The government should be more open to whistleblowers and give attention to the wrongdoings they expose, urged a PKR representative.Akmal Nasir (above), who is Johor Bahru MP, said yesterday's statement by the Health Ministry in which it warned civil servants against making public statements without approval was seen as an attempt to block the truth from the rakyat."When healthcare workers choose to issue public statements together with evidence without revealing their identities, this is a sign that they are not confident with the effectiveness of the government in protecting the identities of whistleblowers."Thus, the government is urged to adopt a more open and inclusive stand on whistleblowers and be proactive in protecting the identities of these people who are also frontliners."As frontliners who have been working hard for more than a year to fight this Covid-19 pandemic, surely they are more sensitive to any wrongdoing," he said in a statement.Yesterday, the ministry had issued a press release in which it warned its staff that they were not allowed to make public statements on government policy, programmes or decisions without prior consent from their upper management.The warning came in the wake of recent social media postings by healthcare workers who alleged that there was queue-jumping for the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme. The first phase of the vaccination is meant only for frontliners.The Health Ministry said the warning was not meant to stop civil servants from speaking out but is to ensure they used the correct channels for feedback and complaints.However, Akmal said such an order would surely put pressure on whistleblowers who wanted to expose wrongdoing and corrupt practices in the government."Any statement that is in the form of warning or a threat like this is really not helping towards efforts to prevent corruption in this vaccination programme."Complaints lodged by healthcare workers, be it through any channel, must be given attention to and followed up on by a fair investigation. "This is also a form of appreciation for all frontliners who have been giving their commitment all this while," he said.
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