Media Statement (3) by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Friday, 31st July 2009:
A(H1N1) and Dengue killer epidemics – Tiong Lai should take leave from MCA party duties to lead a 24/7 national campaign, resign as Health Minister or take leave as Health Minister so that a “full time” Health Minister can provide leadership
It is shocking that instead of leading the national war against the double epidemics of A(H1N1) and dengue, the Health Minister, Datuk Liow Tiong Lai is leading the national blame game with the MCA-owned Star putting him on the front-page headline news blaming “the lack of vigilance by members of the public and even some doctors”.
Let me tell Tiong Lai. Don’t blame others. If you want to blame somebody, blame yourself for failing to provide the needed leadership to mobilize Malaysians to fight the double epidemics as Health Minister.
Liow does not seem to be a Health Minister who is confronted with the two killer epidemics, with A(H1N1) claiming four deaths and recording a total number of 1,302 cases while dengue has killed 64 and recorded 26,446 cases since January, set to break even last year’s worst dengue epidemic of 49,335 cases and 112 casualties.
The worse is yet to come for both deadly epidemics.
At a recent briefing to the National Influenza Pandemic Task Force meeting (July 27, 2009), Dr Tee Ah Sian, director of communicable diseases of WHO, painted a possible scenario for the Malaysian A (H1N1) pandemic.
For our 27.7 million population, if simply 20% are at risk and exposed, then some 5.5 million people will contract the A (H1N1) flu. Based on other serious influenza statistics, if 2% to 9% require hospitalisation then, some 110,000 to 500,000, respectively, would need hospital care.
If the case fatality rate is estimated to be from 0.1% to 0.5%, then some 5,500 to 28,000 of infected patients would die, respectively.
In the latest updates of the most seriously ill patients identified and confirmed infections, the global case fatality rate has risen from the 0.4% to 0.66%.
As Health Minister facing such a possible national catastrophe, Liow should fully focus all his time and energies to lead and mobilize Malaysians to combat the A(H1N1) and dengue epidemics, even on a 24/7 basis, doing nothing else but getting the two killer epidemics under control.
But Liow is not doing this as he is more engrossed with the MCA internal power struggle between the MCA President Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat and the MCA Deputy President Datuk Dr. Chua Soi Lek, ignoring his responsibilities as Health Minister who should be spending every ounce of his energy and every second of his waking hours on the two killer epidemics!
Liow should seriously take leave from all MCA party duties so as to be able to concentrate fully and completely on combating the A(H1N1) and dengue epidemics or he should resign and let another person take over as Health Minister who is prepared to completely focus on the two killer epidemics until they are brought under check.
Yesterday, my blog received a typical complaint by a distraught parent, viz:
Over to you, Liow. If Liow is not prepared to go “full time” as Health Minister to spearhead the national war against these two killer epidemics and wants to continue to dabble in the MCA power struggle, and also not prepared to resign as Health Minister, he should take leave as Health Minister from the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak so that a “full time” Health Minister can take over the battle against the two killer epidemics.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor