DAP to lodge official complaint with Suhakam tomorrow at the rampant
violation of the most basic of all human rights - the right to life - as a
result of the mishandling of the worst dengue epidemic in the nation's
history which could have caused some one hundred dengue deaths
Media Conference Statement
- during the visit
to the family of 13-year-old S. Vickneswaran from Kampung Bengali who died
of dengue on Tuesday
by Lim Kit Siang
DAP will provide free legal services to M. Thana Letchumy, 43, to sue the
Port Dickson general hospital and the Health Ministry for negligence
resulting in the death of her youngest son, S. Vickneswaran from dengue in
the Seremban General Hospital on Tuesday, 21st January 2003.
Vickneswaran, 13, had fever on Monday, 13th January and was seen by a
private general practitioner who prescribed three days of medication. When
Thana brought Vickneswaran back to the private clinic on Thursday night
because of continuing fever, the general practitioner recommended that the
boy be sent to the general hospital for a dengue check-up.
When Vickneswaran was taken to the Port Dickson general hospital on Friday,
he was given a blood test and cleared of dengue and sent home after more
There was no fever for the next two days, but by Sunday night, fever
returned together with dysentery. On Monday morning, when Vickneswaran was
brought back to the Port Dickson general hospital with high fever, he was in
critical condition and referred to the Seremban General Hospital, where he
was later admitted into the CCU. Vickneswaran died on Tuesday morning.
Thana believes that her son would be alive today if he had been admitted
into the Port Dickson General Hospital for dengue observation when
Vickneswaran was first referred to the PD general hospital by the private
practitioner the previous Friday..
After more than six months of the worst dengue epidemic in the nation's
history, the Health Ministry's dengue public awareness campaign is such a
failure that Thana said that it never occurred to her that her son could be
suffering from dengue when he first had fever. There were also other cases
of dengue in the Kampung Bengali area.
Vickneswaran's death is totally unnecessary and avoidable, raising anew the
question who actually was the killer - the killer aedes mosquitoes or
Ministerial failure to bring the worst dengue epidemic under control after
more than six months of WHO warning of a dengue pandemic last July and to
eliminate all killer aedes mosquitoes as the Singapore government and people
had succeeded in doing.
DAP lawyers under the leadership of DAP Deputy National Chairman Karpal
Singh are available to provide free legal services arising from unnecessary
and avoidable deaths in the dengue epidemic. Vickneswaran's case will be
dealt with by John Fernandez from the DAP Negri Sembilan state leadership.
There have recently been a spate of grave human rights violations - whether
violations of the right to the freedom of speech, expression, the press,
information, assembly, association or development, but these human rights
violations pale into total insignificance when compared to the worst dengue
epidemic in the nation's history when the right to life - the most important
of all human rights - are denied and snuffed out because of gross
Ministerial mishandling of the dengue epidemic.
I will lodge my first human rights complaint to the Suhakam arising from the
totally unnecessary and avoidable deaths in the nation's worst dengue
epidemic which is still raging unchecked, claiming more and more human
DAP will lodge the official complaint with Suhakam in Kuala Lumpur at 12
noon tomorrow at the rampant violation of the most basic of all human rights
- the right to life - as a result of the mishandling of the worst dengue
epidemic in the nation's history which could have caused some one hundred
The Health Ministry claims that 57 people died of dengue last year but I had
pointedly asked the Health Minister whether the final death toll last year
from the dengue epidemic could have reached the century level, without
taking into account the dengue deaths this year.
Human life is the most fundamental human right of all, as without life, all
the other human rights cease to exist. It is time that Suhakam recognize the
right to life as the most fundamental human right and protect it as the most
basic of all human rights of Malaysians by ensuring that there is an
effective strategy to bring the dengue epidemic under control to end the
rising toll of unnecessary and avoidable deaths.
Lim Kit Siang, DAP National