Unfair criticisms levelled against Health Minister, Health DG

  • Letters
  • Monday, 10 Jan 2022

THE Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) acknowledges the fact that there have been times during the management of the pandemic where our country could have done better and MMA had indeed called out the government before on the way it managed the pandemic.

However, the association disagrees with Bintulu MP Tiong King Sing’s views questioning the Health Ministry's credentials in managing the pandemic as reported in the media recently.

A Health director-general does not necessarily have to be a public health expert to be able to formulate policies to manage the pandemic effectively. We believe Tan Sri Dr. Noor Hisham Abdullah regularly consults a team of public health experts within his ministry and would also likely be engaging with international experts on managing the pandemic, given his role as the Health DG of Malaysia.

The same can be said about our Health Minister who is advised by experts before decisions on policies are made. I must say that for a non-medical Health Minister, we think he is performing exceptionally well.

In fact, both the Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin and Health DG Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah have been instrumental in bringing the pandemic under control in the country. It wasn’t easy as we were initially faced with many challenges in our healthcare system especially last year when the system was overwhelmed. But thanks to a successful National Vaccination Programme, we are seeing less severe cases of Covid-19 and the number of cases are now manageable.

It should be noted that even some developed countries have struggled with managing the pandemic. Some of these countries are still struggling with issues such as a low compliance to public health measures and low vaccination rates.

The situation in China is very different. They may be able to afford lockdowns but we simply can’t. Not anymore as it will be too damaging to our economy. We agree with the Health Ministry’s approach, which is mitigation. The way forward is to learn to live with the virus with full vaccination, boosters and strict SOPs until the threat of Covid-19 no longer exists.

DR KOH KAR CHAI , President Malaysian Medical Association

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