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How can Chua Soi Lek pull up Klang General Hospital for its scandalous ambulance emergency response time causing avoidable death of Mohd Yusry last week when his response time to the incident is equally outrageous?


Media Statement  
by Lim Kit Siang  


(Parliament, Thursday) : Health Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Chua Soi Lek should explain how he could pull up the Klang General Hospital (Hospital Tengku Ampuan Rahimah HTAR) for its scandalous  emergency response time causing avoidable death of Mohd Yusry last week when his response time to the incident is equally outrageous.


It is more than a week since Mohd Yusry’s unnecessary death and Zara Davies Abdul Rahman’s account of her traumatic experience to get accident and emergency help to save the accident victim’s life, with no ambulance from HTAR turning up at the accident site near the Batu Tiga toll booth despite an hour’s wait. 


However  both Chua and the Health Director-General Tan Sri Dr. Ismail Merican had not publicly responded to the Mohd Yusry case, a serious case of hospital negligence,  for more than a week – a response time (or lack of response)  from the top leadership in the Health Ministry which is as reprehensible for the same indifference over the HTAR ambulance service.


Three months ago, Dr. Ismail Merican had said that “anything more than 15 minutes is unacceptable”  with regard to the emergency response times of Malaysian ambulances.


It is time to hold the Health Minister and Health Director-General responsible for negligences like the case of the avoidable death of Mohd Yusry, not over the direct causation for the loss of a life, but failure to take follow-up action to ensure that such negligence will not be repeated.


I have received emails expressing doubt and skepticism that any positive  changes in the health services can stem from  the public furore over  Mohd Yusry’s avoidable death, as  the rot in the system seemed to have gone too deep.


One way to ensure that there would be changes in the system is to hold the Health Minister and the Health Director-General personally responsible for their failure to publicly respond to such scandals and outrages.


One email from a retired  professional in the national health service who stays in Petaling Jaya complained:




“I  doubt very much if anything can be changed, or will change in the system as a result, because I think that it is too far gone!!...Sorry if I sound so negative, but its the whole wide, wide system in place...from the school system, the recruitment practices, the people who are promoted inspite of being known to be inefficient etc. 

”Basically all emergency systems should function 24/7...but what does one see in practice?...let me give you a few examples:

1. We were robbed by 4 parang wielding chaps at 6.00am, and we kept calling and calling 999, as soon as they left in a car but no one answered. We had to call PJ Police headquarters, to get them send some help, but when they finally came they just told me to go to the 'balai to make a report'...they were not at all interested in going after the robbers car!...When we got to the Police station and I complained about our futile attempts at calling 999 and getting no response...the policemans answer was "Lain kali jangan pangil 999, memang tiada orang jawab!!...terus pangil nombor Balai" question is are we all expected to know the telephone number of the nearest 'Balai Polis' all the time?

2. A former Senior specialist in GH KL after retirement he was re-employed in Trengganu, but  had chest pains in the early hours of the morning, when he was home in KL for the weekend. He had asked his wife to call for an ambulance,but though she kept trying for quite a while, no ambulance ever came until he passed away at home.

 3. Recently my friend who had previously been operated for cancer of the pancreas had severe abdominal pain at night at home in  PJ, when the wife kept calling for an ambulance she was told to take a taxi to the University Hospital!...he was later diagnosed as having a perforated stomach and operated in Selayang was just as well that the wife took him to the place where he had had the operation earlier and where all his records were kept!

4. Not too long ago when I was away in Johore I came back to find a few double storey terrace houses in Damansara Kim SS 20 burnt!!....this is a row of houses facing the Taman Tun Dr. Ismail Fire Station!!... so are we safe from a fire even if we are living next door to a fire station?

” I have given you an example of Police response to an emergency, two hospitals' responses to an urgent call for ambulance, and houses facing a fire station getting burnt down!

These examples are not rare in this country, gradually such instances are becoming the 'norm' is going to take a herculian effort of the whole system, to really identify the root causes, and have the POLITICAL WILL to DO WHAT IS RIGHT and TO PUT IT RIGHT...realise that it is more important to:

                                DOING THE RIGHT THING
                  before ,   DOING THE THING RIGHT!

I know it sounds a little confusing, and even teachers of English get confused, if you ask them which is more important...'which one first?'

Let me give you a simple example:

 When an accident victim is brought to the hospital...doing the Right thing would be to seek to do everything to keep the patient alive....doing the Thing, right would be to ask for the persons I/C to register him/her,ask for guarantee letter, look for the next of kin etc;...if we focus on the second thing...doing the thing Right...most emergencies entering the hospital will leave the hospital through the

 Having spent 32 years of my life with the Ministry of Health,(my late father spent 38 years of his life with KKM) I find that many senior officers can't see  the difference and in many situations, they often focus on the second as if it was more important! our culture beautfying hospitals is deemed more important than ensuring that the system works 24/7 even without the VIP's around!”


Malaysians have a right to expect and demand prompt and meaningful response time from the Health Minister and Health Director-General to these scandals happening under their bailiwick.



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

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