Cabinet on Wednesday should decide whether to recommend the dismissal of
Chua Jui Meng as Health Minister as he had not only failed the Seventh
Malaysia Plan target to keep the DHF case fatality rate (CFR) to less than
1%, the DHF CFR last year was 10% or 1,000 per cent higher than the target
and the highest percentage in his eight years as Health Minister
- at the launching
of the DAP nation-wide "worst dengue epidemic in Malaysia" awareness
campaign in Kampung Sungai
by Lim Kit Siang
The Cabinet on Wednesday should decide whether to recommend the dismissal of
Chua Jui Meng as Health Minister to the Prime Minister as Chua had not only
failed the Seventh Malaysia Plan target to keep the DHF case fatality rate (CFR)
to less than 1%, the DHF CFR last year was 10% or 1,000 per cent higher than
the government target and the highest percentage in his eight years in
In trying to justify his handling of the worst dengue epidemic in the
nation's history and to explain why the dengue epidemic is still raging
unchecked, causing unnecessary and avoidable deaths, Chua said on January 9
that the dengue situation in Malaysia was still endemic and had not reached
an epidemic. On the dengue death toll, Chua said Malaysia had been able to
keep the dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF) case fatality rate (CFR) to 10 per
cent (Berita Harian) as compared to other developing countries where the DHF
CFR was as high as 50% with some countries reaching 70%. (Sin Chew Daily)
Firstly, Chua had deliberately and irresponsibly tried to mislead the
Malaysian public claiming that dengue was still endemic and not yet reached
Dengue is endemic in Malaysia, as in the years from 1991 to 1995 when the
annual number of dengue cases ranged from 3,133 to 6,628 cases, but in 1997
and 1998, dengue became an epidemic when the number of dengue cases shot up
to 19,544 and 27,379 cases with 50 and 58 dengue deaths respectively -
returning to endemic condition in 1999 with 10,008 cases and in 2000 with
7,118 dengue cases.
The Health Ministry has conceded that there were 32,289 dengue cases as of
28th December last year , which already made last year even worse than 1998,
the previous worst year recorded for dengue.
Malaysia is currently facing not just an epidemic but a pandemic as warned
by the World Health Organisation (WHO) last July. Can Chua clarify as to how
many dengue cases must happen in Malaysia and how many more dengue deaths
must occur before he is prepared to admit to a dengue epidemic in the
However, what was more serious was his admission that the DHF case fatality
rate last year was 10%, which waa most alarming statement although it
received little notice at the time. (I also did not give it much notice as
it was the same day that I was slashed with a knife in an attempted
The first question was why Chua should compare Malaysia with the worst
countries in the world instead of with the best - or just with Malaysia's
own past public health record?
The WHO had declared in a April 2002 document: "Without proper treatment,
DHF case fatality rates can exceed 20%. With appropriate intensive
supportive therapy, mortality may be reduced to less than 1%". (http://www.who.int/inf-fs/en/fact117.html)
It was most shocking that Chua seemed to have forgotten that under the
Seventh Malaysia Plan, the target for DHF case fatality rate was "not more
than 1%". How could Chua publicly boast that Malaysia's DHF case fatality
rate last year was 10 per cent when it was 1,000 per cent higher than the
government target of less than 1%, the highest percentage in his eight years
as Health Minister and way off the WHO international standard?
In his statement on 9th January, Chua said as of December 28 last year,
4.080 million premises were inspected and 11.5 million premises fogged.
Abate was used in another 214,128 premises while 1,617 gotong royong
activities were carried out to clean up breeding areas.
In the same period, RM2.134 million in fines was collected from 19,184
compounds issued and court action was taken against 550 people who paid
fines totaling RM22,620. A total of 45 premises were closed.
Chua had missed the point completely, as either he could not or refused to
understand that what the public want are real-time information and full data
of the worst dengue epidemic in the nation's history, with state and weekly
breakdown of dengue cases and fatalities for last year and this year, which
are essential for any nation-wide awareness campaign of the worst dengue
epidemic to befall the nation and to save lives by stopping any more
avoidable dengue deaths.
Yesterday, I had asked point-blank whether the number of dengue deaths in
the country last year were in three digits or in the region of a hundred
deaths and not just 57, and whether there were some 20 dengue deaths last
year in the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur alone - but there had been no
responses from Chua.
After more than six months of the worst dengue epidemic in the nation's
history, over 95% of the people should be alert and aware of the basic
information about the deadly dengue disease, the aedes mosquitoes and the
do's and don'ts to prevent DHF, but the opposite is the case - i.e. more
than 95% of the Malaysian population are ignorant about these basic
The DAP's "worst dengue epidemic in Malaysia" awareness campaign is to do
what the Health Ministry has failed to do - to make all Malaysians quickly
aware in the shortest possible time the do's and don'ts in a dengue epidemic
and the basic information about the deadly dengue disease, that Aedes
aegypti mosquito is the most important vector of dengue, that it transmits
dengue via bite only, that it bites during daytime, and that it breeds in
clean still water in containers around the home and neighbouring
Earlier this morning, I was in Port Dickson and visited the family of one of
the latest dengue casualties, 13-year-old boy S.Vickneswaran, youngest in a
family of three siblings from Kampung Bengali, Port Dickson, who died of
dengue in the Seremban General Hospital on Tuesday.
It is most shocking that one of the latest dengue deaths should take place
in the constituency of the parliamentary secretary to the Ministry of
Health, S. Solinathan - a measure of the failure of the government's
Vickneswaran's death, just as the three dengue deaths in Kampung Sungai
Kerayong - the two Wazir sisters, Siti Zalikha Mohd. Wazir, 11, and Siti
Zaharah, 13, who died within two days of each other on Christmas Day on Dec.
25 and 27 respectively and Wong Pui San, 13, Form II student with Bukit
Nanas Convent with 5As in UPSR who died at the Tung Shin hospital on January
11, 2003 - were all unnecessary and avoidable if there had been nation-wide
alert and awareness of the worst dengue epidemic in the country.
DAP calls on radio, television and the print media to fully participate in a
high-impact media campaign to create nation-wide alert and awareness about
the worst dengue epidemic which is still raging unchecked to stop further
unnecessary and avoidable deaths. DAP and DAPSY leaders will meet the
editors of the print and electronic media, including radio and television,
to seek their co-operation to bring the worst dengue epidemic under control
and to save lives.
Lim Kit Siang, DAP National