PETALING JAYA: The Health and Sciences Covid-19 Advisory Group of Experts said there is no need for it to take over pandemic response from the Health Ministry, which has been "at the centre of the struggle".
In a statement on Monday (May 17), the group of medical experts said they have been meeting regularly with the ministry to provide support in managing the pandemic.
They also stated that the focus should remain on saving lives and livelihoods.
The statement was signed by group chairman Tan Sri Dr Abu Bakar Suleiman, Prof Dr Rosmawati Mohamed (Academy of Medicine of Malaysia), Dr Mary Cardosa (Malaysian Medical Association), Datuk Dr Fadzilah Kamaludin (Malaysian Public Health Physicians’ Association), Datuk Dr Kuljit Singh (Association of Private Hospitals of Malaysia) and Datuk Dr Christopher Lee (Malaysian Society of Infection Control and Infectious Diseases).
"We disagree with recent comments stating that we should 'take over' pandemic response leadership at the Health Ministry.
"The ministry has been at the centre of the struggle during this extremely challenging period.
"The group serves to complement the ministry's pandemic strategy, setting and supporting public health best practices that will allow Malaysia to exit the pandemic as quickly as possible," it said.
Besides the six members, the grop is supported by a network of technical working groups composed of medical, healthcare and industry experts who are consulted on an ad hoc basis.
"There are seven working groups, namely public-private partnership (hospital-based care); public-private partnership (primary care providers); public health (Find, Test, Trace, Isolate and Support System); data and technology; vaccines; strategic communications; and Covid-19 frontliners and healthcare worker welfare.
"With this network, we hope to inspire a true, coordinated whole-of-society effort for beating Covid-19. As the pandemic continues to rage on at an alarming rate, we must stay focused on the shared goal of saving lives and livelihoods," the group said.
Recently, there have been calls from certain quarters for the group to take over from the Health Ministry in view of the increasing Covid-19 cases in the country.
The group was set up in February by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to rope in experts from various fields, including the private medical sector, to advise the Health Ministry in managing the pandemic.