Sex predator doctor to be suspended, says Minister
Published on: Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Selangor: Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad Monday confirmed that a senior doctor who allegedly sexually harassed several trainee doctors would be suspended to facilitate further investigations by the authorities.In a statement Monday, Dzulkefly said investigations carried out by an independent inquiry body found that there were sufficient grounds for his ministry to take further action against the Klang Valley hospital head of department for his misconduct.

In July, it was reported that a department head of orthopaedics had sexually harassed and made sexual advances against house officers under his care.

The report caused an outcry among civil groups, NGOs, medical associations, politicians and the public.

Dzulkefly subsequently announced the formation of an independent inquiry body to probe the alleged misconduct.

The inquiry body, which consisted of representatives from the health and women, family and community development ministries, also recommended lodging a report with the Malaysian Medical Council to investigate the matter under the Medical Act 1971.

Dzulkefly did not specify when the suspension would take place, but stressed that the health ministry would take "necessary action" to suspend the doctor in line with The Public Officers (Conduct and Discipline) Regulations 1993.

One of those interviewed in the report had said a police report was lodged last year, but no action was taken.

A recent survey found that a majority of junior doctors and medical housemen in the country claimed to have been bullied at their workplace, with about 17pc saying it was so bad that they thought of ending their lives.

Shortly before the media report on the doctor, a separate report by a houseman at a hospital in Kuala Lumpur against a senior doctor who was allegedly abusive went viral as well.

Meanwhile, a few specialists from the hospital in Klang Valley are claiming top officials have informed them that staff members at the orthopaedic department whose department head (HoD) was accused of sexual harassment would be transferred out of the hospital for bringing charges against him.

Confusion has arisen because others have been told the decision to transfer staff members was put on hold.

One specialist – who declined to be named – said he was shocked to be told last Thursday to expect his transfer letter in two weeks following an inquiry into the sexual harassment case.

The specialist said he and a few other specialists had received calls informing them that the current orthopaedic team – made up of 14 specialists, 25 medical officers (MOs) and 15 paramedics (nurses, medical assistants and administrative staff) – would be disbanded and replaced with a new team.

The official claimed that the transfer order was decided at a meeting on Thursday in Putrajaya, he said.

"He told us we have been given the transfer order by the Health Ministry's top ranking management officials, and that letters would follow through. He said this was a consequence of the sexual harassment charges against 'your ex-head of department'."

"Most of us are very upset. Colleagues and patients who have heard the news have questioned the transfer order, and if we were the sexual predator in question," he said.

He said after the call, he called another official who confirmed the transfer order. Another specialist also received a confirmation via text message from a different source. However, one official said the transfer had been put on hold.

"Around the same time as this news, there was an emergency meeting held at a hospital to identify doctors who would volunteer to move to the hospital in question," he said.

The specialist said it would be unjust for them to be punished as they were not involved in the HoD's sexual harassment case, and did not know what occurred behind closed doors.

He also said not all staff members – including himself – were called to the inquiry.

He said this incident had demoralised many dedicated doctors who had sacrificed family time, spending long hours at the hospital.

Another specialist said some of them had already been verbally informed of their new posts – and when to report for duty – Sept 18 for specialists and Oct 1 for medical officers.

"We find this totally unacceptable. Transfers have to made with a valid reason and this unjustified wholesale transfer is shocking.

"Whenever we asked about the transfer (from the minister's office and secretary of the independent inquiry committee), we were told it was to 'dismantle the toxic environment', and that we were 'guilty by association' and 'inaction', and it was 'collateral damage'," he said.

Many doctors are worried that their livelihoods would be affected if they have to move.


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