A senior DAP leader has criticised Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, suggesting that the health director-general has shown weaknesses in the country’s war against Covid-19.
“To make matters worse, Noor Hisham’s blind spots and personal preferences – such as his aversion to using rapid test kits, not testing contacts without symptoms and focus on a health ministry-dominated approach – have become even more apparent amid the latest wave of contagion,” said DAP central committee member Liew Chin Tong in an opinion piece published by the South China Morning Post, attacking the government’s handling of the latest surge of infections.
Last year, Noor Hisham cautioned that rapid test kits to detect the virus could produce false results. Last week, he said such a method should be performed within the first five to seven days following the onset of symptoms for best results.
Liew, who was made a senator in 2018 following his election defeat in order to be appointed as a deputy to then-defence minister Mohamad Sabu, also claimed that the government’s “over-dependence on Noor Hisham” had contributed to the problems in fighting the pandemic.
He also said Malaysia’s war against Covid-19 “was not as aggressive as some of its neighbours” in trying to procure vaccines.
He added that Noor Hisham’s leadership in the early stages of the pandemic had resulted in “performance legitimacy” to Prime Minister Muhiyiddin Yassin.
Liew said Noor Hisham had been “lukewarm” about using rapid test kits for mass testing, adding that the authorities still do not test contacts without symptoms.
“Due to the recent spike and constrained by limited human resources, it has also practically abandoned contact tracing,” he said.
He then referred to Malaysia’s administrative structure, which does not decentralise matters of health to state governments.
“Hospitals across the country are under the stewardship of one man: the health director-general,” he added.
Last year, Chinese international channel China Global TV Network picked Noor Hisham as one of three leading doctors in the worldwide fight against Covid-19, along with his counterpart from New Zealand Ashley Bloomfield and US presidential adviser on health, Dr Anthony Fauci.