Call on Chua Jui Meng to immediately remove the "gag" on full data on
the worst dengue epidemic in the nation's history as the flimsy excuse of
the NAM Summit is no more
by Lim Kit Siang
Friday): The Health Ministry
parliamentary secretary S. Sothinathan yesterday claimed that the worst
dengue epidemic in the nation's history "is under control" and that the
number of cases has "come down very much" over the last two weeks. (The Sun)
Sothinathan however would not provide statistics, and the inferences that
pop up in everyone's mind are a "cover up" of the dengue epidemic, that the
"cover-up" is continuing and that the worst dengue epidemic in the nation's
history is still raging with all its fury, unchecked.
Sothinathan, who is a party to the Health Ministry's mishandling of the
worst dengue epidemic in Malaysia in refusing to release timely, accurate
and full information about the deadly dengue disease, had only aggravated
the worst credibility gap faced by the Health Ministry in the past 45 years
since the attainment of independent nationhood in 1957 by continuing to hide
behind the web of secrecy.
Common sense says that Sothinathan would have unveiled all the statistics of
dengue cases and fatalities to substantiate his claims that the dengue
epidemic is under control and that there had been a sharp drop in the
incidence of dengue cases and fatalities over the past two weeks - as these
figures would speak for themselves. Sothinathan's refusal to release the
dengue data is most ominous, to say the least.
Even before the Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Khir Toyo confirmed
in his email to me on Monday about a Cabinet directive to impose a
"blackout" on all information about the dengue epidemic this year, I had
already been privately informed by various Health Ministry officials in both
the medical and health departments about the "blackout" and that it was to
ensure that the success of the NAM Summit would not be marred in any way by
a possible dengue scare.
I was told that once NAM Summit was over, the "media blackout" on the dengue
epidemic would be lifted and that an all-out nation-wide campaign would be
launched to alert the people to take preventive measures to put an end to
the long list of unnecessary and avoidable deaths from dengue.
I am shocked and outraged that the Health Minister, Datuk Chua Jui Meng had
not yet removed the "gag" on full data on the worst dengue epidemic in the
nation's history, although the 13th NAM Summit ended on Tuesday, and three
days have since passed.
I call on Chua to immediately remove the "gag" on the dengue epidemic as the
flimsy excuse of the NAM Summit is no more.
The dengue epidemic has become so widespread, prevalent and rampant that
there is hardly a person who does not know of someone who had been struck
down by the current dengue epidemic.
The following article on the Malaysian Medical Relief Society (MERCY
Malaysia) website, http://www.mercy.org.my/cgi-bin/pitstop.pl?req=articles&id=390,
on "Combating Dengue" by Jeswan Kaur/Aseezah Jameelah early this month is
The article started as follows:
"The word dengue may sound 'harmless' but it
is well known that dengue kills. This writer can personally attest to this.
A friend's 20-year-old daughter passed away just last year because of the
"MERCY Malaysia, while carrying its staple
duties, realised the need to educate its members, volunteers and staff on
the dangers of dengue. Many of us might think we will never contract this
deadly dengue - but remember, it could happen to anyone and prevention is
better than no cure at all!
"MERCY Malaysia's chief operating officer
Mohd Shah Awaluddin could attest to the pain that comes with dengue fever.
He first experienced the anguish a few months ago when he saw a friend's
daughter succumb to it.
"'She was only six, the same age as my
daughter. I saw blood oozing out from her eyes, ears etc. I realised it
could have been my daughter...it brought tears to my eyes,' said Mohd Shah.
"Then last month he learnt a former
classmate had passed away due to dengue. To add to his shock, Mohd Shah's
younger brother, a father of five, was admitted to the Seremban general
hospital for dengue fever.
"'I was so scared because at one point his
blood platelet was as low as 15, compared to the normal count of 150 and
above. Thank God my brother managed to pull through and is doing all right
now,' said Mohd Shah."
What is most shocking is the "could not care less" attitude and
apathy of the Health Minister and his parliamentary secretary to the
unnecessary and avoidable human tragedies caused by the dengue epidemic,
which the World Health Organisation (WHO) had warned as far back as eight
months ago last July.
Next Thursday, DAP will lodge a third report to Suhakam on the
blatant, unrepentant and relentless violation of the human rights of the
people of Malaysia by the Health Ministry in its continued mishandling of
the worst dengue epidemic in the nation's history.
Lim Kit Siang, DAP National