KOTA KINABALU: Health Minister Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad has promised that investigations are being carried out “judiciously” on the case of alleged sexual harassment and bullying of female housemen by an orthopaedics department head of a Klang Valley hospital.
“I have instituted the investigation, and we want to conduct the probe judiciously.
“You must trust that we will do it (carry out investigations) in all confidentiality in order to safeguard the aggrieved victims who dared to come forward to share critical information with us.
“You must understand that if you want to get all those involved to come forward, you must give them the comfort that everything will be done right,” he told reporters at a press conference in Hospital Queen Elizabeth here yesterday.
He added that it is in the best interest of the entire investigation for the ministry to withhold information pertaining to the suspect, so as to prevent a trial by media.
Dr Dzulkefly said it was pointless to point fingers and throw accusations at individuals, when top priority should be given to carrying out the investigations well.
“Not that I know of,” he said, when asked to confirm a report by an online portal claiming that the Health Department had issued a gag order to stop medical officers in the hospital to divulge information regarding the department head.
“Our focus is on the investigation, and we think we can do well without the media over-exposing (the issue),” Dr Dzulkefly said, while reiterating that the ministry does not intend to stifle the press, but instead, be given some space to investigate the case.
Former Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Mohd Ismail Merican said the issue of specialists bullying and allegedly involved in sexual harassment should have been nipped in the bud.
“I don’t think house officers should be bullied,” he said during the talk “Are we ready for healthcare reform?” here yesterday.
However, Dr Mohd Ismail also said that there are always two sides to a story, and that the authorities will have to find out the facts of the case.
“But when more people start to come out and say similar things, you have to sit up and take notice,” he said.
He said that no one should support specialists who bully housemen, throw things at them, abuse them or molest them.
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