Umno’s “best health minister” from NZ quits over Covid-19 handling

Clark quit under a cloud. – The Guardian photo

By Chew Lip Song

NEW Zealand health minister David Clark, named by Umno’s social media as one of the world’s top three health ministers in handling Covid-19, has quit yesterday.

Clark’s departure came on the heels of security slip-ups at quarantine facilities where the coronavirus was detected just days after officials declared it had been eliminated from the country.

Earlier, Clark had also breached quarantine rules by taking his family on a beach trip and driving to a mountain biking track.

“It has become increasingly clear to me that my continuation in the role is distracting from the government’s overall response to Covid-19 and the global pandemic,” Clark said, in a Reuters report.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who had earlier refused calls to sack Clark, citing his critical role in the country’s response to the pandemic, said she agreed with his decision. New Zealand heads to the polls in September.

Last month, Umno’s Facebook named Clark alongside his Malaysian and Chinese counterparts, Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba and Ma Xiaowei respectively, as among the world’s best ministers in handling Covid-19.

The award posted on Umno’s official Facebook page

The “accolade” drew criticisms and was labelled as “self-serving” since Dr Adham is from Umno and had come under fire over multiple missteps earlier, including advising Malaysians to drink warm water to ward off the coronavirus – a tip the World Health Organisation has rubbished.

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