(Petaling Jaya, Tuesday): I call on the Health Minister, Datuk Chua Jui Meng, to stop manipulating and hiding the true facts about the number of deaths from the Nipah virus.
During the winding-up of the Parliamentary debate on the Royal Address by the Health Minister, Datuk Chua Jui Meng last Tuesday, 20th April 1999, I had asked him why there was a big discrepancy of 24 deaths in the statistics given by the Ministry of Health and the Atlanta-based Center for Disease Control (CDC) as of April 8, as the Ministry of Health’s reported 92 deaths from the viral encephalitis disaster while the CDC reported 116 deaths.
CDC experts said that their figures come from the Ministry of Health and unless the CDC has an evil ulterior motive, which even the Ministry of Health is not claiming, the only conclusion is that the Ministry of Health is under-reporting the number of deaths in the current viral encephalitis epidemic for domestic purposes.
It is a matter of grave concern that there appears to be a pattern of manipulation of the statistics about the number of deaths caused by the Nipah virus to hide the true facts from Malaysians.
From April 20 to 6 p.m. of April 26, the Internet website of the
Ministry of Health reported that there had not been any additional deaths
as a result of the Nipah virus attack (no medical expert inside or outside
the country has talked about JE or Japanese encephalitis for
the past month), and giving the same statistics as that a week ago, namely:
Negri Sembilan 85
Bukit Pelanduk 80
For instance, two deaths arising from the viral encephalitis outbreak was reported in Selangor by the Chinese mass media by April 12, and this was why the Sin Chew Jit Poh daily column of casualties had, until last week, included the two deaths in Selangor. This was also the case with the New Straits Times, which from April 13 onwards, in its daily column of viral encephalitis casualties, had reported one death from Selangor. However, the Health Ministry official statistics never referred to any death from Selangor.
Yesterday, the Sun reported that a Shah Alam abattoir security guard, who was treated at the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital in Klang for the JE infection, and a Sabahan, who was in the same ward, died the previous day.
Why were these deaths not included in the official statistics released
by the Health Ministry?
I call on the Health Minister, Datuk Chua Jui Meng, to stop manipulating and hiding the true facts about the number of deaths from the Nipah virus and to state whether the Health Ministry has only taken into account deaths involving Malaysians but not foreign workers, explaining for the huge discrepancy in the statistics given by the Ministry of Health and the CDC.