Whistleblowers Act awareness level still low, says expert

Headline: Whistleblowers Act awareness level still low, says expert
Publication: NST
Date of publication: Jul 2, 2011
Section heading: Business Times
Page number: 002
Byline / Author: By June Ramlee

KUALA LUMPUR: There is hardly any information given out by companies on how or what their employees should do when they want to report fraud.

This is because many companies are still clueless on how their employees should act on a fraud case despite the existence of the Whistleblower Protection Act 2010 which was enforced last December.

"When the Act was introduced, very little was done by company heads in issuing circulars explaining to their staff what the Act was all about and how each companies would go about implementing it," said P. Kanason, an internal audit consultant/ trainer and certified fraud examiner.

He was speaking at a seminar entitled "Occupational Fraud in the Corporate Sector" held at the Malaysian Institute of Integrity here yesterday.

He said this when asked by an attendee of the seminar on what companies should do to encourage more whistleblowers as the awareness was still low.

A whistleblower is a person who raises a concern about alleged wrongdoing in an organisation or a group of people and usually this person would be from that same organisation.

Kanason said companies should take it upon themselves to start providing proper guidelines on how to report fraudulent crimes within their companies to reduce losses and increase productivity.

Low awarenes on the Act, Kanason said, was one of the reason poison-pen letters were still popular among disgruntled staff who were not sure how and where to report fraud.

Kanason, who is also a former assistant auditor-general, said swift action should be taken to mitigate this problem.

The half-day seminar was organised by the Malaysian Institute of Integrity and the Malaysian Employees Federation.

Panelists included PricewaterhouseCoopers Advisory Services Sdn Bhd partner Lim San Peen and its executive director Chong Shao Yen, KPMG Corporate Services Sdn Bhd executive director (advisory risk and compliance) Sukdev Singh and Ernst and Young Advisory Services Sdn Bhd director (advisory services) Devanesan Evanson.