PETALING JAYA: The health ministry has denied claims that two senior officials met with two representatives from the tobacco industry.
According to deputy director-general for public health Norhayati Rusli, its probe into the claims found that the officials met with two people who introduced themselves as owners of a bicycle business and printing business.
“The purpose of the meeting was to discuss plans for the organisation of a weight-loss programme but nothing was finalised at the meeting,” she said in a statement.
On Tuesday, the Malaysian Council for Tobacco Control (MCTC) claimed that ministry officials met with representatives from the tobacco industry.
It said this was contrary to the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control treaty which among others states that public health policies must be protected from the vested interests of the tobacco industry.
MCTC said it was concerned that the alleged meeting would hinder the government’s efforts to reduce the use of tobacco.
Norhayati said the ministry viewed the claims seriously and would not compromise with officers who violated the treaty and other related policies.
“At the same time, civil servants, especially health ministry staff, must be responsible in ensuring that meetings with private companies or NGOs are free of any conflict of interests.”