Media Statement (4) by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Tuesday, 18th August 2009:
Najib should convene an all-party conference involving all MPs and State Assembly members to launch a national emergency campaign in view of worsening A (H1N1) pandemic
Death toll from the A (H1N1) continues to mount unchecked and relentlessly, adding three more fatalities to a grand total of 67, the latest victims being a 71-year-old man, a 10-year-old girl and a 33-year old woman.
There has been considerable confusion emanating from the Health Ministry, for instance, whether a national health emergency due to the killer pandemic has been declared, as reported by some media, and what it implies.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said a health curfew would only be considered if the mortality rate goes above 0.4 per cent. He said the country’s mortality rate for A(H1N1) flu is currently between 0.1 per cent and 0.4 per cent.
It is clear that the Health Minister has no real notion of what is the current mortality rate for A(H1N1) as the statement that the current mortality rate between 0.1 per cent and 0.4 per cent is quite meaningless.
As of yesterday, there had been 4,225 reported cases and 64 deaths from A (H1N1) flu, which would give a mortality rate of 1.51%, about four times the 0.4% mortality rate Liow mentioned as the trigger point to impose health curfews.
However, if this is overstating the mortality rate, then are the actual data both for A (H1N1) flu cases and fatalities in Malaysia?
If as contended by Liow that Malaysia’s mortality rate from A (H1N1) is between 0.1 per cent and 0.4 per cent, then a death toll of 64 will mean a range of total flu cases from 64,000 to 256,000 cases! Is Liow admitting to such figures?
Be that as it may, such uncertainties are not conducive to strengthening public confidence in the Health Ministry’s response to the A(H1N1) killer pandemic.
The A (H1N1) killer pandemic and counter-strategy must be seriously tabled in the Cabinet tomorrow and the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak should convene an all-party conference involving all MPs and State Assembly members to launch a national emergency campaign in view of worsening situation involving all Malaysian leaders, regardless of race, religion or political beliefs.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor