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Tan Tock Seng hospital dismiss staff over offensive comments made on social media

Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) has announced on Friday evening, that it has dismissed one of the nurse over insensitive comments made by the staff after concluding partial of its investigation .

The local hospital wrote on the hospital facebook fanpage,

"We have dismissed Mr Ello Ed Mundsel Bello from our Hospital immediately for his offensive online comments made in 2014 while in our Hospital’s employment. Mr Bello had joined us in October 2014 and had been under probation."

Earlier in the week, a comment by Mr Bello went viral on social media. The comment wrote, “Now the Singaporeans are loosers in their own country, we take their jobs, their future, their women, and soon, we will evict all SG loosers out of their own country…”

comment online

Members of the public who have been offended by his comment, took to the hospital's fanpage to voice their displeasure in mass, prompting the hospital to address the issue on 4 January, saying that the hospital expects its staff to be respectful and professional and assured members of the public that it is looking into the matter.

Subsequently in a later post, the hospital said that the staff in question had claimed that his account was hacked by someone and has reported to the police.

Many voiced their skepticism of the alleged hacking as there were previous incidences which Mr Bello had made similar offending comments on his social media accounts and continued to post negative comments on its fanpage to ask for updates on the issue and action to be taken upon the staff who allegedly made the comment.

Many also criticised the hospital in the handling of the incident in comparison with the previous dismissal of Mr Roy Ngerng who was removed from work "with immediate effect because of conduct incompatible with the values and standards expected of employees."

Ngerng was employed as a patient coordinator at the Communicable Disease Centre in TTSH for two years and was involved in the defamation suit involving Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

past comments

The hospital wrote on the reason of dismissal for Mr Bello,

"In the course of our investigations, we were alerted to and reviewed three earlier online posts made by Mr Bello in 2014 that touched on race and religion:

i) An offensive Facebook comment on Singapore;
ii) Two offensive comments on religion on his Google Plus page

Mr Bello has confirmed that he had made these three posts.

These comments were highly irresponsible and offensive to Singapore and religion. They have distressed members of the public and our hospital staff. His conduct goes against our staff values of respect, professionalism and social responsibility. As a public healthcare institution, we take a very serious view and have zero tolerance on conduct that is offensive and detrimental to multi-cultural harmony in Singapore."

It went further to stat that its decision for the dismissal of Mr Bello is independent of the ongoing police investigation of the more recent alleged posts made in January 2015 and it is still in full cooperation with the police on the alleged comments.

The hospital also took the opportunity to clarify that only a quarter of its staff are foreigners. This is contrary to the report by Shin Min Daily News on 5 January which stated the percentage of staff  made up of foreigners to be at 70 to 80%.

What is different from the previous public dismissal by the hospital in the case of Roy Ngerng is that Ministry of Health (MOH) issued a statement in response to the dismissal of Ngerng to state its support for the termination of contract.

No political leaders have commented on the incident so far.