Health Ministry has no info on claims of sexual harassment cover-up

Health Minister Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said the independent investigation body set up to probe the issue of sexual harassment would look into victims’ claims of a cover-up at the first meeting expected to take place next week. — Picture by Zuraneeza Zulkifli
Health Minister Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said the independent investigation body set up to probe the issue of sexual harassment would look into victims’ claims of a cover-up at the first meeting expected to take place next week. — Picture by Zuraneeza Zulkifli

GEORGE TOWN, Aug 5 — The Health Ministry denies having any information on claims of a possible cover-up over allegations of sexual harassment made by trainee doctors involving a department head at a hospital in the Klang Valley.

Health Minister Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said the independent investigation body set up to probe the issue of sexual harassment would look into victims’ claims of a cover-up at the first meeting expected to take place next week.

“I do not know and there is no information on the matter (claims that certain quarters are covering up trainee doctors’ reports on sexual harassment) but I would like to inform that we at the ministry are committed and will work together with the independent investigation body to get to the bottom of the issue.

“The independent investigation body comprising representatives from the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development and related agencies will carry out the investigation in detail and they are expected to hold the first meeting next week,” he told reporters after a visit and briefing on the progress of the operation theatre project at the Penang Hospital here today.

Women, Family and Community Development Deputy Minister Hannah Yeoh had earlier reportedly said complaints were lodged against the department head but no action was taken.

It was reported recently that a senior orthopaedics doctor had sexually harassed several trainee doctors.

In the meantime, Dzulkefly acknowledged that Malays were the most infected with HIV last year, as reported by a newspaper today and was aware of an increase in the number of cases.

He said the ministry would make an announcement soon on measures to be taken by the government to address the spread of the virus associated with unnatural sex.

A weekly Malay paper in an exclusive report today reported that a majority of Malays were infected with HIV last year with the number reaching 1,800 cases compared to 725 Chinese and 240 Indians. The report also mentioned, the amount represents 54 per cent of the overall 3,347 infected by the disease.

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry is forced to incur an additional cost of RM1.77 million due to the delay in the upgrading project of the operating theatres at Penang Hospital.

Dzulkefly said the additional cost was to cover surgery expenses including paying staff overtime for performing surgeries on Saturdays to reduce congestion of patients waiting to undergo surgery.

The upgrading project began in Feb 2016 and should have been completed by February this year but the RM15 million project had to be extended until December following the delay by contractors and consultants, he told reporters after a briefing on the progress of the upgrading project here today. — Bernama

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