KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 31 — Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad has been rated the fourth most popular minister in Malaysia, according to an online survey by Malaysiakini.
The Amanah leader bagged a rating of 63 per cent approval and 37 per cent disapproval.
The news portal, which ran the recent survey for seven days, did not state how many respondents took part in the survey, only that a “huge number of readers” cast their votes by giving either a “thumbs up” or a “thumbs down”.
Votes whom the news portal deemed to be spammers trying to skew the results, on the other hand, were removed.
Malaysiakini’s report, meanwhile, said only 10 of the 28 ministers in the Pakatan Harapan Cabinet received approval ratings of 50 per cent and above, some 1.5 years after the historic 2018 election.
Transport Minister Anthony Loke came in first place, with an 86 per cent approval rating, followed by Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo (83 per cent), and Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin (79 per cent).
Dzulkefly (63 per cent) ranked slightly higher than Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng and Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu, who both received 59 per cent approval ratings.
Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail ranked seventh with a 53 per cent rating, while Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad only ranked 26 per cent.
Those who ranked at the bottom of the list included Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali (22 per cent), Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman (19 per cent), Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Mohamaddin Ketapi (16 per cent), and Education Minister Maszlee Malik (16 per cent).
In last place was Entrepreneurship Development Minister Redzuan Yusof with a mere 10 per cent approval rating.
After marking Dzulkefly’s first year in office since the May 2018 general election, health stakeholders generally graded Dzulkefly a “C”, or “average”, for failing to sufficiently engage various stakeholders, from private medical practitioners to private hospitals, pharmacies, the pharmaceutical industry, and other health care providers.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) recently failed to pass proposed amendments to the Poisons Act 1952 that would have made it mandatory for doctors, dentists, and veterinarians to provide prescriptions upon request from patients.
Stakeholders said they were not consulted, and second reading for the bill in the Dewan Rakyat was pushed to the next meeting in March 2020.
Dzulkefly’s achievements, on the other hand, included a smoking ban in restaurants that will be fully enforced tomorrow after a one-year delay and a slightly bigger health budget in 2019 and 2020, despite the government’s austerity drive, at eight and seven percentage points higher than the previous years respectively.
The Kuala Selangor MP also formed a Health Advisory Council comprising outside experts to advise MOH.