Sun, Jan 05, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Legislator to propose whistle-blower bill

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff reporter

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Ting Shou-chung (丁守中) plans to propose a bill to protect whistleblowers in the public and private sectors in a bid to better serve the public’s interests.

“Whistle-blowers within government institutions and private businesses are an important source of information for exposing illegal conduct,” Ting told a news conference at the Legislative Yuan yesterday. “However, we’ve seen many cases in which these whistle-blowers who expose scandals are prosecuted or subjected to some other retribution. That’s why it’s important for us to have legislation to protect them.”

Under Ting’s proposal, an informant protection commission would be set up under the Ministry of Justice, likely within the ministry’s Agency Against Corruption (AAC), to receive reports from whistle-blowers.

The informant’s identity would be kept secret and the commission would forward information to relevant agencies for investigation.

Ting added that his proposal is designed not only to protect whistle-blowers’ anonymity, but also if their identity is leaked.

“For example, if a whistleblower in a company is fired, the law would authorize relevant government agencies to revoke that decision,” he said.

Representatives from the Financial Supervisory Commission, the Department of Commerce and the AAC expressed their support for the proposal.

“We fully support the idea of creating a law to protect informants, because they play an important role in exposing scandals to safeguard the public interest and help businesses run better,” FSC deputy director Huang Tien-mu (黃天牧) said.

While Agency Against Corruption director-general Chu Kun-mao (朱坤茂) supported the plan in principle, he contested the details, questioning whether the commission should be placed under the ministry’s authority.

“Should it [the commission] be under the ministry or the Executive Yuan? We should examine the pluses and minuses before making a decision,” Chu said, adding that if the commission is placed under the Executive Yuan, it may enjoy a higher administrative status, making it more able to undertake work.

Ting responded that it is difficult to say how the commission would work better before it begins operation.

“We can always make changes after it starts,” he said.

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