Siti Nafirah's suit against eight defendants following the teacher's claimed absence for 7 months has gone viral. Among the allegations are even the forgery of documents by the school principal. Of course, document forgery for protection against disciplinary action is a corruption offense.
However, for civil servants, reporting corruption offenses means fighting the Ministry—not just the silence. If we report high-level Ministry corruption, school administrators with “control” over our performance and reputation will begin intimidation tactics. We will go through a process of condemnation, emotional, and mental abuse. Soon, we are haunted with fear if we are laid off, bullied, accused of "Disobeying MOE policy" with criminal charges filed against us for "leaking" information. Even finding public servants like this is hard: daily, we meet few. Most others are already in the comfort zone in silence.
Why? The Whistleblower Protection Law is a joke for most civil servants. You do not need to be a genius to see how it's incredibly weak and incredibly ineffective: it was written in a way that protects the most serious corruption, inside and outside the Ministry of Education.
Case in point: "I was threatened, bullied, called a traitor, says MACC chief" ⤤ That was Datuk Seri Shukri Abdull. So where was the 2010 Whistleblower Protection Law?
For moral courage, the immediate risk is quite high. Incentives are not enough: what we need more is a strong legal protection and a fiercely independent enforcement agency. Without protection, we rely on ourselves to overcome the obstacles. Without protection, many ask us, is it worth our mortgage and life? So, they have a safer option to keep quiet while the government remains immune and fully legally protected. By tying us up with a fearful mentality, more and more public officers are daring to engage in corruption. This is how to control civil servants away from courage, transparency, and integrity. With just 0.01%, how many more civil servants want to fight for the guarantee of protection given to whistleblowers? With only 0.01% coming forward, this is also a narrative that corruption in the civil service is immune and immune from allegations and legal consequences.
"The culture of fear for speaking up must end.”