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

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya,  Tuesday): 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,, 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 with him.

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 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,, is also utterly useless in this regard.

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officials to study and digest the report by Chandra Devi in New Straits Times Computimes yesterday, entitled "Getting outdated info on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 first place.

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 deaths.

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' in Malaysia.

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:

Selayang              1,922
Subang                 1,782
Shah Alam            1,155
Petaling Jaya          829
Ampang Jaya         763
Klang                         37
Kajang                     513
Sabak Bernam       454
Kuala Langat          391
Hulu Selangor         361
Sepang                   339
Klang                       233
Kuala Lumpur         101

Total                     9,380

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.

Yours sincerely,

Lim Kit Siang
National Chairman, Democratic Action Party
18th February 2003


* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman