Health chief under fire for ‘disgraceful’ pro-BN retweets

Director-general of health Noor Hisham was criticised by G25’s Noor Farida.

KUALA LUMPUR: Two former civil servants have taken the director-general of health to task for forwarding pro-Barisan Nasional messages on social media.

G25 spokesperson Noor Farida Ariffin said that Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah was abusing his position, because public servants were not supposed to campaign for any particular political party.

“It is unprofessional and unethical of him. We public servants serve the government of the day and not any political party,” she said.

On Tuesday, Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah had retweeted a message by prime minister and Barisan Nasional chairman Najib Razak.

The Najib tweet showed a photo announcing the ground-breaking ceremony of the Kajang hospital women’s and children’s complex. It also contained a verse of his hopes of Barisan Nasional winning back control of Selangor.

A day earlier Noor Hisham had retweeted another message from Najib. This showed a photograph of Najib on a visit to the Kuala Lumpur Hospital with mothers and their new babies, in which he also said that BN will implement more for mothers and children if it continues to be given the (voters’) mandate.

Noor Hisham’s Twitter page, however, contains many tweets relating to government functions to do with the Health Ministry.

When contacted for comment, Noor Hisham stressed that they were not his own tweets, but he was only retweeting what the prime minister had posted. “So please make correction (that) it’s a retweet not tweet,” he said in a text reply to FMT.

But G25’s Noor Farida, a former foreign service officer, said the director-general’s action was “highly irregular for a government official or department head”.

“It’s disgraceful,” she said.

G25 is a group comprising mainly retired senior civil servants and other eminent Malays. Noor Farida said G25 itself held to the prnciple of being above party politics.

A founding member of G25, former Treasury secretary-general Mohd Sheriff Kassim, said the health ministry should lodge a complaint against Hisham to the Election Commission.

“I think it is wrong. Civil servants should not be campaigning. I do not know what he is trying to do or what his objective is,” Sheriff said. “If he is telling government officers to go out and vote, that’s okay. But if he is campaigning for any political party, that is wrong.”

The electoral reform group Bersih 2.0 also criticised Hisham, saying he was in breach of public service regulations. In a statement, it claimed that the ministry’s Facebook account was also used to promote BN.

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