Spate of mishaps and scandals in the first two weeks of the new year should sound the alarm that there is not only  no  better and more effective  government delivery system as promised by Pak Lah, but Malaysia  runs the risk of turning the clock back in efficiency,  accountability, transparency  and integrity


Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Sunday): The spate of mishaps and scandals in the first two weeks of the new year should sound the alarm that there is not only  no  better and  more effective  government delivery system as promised by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, but Malaysia  runs the risk of turning the clock back in efficiency, accountability, transparency and integrity if urgent and radical action is not taken to stop the rot. 

Whether on health, education,  basic utilities like power and water, human rights, good governance, things have started to go wrong one after another in the short span of the first half-month of the new year, such as the belated sounding of the dengue epidemic alert after the most number of dengue cases last year, a five-hour five-state power outage, the crisis of the human right of Malaysians to access to affordable and quality water, the scandalous incident of the trigger-happy enforcement officer of the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry injuring a VCD peddler in Penang with his firearm, unabated corruption, etc.

I will just comment on three items: 

(1) Dengue outbreak  

Unknown to Malaysians, last year 2004 saw  the worst dengue epidemic in the nationís history with 33,203 dengue cases, although the number of dengue deaths at 58 fatalities was not as bad as 99 and 72 for 2002 and 2003 respectively, as illustrated by the following data  for the past 14 years from 1991 Ė 2004: 

Malaysia: Number of dengue cases and deaths (1999-2005) 

Year                Cases Reported       Deaths 

1991               6,628                         39

1992               5,473                         24

1993               5,615                         23

1994               3,133                         13

1995               6,543                         28

1996               14,255                        30

1997               19,544                        50

1998              27,379                        58

1999               10,146                        37

2000                 7,146                        45

2001               16,368                        50

2002               32,767                        99

2003               31,043                        72

2004               33,203                        58

2005                 2,126                        01 

Grave issues of efficiency of the government delivery system, accountability, transparency and good governance cry out for answer, in particular: 

(i)          Why did   the Health Minister, Datuk Dr. Chua Soi Lek take so long to sound the nation-wide dengue epidemic alert, which was made only on January 7, 2005, one week in the new year after 2004 had recorded the worst number of dengue cases in the nationís history.  Why had the new Health Minister and the top Health Ministry officials responsible for public health been so unprofessional as to sleep  on their job last year, utterly indifferent and  unconcerned that the country was undergoing its  worst dengue epidemic in the number of reported dengue cases, although the dengue fatalities was the third worst year after 2002 and 2003? 

(ii)        Why did the former Health Minister, Datuk Chua Jui Meng mislead Parliament and the nation two years ago in manipulating and minimizing the actual gravity of the dengue epidemic which started from the second half of 2002, when it was the worst dengue epidemic in the nationís history at the time, both in the number of dengue cases and dengue deaths?  There were 32,767 dengue cases and 99 deaths in 2003 but Chua Jui Meng deliberately misled Parliament on March 11, 2002 when he said during question-time that there were only 11,394 dengue cases and 57 dengue deaths in  2002.  

With such a disgraceful history in the mishandling of the dengue epidemic year after year, how can the Malaysian public continue to  have trust and confidence  in Ministry of Health and its Minister to be responsible for the health and welfare of the Malaysian population? 

(2) Pak Lahís campaign against corruption has been turned into a farce and joke by the five Sarawak deputy ministers 

All the five Sarawak Federal deputy ministers have denied that they had been  investigated by the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA)

The  five deputy ministers from Sarawak at the federal level are  Datuk Joseph Salang Gandum (Foreign Affairs), Datuk Robert Lau Hoi Chew (Housing and Local Government), Datuk Dr Tiki Lafe (Rural and Regional Development), Datuk Douglas Uggah Embas (Transport) and Joseph Entulu Belaun (Prime Ministerís Department). 

Douglas Uggah Embas had  announced that the five Sarawak deputy ministers will meet in Parliament during the special sitting tomorrow  to discuss their next course of action  deputy minister should own up publicly of being investigated by the ACA. 

It would appear that none of the five Sarawak deputy ministers is  aware of the National Integrity Plan and the importance of political leaders particularly those  in government to set an example of integrity and incorruptibility.

the identity of the Sarawak deputy minister under ACA probe and who had told a public lie, and declare what he proposes to do with the deputy minister who is now guilty of a public lie on top of being under  ACA  investigation. 

(3) Grave risks and dangers arising from   Barisan Nasionalís nine-tenth parliamentary majority

limits  the power of the Federal Government and Parliament to trespass and transgress on prerogative  powers of state governments Ė in this case, water jurisdiction -  without first getting the consent by way of request of the  state legislative assemblies. 

I urge the Prime Minister to support the DAP proposal to refer  the  Constitution Amendment Bill 2004 to a Select Committee before a  second reading vote  by Parliament to allow for detailed study and extensive public consultation, particularly on water privatization and the  federalization of  water management, and most important of all, compliance with Article 76(1)© for request to Parliament  for the constitutional amendment to be made by the State Legislative Assemblies.


* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman