(File pix) Former Chief Justice Tun Zaki Azmi speaking at Auditorium Intan, Bukit Kiara today. Pix by Aziah Azmee

KUALA LUMPUR: The time has come for government departments and bodies to set up a whistleblower policy similar to their private sector counterparts.

Former Chief Justice Tun Zaki Azmi said the government could learn from the private sector, which practiced corporate governance.

He noted that in companies, special telephone numbers and emails were provided for employees to reveal information on corporate wrongdoings while safeguarding their identities at the same time.

Zaki stressed that it was important for such a policy to be in place in the public sector to ensure action was taken against whistleblowers for revealing wrongdoings.

“The Chief Secretary (Datuk Seri Ismail Bakar) must make such a policy. The Public Service Department has no whistleblowing policy.

“Such a policy would lay out how we can lodge a (whistleblowing) report and the protection accorded to the whistleblower.

“The time has come. If we expect private companies to have them (whistleblowing policy), why can’t the government have (a similar policy). It is not difficult.

“It is the duty and responsibility of a civil servant to report wrongdoing to the proper authorities.

“Whistleblowing does not just mean revealing (wrongdoing) in the media. It also refers to informing higher authorities,” he said.

He was speaking when met after a seminar on Government Insight Series 2018 titled ‘Separation of Power: Where is the Neutral Line for Public Servants?’ here today.

Zaki said that a whistleblowing policy in the public sector must also ensure action could be meted out against those providing false information.

“After investigations, if the information given by him (purported whistleblower) turns out to be untrue, then action should be taken against the complainant

Zaki said civil servants must abide by the government’s policies.

“Now, we have a new boss (Pakatan Harapan). We need to follow the new boss’ policy.

“There must be change in mindset. If one wants to be a politician, then do not become a civil servant.

“If one wants to be a civil servant but supports a (political) party, that is not right,” he said.

Zaki reminded civil servants that their duty was to the government of the day, regardless of which political party was in power. -- Reporting by Hidir Reduan, Siti Nur Mas Erah Amran and Siti Nurzawani Miscon