THE MIX-UP jurisdiction, power and area of work had created much confusion and upset among the food operators and handlers here in Sabah especially in the state capital Kota Kinabalu City.
KK MP Hiew King Cheu seeks clarification recently in Parliament by asking the Ministry of Health (KKM) on the federal inspectors’ specific role, power and area of work. This is served to cut down the problem faced by the people continuously as which one they should listen to, and whether the summons are issued correctly.
The reply received stated that the federal health inspectors are actually the assistant health officer (Penolong Pegawai Kesihatan Persekitaran–PPKP) and they are servicing in both the federal level and state level. PPKP serves directly with the Ministry of Health under the Public Health laws and to execute their power with the Food Enactment 1983 (Akta Makanan 1983), Food Regulation 1985, Tobacco Control Act 1975 (Amendment 2010), Pest Control Act 1975 (Amendment 2000), Infectious Disease Control Act 1988.
The State health Inspectors are working under the Local Government Enactment 1974 together with the various laws and regulation associated with it. For PPKP, they have their sets of scope of work and duties designated to them under the General Service and Administration Bill 11 2005.
Some of the roles and duties which was previously under the KKM had been taken over by the State inspectors who are under the City Hall and Local councils, for example the pest control and the control of Dengue mosquitoes. The power and duties for both inspectors have to be determining during the meeting held between them.
KK MP said the reply from the KKM is absolutely not reflecting that the Federal and State health inspectorate is having a clear cut of power and duties area. The confusion and mix-up will continue. As mentioned, the two will have to discuss among themselves to draw up the boundaries on role and power. Why until now there is no clear definition on what and who should handle the pressing health and hygiene control matters?
The most recent case of some PPKP came to close down one eatery shop in Iramanis Shopping complex. This is alleged to be connected to the refusal of the shop owner to accept to pay and send his workers to attend a course on food handling organized by a private academy.
This training of food handlers offered by the academy was brought up before by DAP and this was made known that DBKK health section has no knowledge of such activity and no approval was given. This case of closure was strongly protested and had been referred to the Minister of Health for action.
Hiew said although the Health Ministry had explained and given the details of their various jurisdictions of the health inspectors whether they are under the federal or state power, but the fact remains that there are still strong abuses of power and over lapsed of duties.
There must be a line drawn to identify the area of work, power and area. The health inspectors may not know exactly what their work scope is about. Therefore, MP Hiew suggests that the Health Ministry should arrange a serious of briefing to their health inspectors.