From 1980s, there are growth of voluntary activities in some of companies and brought changes in the public perception on corporate behavior. Realizing the bad publicity that could damage corporate brand image, code of conduct introduced. However, there are still unscrupulous activities and cases involving corporation. Subsequently, whistleblowing is take place to regulate corporation if code of conduct fails to do so. Whistle blowing can be interpreted as disclosures made on illegal, immoral or illegitimate miscounduct or practices.
Whistleblowers are the one who reveal wrongdoings within an organization to the public or to those who hold positions of authority. Whistleblowing would exposing wrongdoings of the corporation and protects those who are in the corporation. Indirectly, it encourages and promotes accountability and transparency that lead to achieve good corporate governance. Whistleblowing effectively could detect fraud and wrongdoings activities in corporation. When whistleblowing, employee has reasonably belief and the belief no need to be accurate as in Darnton v. University of Survey’s case.
It also plays important role in maintaining the corporation well being as in Enron’s case shows that warning and explosion of Enron’s corporate practices and accounting scandal from whistleblower could help corporation to not collapse and be in business. However, whistleblower would faced a serious risk including losing their job and career like Otto Otopeka’s case, ostracized by their peers, or receive threats. They might fear to blow the whistle due to fear of repercussions and violations that might happen, thus they need security and protection.
Many advanced countries like USA, United Kingdom as well as Malaysia have provided a comprehensive legislation on whistleblower protection. For instance, PIDA 1998, SOX 2022 and the Security Industry (Amendment)Act 2003 which now replaced by CMSA 2007. The Acts attempts to encourage and protect whistleblowers in a variety of ways, including providing for anonymous whistleblowing, establishing criminal parties for retaliation against whisleblowers and clearly defining whistleblowing channels. PIDA 1998 protects workers under contract of employment.
If the worker is resigned voluntarily by himself after whistleblowing as in Aspinall v. MSI Mech Forge’s case, he cannot claim under PIDA as there was no dismissal by corporation. In Malaysia, Companies (Amendment) Act 2007 provides protection to an auditor to report on any matter which may adversely affect to a material extend the position of the company. Companies Act 1965 also encourages whistle blowing type of reporting and protect the whistleblower including no officer of a company shall be liable to be sued, on disciplinary action for any whistleblowing, but according s. 9(f) only seniors officers or those in high position are able to make protected disclosure.
There are some cases where whistleblowing has been blatantly ignored like Madoff case. The reason for this difficulty might lie because he was neither an employee nor investor of the company. After years trying to convince the US securities, they would only give them due acknowledgement and recognition only when it is too late. Thus, public apathy must be completely eliminated to ensure that whistleblowers are given respect and justice as they completely deserve.