Political post on Health Ministry website draws negative reactions

 By John Isaac

A NOW-deleted political Facebook post on the Health Ministry’s official page has caused a storm, with many saying the ministry should remain neutral and apolitical.

The posting, which was briefly accessible last night, had shared an excerpt from the “Friends of Dr Adham Baba” page, which sought to portray the health minister as a man of action.

“The Perikatan Nasional health minister wasn’t busy talking. Early in his first day in office, he immediately blocked tourists from Iran, Italy, and (South) Korea.

“He continued to ensure good ties with China with the Foreign Ministry to help with the supply of equipment in Malaysia.

“Can you see the difference?” the posting read.

The original posting on the “Friends of Dr Adham Baba” page goes on to attack the previous Pakatan Harapan government as being ineffective at dealing with the Covid-19 crisis.

According to reports in Malaysiakini, the post on the Health Ministry’s page was taken down shortly after it was made after it elicited strong negative reactions to the politicking.

Health Ministry communications staffers told the media via WhatsApp that this was a technical error due to a “mistaken login”.

However, a WhatsApp chat screenshot has gone viral on social media alleging that the posting was made on the orders of a senior aide to Adham.

The Health Ministry has not responded to queries regarding this.

In a Facebook post this morning, former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak said the government should not emulate Harapan.

“Don’t use official government channels including Facebook pages to troll or play with propaganda,” he said without making reference to any specific post.

Syahredzan Johan, the political secretary to DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang, meanwhile, said that the Health Ministry should not engage in politicking.

“The Health Ministry page should not share posts which are clearly political.

“But the question is how did this happen? Is it because there is a politician who is now a page admin? Is there political interference in the ministry’s corporate communications?” he asked.

Adham had previously been critically panned for suggesting that Covid-19 infections can be prevented by drinking warm water.

Similar advice had already been debunked by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah distanced the ministry from the advice, saying the ministry relied on, and used, evidence-based treatments only.