Saturday, January 22

‘Only suitable person as Health Minister’


KUCHING: An independent organisation has called for a suitable MP to assume the portfolio of Health Minister following the recent change of premiership in the country.

The Galen Centre for Health and Social Policy urged the eighth Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to “prioritise the identification and appointment of a suitable MP to assume the position of Health Minister”.

“The new government must place the response and management of the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak as a matter of the highest priority to protect the health and safety of all Malaysians,” said Galen chief executive Azrul Mohd Khalib in a statement yesterday.

According to Azrul, the appointment of the Health Minister will fill a critical gap in the leadership of the country’s public health system, particularly of the Covid-19 multi-ministerial taskforce.

“She or he will need to ensure that our critical frontline healthcare professionals and supporting services continue to be provided with adequate logistical, manpower and funding.

“This will ensure that Malaysia’s health services are able to maintain its efforts to contain the disease and treat those infected,” he pointed out.

Azrul added: “Due to the untiring efforts of women and men of the Ministry of Health and previous investments in infectious disease prevention, Malaysia’s response has been exemplary thus far and ahead of many countries.”

However, he said the World Health Organisation (WHO) had recently increased its Covid-19 risk assessment to the highest level of alert or highest level of risk assessment in terms of spread and impact.

Because of this, he said: “We appear to be on the precipice of a pandemic, if we’re not already in one.”

“We have seen the role of Health Minister become more essential than ever before to communicate developments and progress to the Malaysian public,” he added.