Improve protection for whistle-blowers

To encourage more people to blow the whistle on corruption, the law must do more to protect them (Singapore must stay corruption-free to succeed: PM Lee; ST Online, June 6).

In 2014, a man who blew the whistle on a crime ended up being harassed after the court case was over because his name, identity card number and address were allegedly included in an open-court document used in the case.

Cases like this make people hesitate to report and appear as witnesses in court.

Warnings that people who give false and misleading information will be jailed and/or fined also discourage whistle-blowing.

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It is the duty of the court and Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau to protect whistle-blowers.

Perhaps the court could consider allowing informants to testify anonymously via video.

The process of investigating corruption is not a short one.

During the process, a dedicated whistle-blower protection law should apply to both public and private sector whistle-blowers.

Having strong legislation instead of ad-hoc protection will encourage more reporting.

Whistle-blowers can also be rewarded for the risks they take, once a conviction takes place.

After all, they put their jobs and reputation at stake to blow the whistle.

The fear of financial consequences for themselves and their families can lead to a culture of silence and a continuation of immoral corporate behaviour. Financial incentives can remove this fear.

No country is immune to corruption, but an inclusive and highly transparent culture in public and private institutions makes it easier to hold politicians or companies responsible for irregularities.

Francis Cheng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 08, 2017, with the headline 'Improve protection for whistle-blowers'. Print Edition | Subscribe