More controversial articles removed from MyHealth portal

PETALING JAYA: The Health Ministry has taken down a few more controversial articles from its MyHealth portal, a day after they deleted an old article about sexual harassment.

This came after readers said that a few articles about sexual identification and orientation that were published on its website between 2012 and 2013 were "misguided".

Checks on the website on Wednesday (April 14) showed that the articles had been taken down.

MyHealth is the Ministry's online platform aimed at educating the public on a wide variety of health issues.

In one of the articles, a writer who is an academic and registered psychiatrist said women tend to become lesbians if they "prioritised their careers".

The writer had attempted to explain "Why does one become a lesbian" by putting forward that it was because women who chose careers over other priorities celebrated their independence and rejected archaic roles, believing that only women can understand women.

It also suggested that being educated in an all-female environment could force women to create romantic scenarios among themselves.

The writer also opined that frequent supervision and social encounters among a group of women could also make them form dependence and love for each other.

In another deleted article, the same writer used the word “pondan” – a term used to denigrate transgender or effeminate males – in a piece under the heading "How men can turn gay", saying it was because they were raised in a society that "does not educate them about their sexual identity".

However, in another article published in 2012, the use of the word pondan was discouraged and pointed out that homosexuality was not a mental health disease and homosexuals should be given equal treatment.

But the same article also sent a message to the LGBTQ community to be prepared to be less accepted by society if they identified by their sexual orientation.

The article was believed to be authored by two paediatricians.

The Health Ministry has said that it is reviewing past articles on the MyHealth portal to ensure that the information provided is evidence-based and in line with current health issues.

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the old articles were based on the authors' personal opinion and understanding of the subject as well as references that were available at the time.

On Monday (April 12), former deputy women, family and community development minister Hannah Yeoh and a few others criticised an old article containing misguided advice on how to avoid being sexually harassed at the workplace, saying it was "absolutely wrong".

Among the advice provided in the article was for women to avoid working overtime and also contained outdated notions of the causes of sexual harassment which are listed as physical attractiveness, unsuitable clothing style, unrestricted social interactions, a person's power and status and culture.

The article was taken down the next day.

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