MoH : Silencing or public safety?

As we Malaysians are going through the pandemic, things are starting to look hopeful. With the vaccines that are available, we would have thought that it’s only a matter of time until the vaccination reaches us. 

However with the past few days, news of the Kelantan state secretary office (SUK) who are allegedly jumping the queue to receive the Covid-19 vaccination started coming up.

Whistle-blower, Dr Rafidah Abdullah of Selayang Hospital who received messages regarding the queue jumping. Which could potentially result in doctors, nurses and healthcare frontlines needing to wait their turn for the vaccination.

As of now, the Covid-19 immunisation programme is in its Phase 1. Where priority is given to healthcare frontlines. Followed by essential services, defence and security frontlines. With the queue jumping claims, Science, Technology & Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin has made it his task to investigate the matter. 

Employer against unauthorised statements

moh moh

In a sudden turn of events of whistleblowing, the Ministry of Health (MoH) has warned their employees from making unofficial statements or complaints to the public. The statement is against its employees from making comments on how the government runs the healthcare system or consequences are in place.

In the online released statement, the MoH highlighted its employees of their work and social media ethics. About the allegations that its employees going public with information regarding the National Immunization Program (NIP) procedures. 

As that is quite alarming since the MoH action could be silencing the whistle-blowers. However, when the coin is flipped, this can be seen as an action to keep and maintain the public peace. Since the MoH also did explain. 

In which the unverified statements could potentially cause public panic and also ruin the credibility of the civil service and the government.

Instead, the MoH is recommending that their employees don’t take the matter to social media but to go through the formal channels. On one side, the statement by the MoH can be seen as suppressing the public’s voice. While on another, the MoH can be seen to keep things in check to ensure that the public doesn’t go to panic. 

It’s also important to note that Malaysia has its Whistle-blower Protection Act 2010 (Act 711). Which only provides protection and certain exceptions to people who whistle blow through official enforcement agencies.

Apart from that, Malaysians are also restrained from exposing classified or sensitive information according to rules in the Penal Code (Act 574) and the Official Secrets Act 1972 (Act 88).