Email to Selangor Mentri Besar as to what
the Selangor state government is doing to wipe out the state's image as the
"black state for dengue", with over 140 % higher incidence of dengue cases
and over 1,000% cases of dengue deaths than Singapore although both have
same population of over 4.1 million
by Lim Kit Siang
Last week, with great fanfare, the Selangor state government announced that
the public can now communicate with the Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri
Dr. Mohd Khir Toyo with the launch of his website, www.mbselangor.com, on
5th February 2003.
Mohd Khir said the website enables the public to share views, comments and
grouses via a forum and that only he and another officer would be authorized
to read the emails. This would ensure privacy when the people communicate
He said there were numerous avenues for the public to obtain information but
not all gave precise information.
Mohd Khir said when launching his own website: "This site will ensure that
the information given is as accurate as possible, while allowing members of
the public to share their views."
I visited the website and found that it is totally devoid of timely, useful
or accurate information about what is happening in Selangor.
For instance, one of the biggest concerns of the people of Selangor is the
dengue epidemic in the state, as Selangor leads the country as the state
which is the worst affected by the dengue epidemic currently raging in the
country, with the most number of dengue cases and deaths. Nobody can dispute
if Selangor is called the "Black State for Dengue" in Malaysia.
But there is no information on www.mbselangor.com about the deadly dengue
epidemic in Selangor and the basic do's and don'ts which must have become
the second nature of everyone in Selangor after about a year of the dengue
outbreak in the state so as to stop more unnecessary and avoidable deaths.
There is not only a total lack of information about the deadly dengue
outbreak on the Selangor Mentri Besar's website, the Selangor state
government website, http://www.selangor.gov.my/, is also utterly useless in
I advise the Selangor Mentri Besar, all State Exco members and Selangor
state government officials to study and digest the report by Chandra Devi in
New Straits Times Computimes yesterday, entitled "Getting outdated info on
Web sites", which should be a "must" reading for all Federal and state
government leaders and officials.
It is sad and tragic that despite all the exhortations by the Prime
Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad in the past seven years about the
Multimedia Super Corridor, the seven flagship applications, e-Government so
that Malaysia can take the quantum leap in the information revolution to be
at the cutting edge of information and communications technology, the
overwhelming majority of the Federal and state government leaders are still
in the bullock-cart age as far as IT mentality and mindset are concerned.
All the pleas, advice and warnings of the Prime Minister to the national and
state government leaders and officers to be IT-literate and savvy in the
past seven years have simply gone down the drain!
As a result, the Malaysian government has probably carved out a niche for
itself in the IT world in having uploaded the most number of useless "cobwebsites"
on the Internet - which often do worse than the "outdated info" referred to
in the Computimes report as they never had any relevant information in the
The indictment of government websites by Chandra Devi in the Computimes,
that they are quickly forgotten and left with outdated information after "so
much pomp and splendour" and investment, bears reflection by Mohd Khir.
I have availed myself of the newly-launched website by the Selangor Mentri
Besar to send him an email on the dengue epidemic in the state, which reads:
YB Mentri Besar,
Congratulations for pioneering a website with a commitment to read and
answer the emails yourself.
One of the biggest worries of the people in Selangor is the uncontrolled
dengue epidemic, which has continued to cause unnecessary and avoidable
Selangor leads the country as the state which is the worst affected by the
dengue epidemic currently raging in the country, with the most number of
dengue cases and deaths and can be lablled as the 'Black State for Dengue'
On 6th January 2003, the Selangor Exco member in charge of health, Datuk
Tang See Hang said that until December 14 of last year, there were 8,710
dengue cases and 13 deaths, which well exceeded the next three states with
the highest incidence of dengue cases, namely Kuala Lumpur with 6,342 cases
and two deaths; Johore with 3,649 cases and 15 deaths and Perak's 2,812
cases and 10 deaths.
Last month, Sin Chew Daily quoted official sources as stating that as of
28th December 2002, Selangor last year reported 9,385 dengue cases and 15
deaths, which still led Kuala Lumpur's 6,723 cases and two deaths, Johore's
4,012 cases and 16 deaths and Perak's 3,164 cases and 10 deaths.
The Sun of 11.1.2003 reported that there were a total of 9,380 dengue cases
in Selangor last year, with the following breakdown in the state:
Petaling Jaya 829
Ampang Jaya 763
Sabak Bernam 454
Kuala Langat 391
Hulu Selangor 361
Kuala Lumpur 101
Neither the Selangor State Government nor
the Health Ministry had released full, accurate and timely official figures
for dengue cases and dengue deaths in Selangor State. However, it is
indisputable that Selangor is the worst dengue state in the current dengue
epidemic with some 9,400 dengue cases last year.
Selangor has almost the same population as Singapore, more than 4.1 million.
Last July, the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned the countries in the
region, including Malaysia and Singapore, to take preventive measures
against a dengue epidemic which could be as bad as the worst recorded year
for dengue epidemic in 1998.
After a rise in the incidence of dengue fever in Singapore in August and
September, the Singapore government announced in November that its
anti-dengue campaign had successfully brought the dengue outbreak under
control. For the whole of last year, Singapore reported a total of 3,937
dengue cases and eight Dengue Haemorrhage Fever (DHF) cases.
Selangor in contrast had some 9,400 dengue cases last year or some 140 per
cent higher incidence than Singapore. Furthermore, the number of dengue
deaths in Selangor in the dengue epidemic will be in the order of more than
1,000 per cent higher when compared to Singapore!
On Saturday, I visited Taman Nirwana, Ampang, Selangor with DAP MP for Bukit
Bintang, Fong Kui Lun, DAP MP for Cheras, Tan Kok Wai and DAP National
Publicity Secretary, Ronnie Liu and was shocked to find that there were five
dengue deaths in the area in the past two months - and there could be many
other deaths in the same locality which have not come to our knowledge.
We visited the families of three dengue
fatalities but have not been able to visit the families of two other dengue
deaths, a 35-year-old Malay teacher and a six-year-old Malay boy. The three
dengue fatalities, whose families we met, were:
1. Muzammir bin Mokhtar, 39, businessman, of
No. 10, Jalan Nirwana 24, Taman Nirwana, Ampang, who died at Ampang Puteri
Hospital, Ampang on 19th December 2002. He left behind a widow, who had been
medically boarded out from her former position as a bank secretary because
of chronic illness and four school-going children.
2. Wan Muhammad Riaz bin Borhannuddin, 10,
of 16, Jalan Nirwana 15, Taman Nirwana, Ampang, who died at Kampung Baru
Medical Centre on 17th January 2003.
3. Chai Nyak Lan, 45, housewife, of 12,
Jalan Nirwana 15, Taman Nirwana, Ampang who died at Ampang Puteri Specialist
Hospital on 25th January 2003.
I am sending this email to ask why Selangor
has 140% higher incidence of dengue cases and more than 1,000 per cent
dengue deaths than Singapore although both have almost the same population
of slightly over 4.1 million people, why Singapore's could successful bring
the dengue epidemic under control with its anti-dengue campaign while in
Selangor, the dengue epidemic has entered an even more critical state than
last year - although both received the same WHO warning last July.
A prompt email replay would be appreciated.
Lim Kit Siang
National Chairman, Democratic Action Party
18th February 2003
Lim Kit Siang, DAP National