RELIABLE SCREENING: There's nothing a polygraph machine can't detect
KUALA LUMPUR: THOSE assuming critical posts, be it in the public or private sector, should be made to sit a lie detector test.
Malaysian Institute of Integrity president Datuk Dr Mohd Tap Salleh said this should also apply to those handling national secrets and interests and those involved in national security matters.
"Officers privy to national secrets could be made to sit the test to reduce the risk of security being compromised, corruption and information leaks," he told the New Straits Times.
Tap, however, said the test results should be kept confidential. Results should be privy to only those assessing the individuals' ap pointment.
Tap added that the line of questioning should not cause them to be unfairly assessed or be used against them.
Expert criminologist Datuk Akhbar Satar said a polygraph test should be made a prerequisite for such posts so that potential employers could assess the candidates to see if they were fit to deal with huge sums of money, national secrets or matters on national security.
Polygraph Science Academy Malaysia director Datuk Akhbar Satar says a lie detector test can act as a preventive measure. Pic by Rosela Ismail
The former Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) director, now Polygraph Science Academy Malaysia director, said polygraph tests in some countries, including the United States, were compulsory for their police force. He said Malaysia could take a leaf from their experience.
"I think Malaysia should follow suit. Those holding highly sensitive positions in the army, the foreign ministry or anyone in law enforcement should go through it," said Akhbar, who is a certified polygraph examiner. His services have been sought by companies embroiled in cases of embezzlement, fraud and theft.
Sources said several agencies in the civil service had used the polygraph test get a better understanding of their employees and in pursuit of cases.
This included MACC, when it made Terengganu goalkeeper Mohd Sharbinee Allawee Ramli, who was under investigation recently, sit through the test.
"The questions can cause the individual to sweat, but this is not about judging his past and 'giving him the death sentence'. It is more of an integrity test.
"Some have even been asked if they had ever smoked weed, stolen anything, had affairs or premarital sex. The key is, just be truthful.
"Don't be surprised, even those who've admitted to being former drug addicts have been accepted into the (civil) service. After all, you need more than a straight arrow to go after bad hats," a source said.
Polygraph tests have been proven to be 98 per cent accurate.
It works by monitoring the heart rate, respiratory patterns and rate of perspiration.
During a demonstration of the procedure, the polygraph clearly showed the changes in these three parameters each time the test subject told a lie.
Akhbar added that a lie detector test could act as a preventive measure.
He said while the result of a lie detector test was not admissible in court, it should be given consideration for its accuracy.
"As far as I know, these tests are impossible to beat. Those who have gone through it will think twice before telling a lie or doing something illegal. Companies can save money in the long run."
Akhbar said the polygraph was the most reliable form of screening.
"For example, if someone was told to give a urine sample, he or she could use someone else's urine and claim it as his or her own.
"On the other hand, you have to be physically present to sit through a polygraph test. There's no hiding from it."
HANA NAZ HARUN AND AWAINA ARBEE | email@example.com New Straits Times Online General 15 November 2012