Our aim was to help nursing staff, says hospital behind controversial ad

The management of Pantai Hospital Sungai Petani says it will be more careful next time. (Facebook pic)

PETALING JAYA: The controversial scholarship advertisement put up by Pantai Hospital Sungai Petani was meant to attract more recruits so that the nursing staff could spend more quality time with their loved ones.

The hospital’s nursing director, Katini Abu Hassan, who expressed regret over the advertisement, said nurses are always working hard to ensure patients receive the best care.

“In our hospital, about 72% of our nurses are Malays. This has resulted in scheduling issues during festive periods.

“As the nursing director, it is my hope that my staff can spend quality time with their loved ones.

“So, if I can, I would like to add more nurses of different races to enable our Malay nurses to get time off during the festive period,” she told FMT.

Katini said these additions will also enable them to provide reasonable care to their patients, who are of different races.

“Our concern in ensuring a balanced racial representation of nurses, especially during the festive period, has resulted in an unintended misunderstanding.

“It was never our intent to discriminate against any race or religion. Our place of work has staff of diverse races in all departments,” she said, adding that they would be more careful in future.

The private hospital in Kedah had put up the advertisement which expressed a preference for Chinese, Siamese, Christian and Indian applicants.

The advertisement resulted in a backlash from netizens, who accused the hospital of being racist, and urged people to boycott the hospital.

“We would like to apologise for the advertisement, which contained unreasonable elements,” the hospital’s CEO, Tio Bee Chan, told FMT.

“We admit that it was put up because of a lack of scrutiny in the approval process but this does not reflect our organisation’s values.

“We are responsible for the mistake and we give an assurance that such an incident will not recur.”

She said the hospital was not prejudicial towards any race or religion.

Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad has said he considered the matter solved after the hospital tendered an open apology.