Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Thursday, 1st January 2009: 

Agree with Chua Soi Lek - Liow not doing enough to inform Malaysians about a deadly dengue epidemic in the country 

I agree with the former Health Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Chua Soi Lek that the Health Minister, Datuk Liow Tiong Lai has not done enough to inform the public about a deadly dengue epidemic in the country.

In fact, I had expressed my outrage 12 days ago at the “conspiracy of silence” perpetrated by Liow “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”.

After Chua expressed his alarm at the lack of publicity surrounding 106 dengue-related deaths recorded at Dec. 15, Liow has come out with the latest statistics of a total of 108 deaths out of 48,178 dengue cases reported as at Dec. 27.

Why is Liow so niggardly with data about dengue cases and deaths that he had to be compelled to release the latest statistics, when he should be constantly on radio, television and the printed media using these figures to warn Malaysians of the deadly dengue epidemic as well as the new chikungunya outbreak?

Liow is taking his responsibilities as Health Minister and the high dengue fatality too lightly!

How many times, for instance, had Liow seriously warned Malaysians about the deadly dengue epidemic since he became Health Minister so that they become national news whether in the various mass media?

Couldn’t Liow have done more in the past nine months to reduce the dengue cases and fatality rate with a high-powered nation-wide campaign involving all the relevant authorities to mobilize the public against the dengue epidemic, instead of stewing in a “conspiracy of silence”?

Twelve days ago, I had called on Liow to 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.

But Liow is not yet prepared to do this, even after 108 dengue deaths this year as at Dec. 27!

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