Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Friday, 19th December 2008: 

Outraged at over 100 dengue deaths and over 45,000 dengue cases with no leadership or public campaign by Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai to stem the worst dengue epidemic in country’s history

I feel totally outraged at the conspiracy of silence involving the government headed by the Health Minister, Datuk Liow Tiong Lai and even the media to play down the worst dengue epidemic in the country’s history which has to date claimed 100 lives and recorded over 45,000 dengue cases.

It came as a shock to me, as it must be to all Malaysians, that 100 lives have been lost to dengue in the first 50 weeks of this year.

No mainstream newspaper headlined or even reported this shocking news or that the country is facing the worst dengue epidemic in history, which has been confirmed by the latest dengue statistics by the Director, Disease Control Division, Ministry of Health, Datuk Dr. Hassan Abdul Rahman yesterday that dengue fever claimed two more victims last week, bringing the number of fatal cases in the country to 100.

Dr. Hassan did not give the latest total number of dengue cases in the country as on December 13, 2008 when they have also established a dubious new record of exceeding 45,000 cases – which is another shocker that the total number of dengue cases have crossed the 40,000 mark even before the full year is over.

Liow should explain why there is a conspiracy of silence to play down the worst dengue epidemic in the country when he should be spearheading a nation-wide anti-dengue public campaign to save lives by reducing avoidable deaths as well as mitigate considerable unnecessary sufferings?

Liow should end this conspiracy of silence by spearheading a nation-wide anti-dengue campaign as well as making public all the available facts and figures about the worst dengue epidemic confronting the country, with week-by-week data of dengue cases and fatalities, not only nationally but also on a state-by-state basis.

It has been reported that Malaysia has the first fatal case of Chikungunya, which was completely unheard of recently.

Again, no proper ministerial leadership had been provided by Liow to educate the Malaysian public about this emerging disease in the country.
It will be sad and tragic if the Health Minister of the country is only interested about Sime Darby Bhd’s takeover of the National Heart Institute but not concerned about maintaining high standards of public health in the country.

* Lim Kit Siang,  DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor