The very fact that Abdullah never visited Bukit Pelanduk during the height of the disaster last year, although it destroyed the billion-ringgit pig-rearing industry, culled over a million pigs and killed more than 100 people, and only made his first visit when there is a by-election, is a sad commentary on the misplaced priority of government leaders - who regard getting votes more important than ensuring that justice is done to the victims of the Nipah virus catastrophe.
I had said in Parliament last year that the Nipah virus catastrophe was completely unnecessary and avoidable if the Health Minister and the government had been alert, competent and efficient and had learnt the right lessons from the first Nipah virus outbreak in Perak in October/November 1998 and heeded the advice of local experts.
For this reason, DAP MPs had demanded in the previous Parliament that
the government should bear full responsibility for the Nipah virus catastrophe.
In Parliament last May, I had called for a billion-ringgit government financial
package to compensate and rescue the pig-rearing industry, and I call on
the Cabinet at its meeting tomorrow to give final approval for such a billion-ringgit
financial plan to make amends for the official neglect and indifference
to the government-made Nipah virus catastrophe in the pig-rearing industry.
The billion-ringgit financial package should comprise the following