KOTA KINABALU: The transfer of former Sabah health director Datuk Dr Christina Rundi to the Health Ministry was part of a civil service promotion exercise, says state Covid-19 spokesman Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun.
Dr Rundi was among several senior officers identified to fill vacancies in the ministry and as such was transferred to its headquarters, he added.
Putrajaya-based senior health officer Dr Rose Nani Mudin replaced Dr Rundi on July 13. The change was seen as a sudden move in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic and also criticised by some members of the medical fraternity.
In a statement on Monday (July 26), Masidi said the circumstances of Dr Rundi's transfer had nothing to do with the recent controversy when the state allowed dine-ins without Federal-level approval.
"The transfer has nothing to do with the 'dine-in' decision made by the Sabah Covid-19 management committee chaired by the State Secretary (Datuk Safar Untong)," he added.
Masidi, who is also state Local Government and Housing Minister, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor had appealed against Dr Rundi's transfer.
"I personally called Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah to appeal.
"He informed me that the decision was made at a high level of the civil service and involved movements of senior officers," Masidi said.
As a Federal civil servant, he added, Dr Rundi was subject to being transferred.
He said the state government was grateful for Dr Rundi's contributions during her tenure and added that Dr Rose Nani, a Sabahan of Kadazan and Kadayan descent from Papar, was a capable, qualified and experienced officer.
The 58-year-old Dr Rundi, who has remained silent since the transfer, is believed to have opted for early retirement instead of taking up her new position.