KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 12 — Deputy Health Minister Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali has come to Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah’s defence, after Bintulu MP Tiong King Sing criticised the Health director-general for not visiting Sabah during the state’s Covid-19 crisis.
Dr Noor Azmi explained that Dr Noor Hisham is one of the most committed and responsible individuals to ensure the safety and health of the people since the Covid-19 epidemic began in Malaysia last January.
“I am shocked when certain individuals, whether the public or politicians, dispute the credibility and sacrifice made by the Health DG in eradicating the Covid-19 pandemic in this country,” Dr Noor Azmi said in a statement.
“If we refer to the frontliners, Dr Noor Hisham is the number one or front person in the frontline who has been fighting with the Covid-19 virus all this time.
“He has dedicated most of his life in taking care of the health aspects of the people in this country, and not just when the Covid-19 pandemic hit the country,” Dr Noor Azmi said.
Yesterday, Tiong at the Dewan Rakyat, during his debate on Budget 2021, criticised the Health DG for not visiting Sabah personally to look into issues, have discussions, and give moral support to the frontliners.
The Gabungan Parti Sarawak lawmaker asked if the DG was scared of dying if he were to go down to Sabah. Tiong even asked why Dr Noor Hisham did not send his deputies to Sabah.
Dr Noor Hisham, who responded to the allegations yesterday in his daily Covid-19 press conference, said that he visited Sabah in end August, a month before a surge of Covid-19 cases hit the country’s poorest state in October, while his deputy and the Prime Minister’s special advisor on public health, Dr Jemilah Mahmood, went in recent weeks. Most of the last two weeks of August saw zero new daily infections reported in Sabah.
The Health DG posted on August 29 pictures of his visit to the Kota Kinabalu Public Health Laboratory (MKAKK) that provides analytical and diagnostic services to support surveillance programmes, outbreak analysis, laboratory testing quality control programmes, and food safety in Sabah. A lab at MKAKK was upgraded into a Covid-19 sample detection and test laboratory that started operations on July 15.
Dr Noor Hisham said yesterday there was no issue of him being scared of dying if he goes down to Sabah.
“We at the Ministry of Health (MOH), including Health Minister Dr Adham Baba and Dr Noor Hisham, will meet every day to discuss and exchange ideas as early as 8 am until late in the afternoon to find a solution to eradicate the Covid-19 pandemic that has been attacking the country with a third wave,” Dr Noor Azmi said today.
The deputy health minister from Bersatu reiterated that Dr Noor Hisham has set a good example for other health care frontliners and said negative comments about the DG were “absurd”.