PUTRAJAYA: Newly-minted Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa will consider all viewpoints, even from her predecessors Khairy Jamaluddin and Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad.
“I am very open to any help in terms of their views and proposals on matters which they had previously done and policies which they had come out with.
“But as usual, as with any newly-appointed minister, I will get a briefing from my ministry to see which are the policies that we can utilise, improve on or even reject,” she told reporters after clocking in at 8.30am for her first day of work at the Health Ministry in Putrajaya yesterday.
Dr Zaliha, who is also Sekijang MP, said she is fully aware of the importance of her ministry in the eyes of the general public.
“At the end of the day, what we want is the best for the people.
“I am aware that this ministry gets the attention of the public because health is a basic need,” said Dr Zaliha.
She said that her previous experience as political secretary to former Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail would help her in her ministerial work.
In a tweet on Saturday, Dr Dzulkefly, who is also the Kuala Selangor MP, said Khairy had contacted him via WhatsApp to express his disappointment that he (Dr Dzulkefly) was overlooked for the post.
“No qualms not in Cabinet, so long l could help get Health Reform done,” he wrote in his post.
Tagging Khairy in his tweet, Dr Dzulkefly said Khairy had messaged him to say he had wanted Dr Dzulkefly back as the health minister.
Dr Dzulkefly said he replied that he was a perpetual optimist.
Khairy then stated his intention of working together with Dr Dzulkefly to help guide the new minister.
“I said, yes!” Dr Dzulkefly said in response.
Asked on how she felt about being the nation’s first woman health minister, Dr Zaliha said that she was glad and excited at being given the opportunity to serve, particularly on giving due attention to women and children’s issues.
“These are the challenges that I’d face but that is exciting to me, on the matters which are women and children-related.
“I have already started getting calls from women doctors telling me their concerns,” she quipped.
She added that she will also work closely with NGOs to get feedback.