KUALA LUMPUR, April 14 — Health Minister Dr Adham Baba said it was Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s suggestion to increase the special Covid-19 allowance for frontliners from RM400 to RM600 monthly.
A Facebook page called “Friends Of Dr Adham Baba” — which describes itself as a group of friends in support of Dr Adham as health minister — touted yesterday the Perikatan Nasional (PN) minister’s various achievements, including the Covid-19 allowance raise for public health care workers that it claimed Dr Adham had requested directly from the prime minister.
“PM’s idea. I support,” Dr Adham told CodeBlue, when asked to confirm if he had personally requested Muhyiddin for the allowance increase.
The “Friends Of Dr Adham Baba” Facebook page said Dr Adham had, upon assuming office last month, immediately blocked the entry of tourists from Iran, Italy, and South Korea into Malaysia.
The fan page also said Dr Adham had, together with the Foreign Ministry, ensured good relations with China to boost contributions of medical devices and equipment to Malaysia amid the coronavirus epidemic. Last month, China sent over 100,000 PCR test kits, 100,000 N95 face masks, over half a million surgical masks, 50,000 units of personal protective equipment (PPE), and 200 ventilators.
“Friends Of Dr Adham Baba” also pointed out that under Dr Adham, the Ministry of Health (MOH) created a makeshift hospital at a hall in Serdang, Selangor. The makeshift hospital at the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang (MAEPS), according to Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, has 600 beds.
New laboratories, it said, were also added in Johor Baru, Johor, to prepare for a possible “kluster kayangan” (Malaysians returning from overseas who refuse to cooperate with health authorities) or Singapore cluster.
“He wasn’t stingy and he was smart in looking for funds to ensure MOH had sufficient resources in combating the Covid-19 epidemic. The world has acknowledged the World Health Organization (WHO) upholding Malaysia as the best country in tackling the Covid-19 outbreak,” said the Facebook page.
Dr Adham’s fan page instead slammed the Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration’s handling of the coronavirus when it first entered Malaysia last January, claiming that then-Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad allowed Chinese tourists to bring the virus into the country.
“Tourism events were even encouraged. The virus was already spreading out of control. Yet, they wanted to sue the people for supposedly spreading fake news about the outbreak.
“MOH under PH used the term ‘Rakyat Palatau’,” said the Facebook page, referring to a derogatory term about self-dubbed instant experts on the internet.
When Covid-19 first emerged in Malaysia, under the PH government, MOH did not name the locations where cases had been detected, instead labelling all social media posts on the purported locations, some of which were genuine, as fake news. MOH only began releasing details on the number of coronavirus cases in various districts after an outbreak from a tabligh gathering early last month broke out.
The fan page also pointed out that the PH government had sought to abolish the critical allowance for government doctors and other public health care workers this year. PH retracted the decision last January after public uproar.
MOH’s official Facebook page posted last night that Malaysia had an experienced health minister and prime minister under the PN government, attributing the “Friends of Adham Baba” page.
“What is important is a sense of urgency, not blurr,” said MOH’s page, before hastily taking the post down when Malaysians slammed the use of MOH’s official page for “political propaganda”.
A screenshot of a purported “KKM Stormtroopers” WhatsApp group that has been posted online claimed that the Facebook post was uploaded upon instructions.