Malaysian government introduces witness protection bill

December 16th, 2008 - 5:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Kuala Lumpur, Dec 16 (DPA) Malaysia’s law minister Tuesday introduced a witness protection programme in Parliament as part of efforts to protect whistle-blowers in corruption and criminal cases.Nazri Abdul Aziz presented the proposed legislation, which would provide accommodation and a new identity to those accepted as witnesses.

Under the bill, the attorney general would approve applications by whistle-blowers who have to meet an exhaustive list of criteria, including passing physical and mental examinations.

Nazri also said that informers would be allowed to give evidence from the dock with their faces covered while children could testify from a separate room.

The legislation was introduced a week after two other pro-reform bills were tabled in parliament - an anti-corruption bill and another to set up a committee to select senior judges.

Observers have hailed the efforts as the long-awaited push by Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi toward clamping down on rampant corruption in the judiciary and the government.

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