Mohd Salleh Ismail, husband of Shahrizat Jalil, former Minister of Women, Family and Community Development to be charged for criminal breach of trust?
If both of them had gone to the MACC and invoke the WPA procedure, do we really think the MACC and A-G’s Chambers would all of a sudden become independent and competent and swoop down on the NFC? Would the culture of secrecy, lack of transparency and accountability, let’s protect the rich, powerful and well-connected suddenly disappear?
Absolutely not. ..."
The above is a summary of salient points from the following article in Malaysia Today: