Gan Kim Yong; Parliament

Refusing to apologise for his ministry’s failure to duly inform HIV patients that their identity and data has been disseminated online, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong declared that the cover up of 3 years from 2016 to 2019 was justified:

“These were not straightforward decisions. On the one hand, there is the need to be transparent. On the other hand, we need to consider the impact of an announcement on the affected persons with HIV – would it serve their interest, or harm them instead? …It is arguable that MOH should have made a different call. But I reject any allegation that MOH sought to cover up the incident.”

The S$1.1 million-a-year PAP Minister vehemently defended himself saying that although he was aware American Mikhy K Farrera Brochez had obtained information of the HIV Registry in 2016, he saw there was no need to let the HIV patients know about the leak:

The decision in 2016 was to not inform those on the list or make public the data leak. However, in 2018, when Brochez revealed more information and 31 records could not be retrieved, MOH decided to contact the 31 people and alert them to the matter. Then in January this year, when Brochez put the full HIV registry online and provided the link to a non-government party, the likelihood of the identities being made public increased significantly…We now know that Brochez retained some data after the police seized all the files they could find in 2016. Quite possibly, he still has more data in his possession. Should MOH now make known all that Brochez may (or may not) still possess? Do we contact every person whose data may (or may not) be at risk? And in the process inflict more harm on people even though it may ultimately turn out that Brochez in fact does not have the information? Again we have to assess and make a judgment call.”

Health Minister Gan Kim Yong then pushed all blame to the two perpetrators saying it is not his fault:

“This has been a regrettable incident caused by the irresponsible and deplorable actions of two individuals. I am sorry that the irresponsible actions of one of our officers has resulted in such distress to the affected persons. We will spare no effort in bringing him to justice again for his latest crime.”