KUALA LUMPUR, March 21 – The Ministry of Health’s (MOH) MyHelp complaints channel for workplace bullying among its staff prohibits anonymous complaints, requiring complainants to provide their identity card or passport number.
Yesterday, Sungai Buloh Hospital director Dr Jasmeet Singh Sucha Singh – in a statement addressing bullying and sexual harassment allegations by house officers in his hospital’s obstetrics and gynaecology department, as reported by CodeBlue – urged MOH staff to report workplace bullying through the ministry’s internal MyHelp channel.
Then-Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, who launched MyHelp in October 2022, reportedly claimed then that complainants could “file a complaint anonymously”.
However, MyHelp’s website requires all of the following particulars from complainants who are either filing a complaint for themselves or on behalf of the bullying victim: name, IC number or passport number, occupation, mobile number, and email address. The complainant’s gender is left optional.
“All personal information and information submitted by me is true and I am responsible for it. All information will be kept confidential and only used by the Malaysian Government,” states a declaration on the MyHelp site.
MyHelp also states a disclaimer: “The Malaysian government is not responsible for any loss or damage suffered as a result of using this service.”
In contrast, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) complaint portal – while requiring the complainant’s name, IC number, phone number, and email address – places a less onerous burden on the complainant by simply requiring the complainant to tick the statement: “Dengan ini saya mengesahkan bahawa maklumat yang diberikan di atas adalah benar sepanjang pengetahuan saya (I acknowledge that all the information specified are correct)”.
Unlike MOH’s internal MyHelp complaint mechanism for workplace bullying, MCMC’s complaint portal for the general public omits a disclaimer of the government’s liability from complaints filed.
The “Additional Information” section in MyHelp for complainants filing a complaint on behalf of the victim (with the victim’s permission) – containing the victim’s name, designation, professional registration number, as well as the name and designation of the MOH officer suspected of harassment (PYDM) – is left optional.
MyHelp states that completed complaints will be processed by MOH’s integrity unit.
While the complaints channel states that “all information will be kept confidential”, MyHelp does not specify who exactly will have or not have access to the complaints received, including the identity of the complainant that is mandatory to file a complaint.
“Complete information must be reported as specified in the online form,” states MyHelp’s FAQ for the question: “Can I submit a complaint without disclosing personal information?”.
According to MyHelp’s FAQ, the time period for the resolution of cases is 15 working days for a “normal” case or more than that for a “complex” case.
Complaints to MyHelp are processed as per the following:
- MOH will issue a case / reference number once registered in the system.
- MOH sends an acknowledgment email to the complainant.
- An investigation will be conducted.
- MOH informs the complainant of the decision to settle the case.
- MOH submits the complainant’s assessment of the complaint management service provided.
The Healthcare Work Culture Improvement Task Force (HWCITF), which was formed by Khairy in the aftermath of the death of a houseman from Penang Hospital in April 2022, stated in its report published last August that MOH staff are afraid of reprisals should they report bullying.
HWCITF also said staff believe the current complaints mechanism does not sufficiently protect anonymity. Khairy formed MyHelp subsequent to the HWCITF’s report.
Sungai Buloh Hospital’s statement on the alleged bullying and sexual harassment of trainee doctors in its O&G department did not specify which claims of the housemen an investigation committee found to be valid or baseless. The director of the public hospital also did not specify what “improvement” measures were taken.