By M. Mageswari | The Star
A former chief executive officer has won his lawsuit against his former employer in a whistleblower case.
Dr Syed Omar Syed Agil, 56, had sought protection as a whistleblower for allegedly exposing the financial improprieties of his colleagues at Institut Profesional Baitulmal Sdn Bhd (IPB).
He succeeded in his bid to get the High Court to order his former employer to cancel a notice of internal investigation dated Oct 6, 2015 against him for alleged misconduct.
Yesterday, High Court judge Justice John Louis O’Hara ruled that IPB failed to prove that the detrimental action taken against the plaintiff was not in reprisal for his (Dr Syed Omar) disclosure to the anti-graft body and the police.
He cited sections 10(1), (3) and (7) of the Whistleblower Protection Act, which showed that the defendant should prove that the action against the plaintiff was not in reprisal for his action.
Dr Syed Omar, however, has withdrawn his bid to get a court order to direct IPB to restore him to his position as its CEO and permit him to return to his duties.
Justice O’Hara ordered the company, named as the sole defendant, to pay RM18,750 in costs to the plaintiff.
Dr Syed Omar was appointed CEO of the IPB on Sept 1, 2014 but he was suspended on Oct 7, 2015. His contract ended August last year.
His lawyer Aston Paiva said yesterday that this was the first such case to seek relief under the Act through a court process.
In an immediate response, Dr Syed Omar described this as a victory for a whistleblower.
“Now I think nobody should be afraid to come out and expose any wrongdoing or malpractice or financial irregularity.”
In his originating summons filed in December 2015, Dr Syed Omar sought an injunction to restrain the company, which runs the private college and which is 70% owned by the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Council, from continuing an internal probe against him and suspending him for being a whistleblower.
In his court papers, Dr Syed Omar, who is a now an education-based foundation CEO, said he had acted as a whistleblower in his 2015 disclosure to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and police of alleged improper conduct, and hence, should be given protection under the Act.
The Kuala Lumpur High Court’s grounds of judgment can be accessed here.