Whistleblowing has been the flavour of corporate governance for some months now.
In the last few hours, it has been alleged that a Singapore military officer of Second Lieutenant rank sent out an e-mail to a whole bunch of individuals whistleblowing about certain things one of his more senior officers had done.
There has been no official verification about this by the Ministry of Defence in Singapore. It has also not been reported by any media yet.
But if this is true, three thoughts immediately come to mind:
a. The Second Lieutenant deserves every protection he can receive as a whistleblower. He should not be punished but he should be commended for what he has done, even if one may not necessarily agree with the manner in which the issue was reported.
b. But maybe the manner in which the issue was reported can be attributed to the circumstances the officer found himself in. For example, could it be that the issue was reported and no one acted on or looked into the issue, and the Second Lieutenant acted after he was frustrated by inaction?
c. Perhaps, it also highlights the lack of a whistleblower mechanism within the public service, which is why the e-mail ended up being sent to so many people and eventually its contents are now being disclosed and discussed in the public sphere.
I will reserve further comment on this issue until more information is known. And if this issue is untrue, I ask the reader to treat this as purely a work of fiction.
I will however add that a whistleblower mechanism can and should be put in place most organisations, especially large ones and where public money is involved.
Such a mechanism will enable individuals of these organisations to better report practices, which appear questionable. The mechanism should also provide enough space for an independent investigation of the practice.
The investigation should be carried out by a person with a reporting line to the highest-ranking person in the organisation, such as the Chief Legal Officer or General Counsel.
Please consider the environment - do you really need to print this?