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Whistleblower gets show-cause letter

(File pic by Steven Depolo @ Flickr)

PETALING JAYA, 13 May 2010: A doctor who went public with serious allegations of mismanagement and cronyism in an Orang Asli hospital in Gombak has continued to be targeted for her outspokenness.

Dr Selva Vathany Kanapathi Pillai told The Nut Graph she received a show-cause letter from the Jabatan Hal Ehwal Orang Asli (JHEOA) last month.

“The JHEOA asked me to explain why I took part in a Bar Council press conference without my department head Dr Saaiah Abdullah’s permission,” Dr Selva said in a phone interview.

“The letter said that if I did not reply with an adequate explanation, action would be taken against me.”

The Bar Council press conference was held on 11 Feb 2010 to highlight Dr Selva’s complaints about the Gombak hospital. It raised issues such as the high rate of malnutrition among Orang Asli children, and the use of hospital facilities by non-Orang Asli patients. This was despite the fact that the hospital was specifically set up to improve Orang Asli health.

The Bar Council had also called on the hospital to be placed under the purview of the Health Ministry instead of the Rural and Regional Development Ministry, which is currently the case.

Dr Selva was also present when Orang Asli representatives handed in a memorandum to the Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) on 16 March, complaining about poor services at the hospital.

JHEOA pressure

Dr Selva had earlier told The Nut Graph how she was sidelined by the hospital‘s management due to her raising of mismanagement issues.

Dr Selva (Courtesy of Bar Council)
Shortly after she sent a formal complaint letter to the Health Ministry in late 2009, she was told she was to be transferred to Kedah.

“I am not under JHEOA’s authority anymore because of my transfer. I am now directly under the Health Ministry,” said Dr Selva.

“It doesn’t make sense that I am sent a show-cause letter by the very department and people that I have been making complaints about.”

Dr Selva was unable to supply The Nut Graph with a copy of the JHEOA letter as it was marked “sulit”.

Dr Selva said the show-cause letter had also asked her to give an explanation about why she had participated in a demonstration in front of the Gombak hospital on 24 Feb 2010.

“I wasn’t even at the hospital on the day of the demonstration,” Dr Selva said. “I was already preparing to leave because of my transfer to Kedah.”

The Nut Graph previously tried to reach JHEOA director-general Datuk Mohd Sani Mistam for comment on issues affecting the hospital, but was told he was away till 17 May. Requests for his deputy, Nisra Nisran Asra Ramlan, to respond were also in vain.

No resolution

Dr Selva is vexed that despite the recent attention the Gombak Hospital has been receiving, the authorities are focusing on issuing show-cause letters instead of dealing with the malnutrition issue among Orang Asli children.

“There is already a comprehensive Health Ministry food-basket programme in place. It is not just for the ‘hardcore poor‘, as claimed by JHEOA’s director-general, but for all malnourished children,” said Dr Selva.

Under the programme, underweight children receive monthly food baskets from the Health Ministry. The children are monitored until they fall within the recommended weight for their age.

Joseph Entulu Belaun (Source:
On 17 April 2010, The Malay Mail reported that Rural and Regional Development Deputy Minister Datuk Joseph Entulu Belaun had refuted Dr Selva’s claims in Parliament.

He stated that a thorough investigation had been carried out, which showed that there was no truth to her statements.

“In short, she is lying,” the deputy minister reportedly said.

Dr Selva, however, pointed out that the Rural and Regional Development Ministry was not the appropriate body to investigate her claims. “They are not medical practitioners, nor do they have expertise on medical ethics or medical management,” she said.

“I have full faith that the Health Ministry would be able to conduct a fair and transparent investigation through the Malaysian Medical Council.”

She added, however, that if concrete steps were not taken to improve the situation, she would not hesitate to raise the matter with international organisations such the World Health Organisation.

See also: 
JHEOA involved in Orang Asli conversion 
Orang Asli converted against will  
Orang Asli Hospital not fulfilling role  
Outspoken doctor persistently “sidelined”

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17 Responses to “Whistleblower gets show-cause letter”

  1. danny leebob says:

    Dr. Selva, I admire your courage. But you need support, perhaps the Bar Council is agood platform. The people in JHEOA are up to something no good. Technically an end user, such as an Orang Asli person, should make an official complaint to the government through the Public Complaints Bureau under the purview of the Prime Minister department. Some NGOs may be needed to lend support for the complainant, in case it is swept under the carpet. Preferably not to involve political parties as you or the complainant will not want to used as political tools.

  2. Pak Karim says:

    The rakyat must be informed of this tragedy befalling the Orang Asli. We must help them overcome and remedy this problem among their children. These children are also part of our nation’s human resources.

  3. astina says:

    This is the true culture of all BN ruled civil service departments, they will never admit any mistakes nor condone any whistle-blowing activities..

    I hope Dr Selva is protected by the Bar Council. And to Datuk Joe, you can refute the issue in Parliment but you cant refute the memorandam sent in by the Orang Asli representatives. Typical of BN heads!!

  4. poorman says:

    Good brave Dr Selva, expose away the hypocrites! When those bureaucratic […] need to clamour for the Orang Asli votes, they will angkat bola big time. After they got the votes, the Orang Asli will be kicked aside. A bunch of suckers! We support you even if you need to complain to WHO.

  5. adopt says:

    This Dr Selva can start taking young Orang Asli as her adopted children. Actions must match words, no point talking about love and care for Orang Asli when she can’t even bother to adopt one child to show her “love” and “care”.

  6. Tony Wong says:

    “In short, she is lying,” the deputy minister reportedly said.

    Who is the one that lies? We all know that when any complaints surface, all [that] would be said [are] lies by the people in the corridors of power.

  7. Azmi says:

    We might not be able to help directly, but any effort to highlight and pressure for change must be sustained. The original people of this land must be given their rightful dues.

  8. Michael Yoong says:

    Dear Dr Selva, I am touched by your continuous struggle for truth and justice against a clearly biased establishment. You are willing to accept job and personal detriment for your correct beliefs.This is a rare character which I admire. I hope you eventually rise to be a MP, Minister or DG of some department/NGO to be able to use your power to do good. The Lord bless you and keep you and make His face shine upon you.

  9. Myth says:

    Well done doctor. God is with you and He will bless you for your courage.

  10. Mubadala says:

    Bravo bravo, .this is what we call courage, transparency, truthfulness and helpfulness, not like Barang Naik!

    keep up the good work, Dr.

  11. Lainie says:

    What a nonsense move. JHEOA and Dr Saaiah Abdullah should be the ones getting show-cause letters.

  12. As a nature lover, I trek throughout the jungles with my 4WD. My ultimate stop will always be at an Orang Asli kampung. My surplus of rations goes to the Tok Batin to distribute among his people. At times we bring along used clothing for donations.

    Of late, my activities have focused more on Slim River as the journey is not far away from Kuala Lumpur. Pos Kg. Pisang, Pos Tibang, Pos Keding and Pos Tenau are my frequent destinations. I am not a medical man, but I can see the Orang Asli children are affected with ill-health. With their bloated stomachs and red eyes, I am sure they are not getting any medical treatment.

    According to the Tok Batin, in order for them to get medical treatment, they have to go to the Slim River hospital and the journey takes them half a day. Most of the time, my first aid kit will be empty after giving away fever tablets and ointments to them.

  13. Chek Yu says:

    Dr Silva, migrate to Australia. Australia need doctors. You can help and save more people here. Most of all, they will appreciate you more. Come to Perth. All the best.

  14. Robert K Chelliah says:

    Orang Asli are powerless minorities displaced in their own native land by the pendatang who now claim to be the natives. Thieves should show some remorse for the violation of their own religious values.

    The good doctor will have international support.

  15. Jeffrey says:

    Systematic genocide of the natives to consolidate the supremacy of the ketuanan? After the “final solution”, the land can be called Tanah Melayu as there will be no more natives to lay claim to the land. Beware, Sabah and Sarawak!

  16. mycuntree says:

    Typical and classic case of senior government servants’ defensive reactions to allegations of ills in their area of responsibilities. Shoot the messenger if the message is not what you want told! And Malaysians are most tolerant of such public “servants”. “Servants” who exist to serve themselves first and the public last.

  17. Dr, just keep on digging!

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