G25: Declassify Probe On Fatal Sultanah Aminah Hospital Fire

G25 wants all inquiries to submit their reports to Parliament for debate in select committees.

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 29 — G25 expressed concern that the government still has yet to publish the findings of an investigation into the 2016 deadly fire at Sultanah Aminah Hospital in Johor.

The group of retired high-ranking civil servants said in a statement that inquiries initiated by the government or Parliament should be made public and debated in Parliament.

“G25 and the public are concerned that the reports of the two royal commissions of inquiry, one into the Sultanah Aminah Hospital fire in Johor Baru and the other, on the inflow of foreign workers, have not been released to the public,” G25 said in a statement yesterday.

“This obsession with secrecy goes against the reform agenda of the new government to be transparent and open with the people on matters of public policy. To avoid such secrecy being repeated in the future, we propose that all commissions of inquiry must submit their reports to Parliament and that the reports will then be tabled for scrutiny and debate in the relevant select committee.

“Like in other parliamentary systems, the committee members should not just talk but also initiate the legislative action which they can submit for the government to consider as a solution to the problem.”

A seven-member independent committee headed by retired Court of Appeal judge Hishamudin Yunus, who is currently a member of the Judicial Appointments Commission, handed their 230-page report on the Sultanah Aminah Hospital fire to the Ministry of Health (MOH) in June 2018.

The committee was appointed by then-Health Minister Dr S. Subramaniam to investigate the fire at the MOH hospital that broke out on October 25, 2016, in the intensive care unit on the second floor of the facility, killing six patients.

G25 previously said last month that the committee had found serious weaknesses on budgetary allocations and operating procedures related to safety measures and administrative responsibility, besides breaches of various laws.

In a column on CodeBlue, Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) member Dr Milton Lum also called for the public disclosure of the independent investigation into the Sultanah Aminah Hospital fire, saying that this involved patient safety.

“There are advantages to public disclosure of the independent committee into the HSA fire. It would facilitate closure by the families of those who perished or were injured after three years wondering what really happened. They are owed nothing less.

“More importantly, other health care facilities, whether hospitals or clinics in the public and private sectors, would learn from it and institute change to improve fire safety. Some of the changes require finances but many require organisational and attitudinal changes, which cost only time and effort,” Dr Lum said.

Bernama reported Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad as saying last November that he had no power to disclose the findings of the investigation, as it must first be tabled to the Cabinet.

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