Welfare dept slammed for attempt to defend Rina Harun

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The Social Welfare Department’s rush to defend Women, Family and Community Development Minister Rina Harun’s “cleaning stunt” in the aftermath of a flood disaster is disappointing, Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh said today.

The former women, family and community development deputy minister said Rina’s actions had “degraded the dignity” of the department’s hard-working employees.

“I’m sad to see JKM defending the minister’s behaviour,” Yeoh tweeted, calling the department by its Malay acronym.

“I know many JKM officers who are very dedicated to performing their duties. Many work hard to take good care of the flood evacuation centres.

“But the minister’s stunt degraded the dignity of JKM employees. It’s not fair to them.”

Yesterday, Rina become a target of criticism when a video of her posing with a high-powered pressure hose at a flood-relief centre went viral.

Rina said she was at SK Salak in Salak Tinggi to help with the clean-up.

The school had been converted into a shelter for flood evacuees, said Rina, and she and her team were there to clean up ahead of the start of the school term in January.

In her defence, the Social Welfare Department issued a statement saying Rina was not only helping to clean the floors of the school but she was actively involved in the logistics of the effort.

“JKM, as the department that manages the operation, had requested Rina’s assistance to clean some bird dropping stains that were difficult to remove.

“Since the water jet machine was already there, Rina accepted the request and did the work with an open heart,” the statement read.

The statement, which was shared on social media, drew a sharp response from Malaysians.

@SimpletonED said the department should not use their official platform as a propaganda tool for ministers.

“The Welfare Department is funded by the citizen’s tax and is supposed to serve the people. Even the minister’s salary as well (from taxes). DO not use the portal as propaganda for the minister. The people will judge themselves if the ministry is doing its job or not. Shame on you,” he tweeted.

@amarfrd said there was no need for the department to issue statements to defend the ministers if they had made a mistake.

“If the ministers have made a mistake in their own capacity, let it be. There is no need to issue a statement to defend the minister.

“There is no need to confuse the stupidity of the minister with the staff or department. Don’t let one drop of ink destroy the whole bowl of milk,” he said. – TMI