(Petaling Jaya, Friday): After the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday and the announcement of government decision on a two-week closure of all kindergartens and childcare centres in Johore Bahru, Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi said the Cabinet that day was informed that the hand, foot and mouth (HFM) sitiuation was under control.
Can Abdullah then explain the sudden announcement of the first HFM fatality in the Klang Valley yesterday - the third death in the current HFM outbreak in the country - when the people in the country were given the impression that the Klang Valley was "HFM-free"? Have the health and lives of Malaysians again been subordinated to the "higher interests of not frightening away tourists from Malaysia" as happened in the past?
In this connection, Abdullah should explain whether the Cabinet at its meeting on Wednesday had considered imposing an immediate closure of kindergartens and childcare centres throughout the country in view of the rise in HFM cases in several states, and if so, why the Cabinet decided against it; and if not, why not.
Furthermore, Abdullah should explain whether the Health Ministry could direct immediate closure of kindergartens and childcare centres in the country as a result of the HFM epidemic without first seeking Cabinet approval and in view of three fatalities. If the Health Ministry has to get Cabinet approval before imposing immediate closure of kindergartens and childcare centres to break the transmission of the virus, this would be the most hamfisted and incompetent way of fighting an epidemic which is fooling with the lives of young Malaysian children vulnerable to the virus attack as the Cabinet meets only once a week!
The Health Minister, Datuk Chua Jui Meng has gone into hibernation after his outburst a week ago rapping private specialist hospitals for dumping HFM patients on government hospitals.
Singapore seems to have broken the transmission of the HFB virus and
is re-opening kindergartens and childcare centres on Monday, while Malaysia
seems to be in the thick of the epidemic although Malaysia had more than
a month’s notice and warning to avoid its spread from the island republic.
Who must be held responsible for this shocking failure to protect
Malaysian children from the HFP epidemic?