Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Wednesday, 28th January 2009:
Abdullah should appoint a new Health Minister if Liow Tiong Lai is incapable on being an effective commander-in-chief in an all-out war against the worsening dengue epidemic to check continuing avoidable loss of lives
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should appoint a new Health Minister if Datuk Liow Tiong Lai is incapable of being an effective commander-in-chief in an all-out war against the worsening dengue epidemic to check continuing avoidable loss of lives.
In contrast to his long protracted silence on the dengue epidemic last year, which had recorded the highest number of 49,335 dengue cases and 112 dengue deaths in the nation's history, Liow has been making weekly statements on the dengue epidemic this year.
The Health Minister's weekly statements about the dengue epidemic however does not constitute an all-out war against dengue and will do nothing to save lives and mitigate suffering.
Liow has squandered his 10 months as Health Minister in indifference and inaction over the dengue epidemic last year when right from the beginning he should have spearheaded an all-war against the dengue epidemic, inspired by the motto that an avoidable dengue death is one death too many.
Over 50 per cent of the 112 lives lost to dengue last year were preventable, which make Liow's failures all the more deplorable.
In the first 23 days of this month, 12 people had died of dengue and the number of cases had doubled to 4,221 compared with 2,153 for the same period last year.
It is most odd and strange that in his weekly statements on the dengue epidemic this month, Liow had studiously avoided reference to the worst dengue epidemic last year chalking the highest number of dengue cases and deaths in the nation's history.
Why is Liow persisting in his denial as if the dengue epidemic started only on January 1 this year, when it is a continuation of the dengue epidemic last year?
There should not be a phoney or "P.R." war against dengue. The war against dengue must a a real and full-throttled one.
If Liow is incapable of leading a war against dengue to make up for his ministerial indifference and inaction of the past 10 months by spearheading a nation-wide anti-dengue mobilizationt, he should ask Abdullah for a switch of ministerial portfolios to end the rising spiral of avoidable dengue deaths in the country.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor