The Ministry of Health (MOH) posted on Facebook saying that they were misrepresented by the government-controlled state media, Straits Times, in an article where a private clinic charge consultation fees based on number of ailments in a single visit.
MOH singled out Straits Times journalist Ms Salma Khalik for the inaccurate article, saying that they gave a “general reply” and did not refer to the specific case. The article published created serious public backlash for MOH. Although MOH blame Straits Times for the inaccuracy, there is no mention of legal action.
“When ST journalist Ms Salma Khalik approached MOH for comment on this case, we asked for the clinic’s name and patient’s bills so as to review the details of case. She did not accede to our request. As a result, MOH could only provide a general reply which explains what GPs typically take into account in their charging. At no time did we make specific comments on this specific case since we do not have details to enable us to do so. Sadly, ST wrongly attributed MOH as having said that there was ‘nothing wrong’ with the clinic’s practice in this instance.”
You may view MOH’s full reply here.
This is the second incident of government organisations pushing blame to each other in a week. Just two days ago, SMRT openly blamed the Land Transport Authority for causing them losses of S$2.7 million in operating profits because the authority halted a refurbishment project.
The Singapore government is particularly sensitive to bad press now because of the increasing distrust by the populace over the lack of transparency and accountability in government policies.