Civil service whistleblowers need clear guidelines, says Cuepacs


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Civil servants have been passed over for promotion or have been transferred after reporting wrongdoings, say Cuepacs

PETALING JAYA: Cuepacs has called for civil servants to be given clear reporting guidelines to follow when their superiors break the law.

Cuepacs president Adnan Mat said clear guidelines would help protect civil servants as they fear retribution should they be found out by their superiors as having lodged reports.

“There are cases where civil servants were not promoted, or were transferred, or had their work schedules disrupted after reporting wrongdoings in government agencies,” he told FMT.

“This has caused many civil servants to be afraid of reporting any wrongdoings, especially those committed by ministers, as they fear hurting their career.”

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Adnan Mat

He said there should be guarantees on concealing the identities of those who file reports. The investigation periods, types of complaints, and the level of transparency in the investigation should also be stated clearly.

Without these guarantees, civil servants would not respond positively to prime minister Anwar Ibrahim’s call that they should speak up on any action by the government that violates the law, Adnan said.

He also said that the guidelines should emphasise the reports’ authenticity as well.

“Cuepacs does not want false reports to be filed, which would hurt the credibility of the civil servant involved, and the minister.”

‘Bottom-up system’ needed

A doctor at a public hospital said there should be direct lines of communication between complainants and the ministry so they can keep abreast of the progress of their complaints.

The doctor, who asked to remain anonymous, said the ministry should also investigate these complaints thoroughly and seriously while protecting the complainant’s identity.

He also called for a “bottom-up evaluation system” that allows low-ranking civil servants to evaluate and point out any wrongdoings allegedly committed by their superiors.

“If the superiors mess things up, commit dishonest acts, or bully their subordinates, the staff should have the means or the power to evaluate their bosses,” he told FMT.

He said current evaluation systems in the health ministry are very much top-down, which prevented low-ranking civil servants from evaluating their superiors’ performance or ethical conduct.

He said healthcare workers who blow the whistle or speak up against their superiors could face backlash such as having their leave applications denied or receiving poor marks in their evaluation papers, which would affect their careers.

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