Agree with Chua Soi Lek – Liow not doing enough to inform Malaysians about a deadly dengue epidemic

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 fatalities 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 top national news 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!

  1. #1 by k1980 on Thursday, 1 January 2009 - 11:37 am

    News about a deadly dengue epidemic in the country would scare away foreign tourists, in the same way as the closure of the Bangkok airport a few weeks ago had caused many pissed-off tourists to steer clear away from Thailand. Then Liow would be sacked by umno for causing the decline in tourist earnings

  2. #2 by ch on Thursday, 1 January 2009 - 1:50 pm

    Dear All,

    After the appointment of Liow Tiong Lai (LTL) as the Health Minister, we noticed the apparent usual characteristics of our government department at work, particularly during transition period i.e. the predecessor may not have adequately briefed his successor on important files and outstanding issues. Even if he has been briefed, the successor may not have the readiness or inborn aptitude to take immediate actions on activities reported. Then you may have a situation whereby the “big wigs” in the respective ministeries are awaiting new orders from the newly minted Minister. This is probably due to these “big wigs” wanting to gauge or check out the management style of their new boss. In other words, the entire ministry may come to a stand down until clearer instructions are instructed. However, unfortunately, the newly minted Minister himself is struggling to familiarise into his newly found environment and the extremely lack of cooperation from his predecessor had exacerbated the already difficult position he is in.

    My take is that the Health Ministry has uncountable able hands in its department and they should just carry out their duties as normal and effectively regardless who is the new boss helming the ministry. Dengue outbreak should be an on-going battle for the health ministry and Malaysians themselves must also exercise the necessary caution particularly during rainy season where the outbreak will be at its height. It is also important for Malaysians to take the trouble to equip themselves with necessary knowledge and information regarding the disease. Sadly, many Malaysians will only start to learn these steps when they themselves are down with the disease.

  3. #3 by simon041155 on Thursday, 1 January 2009 - 3:14 pm

    Well, I think Liow doesn’t want to alarm the nation. It has always been MCA’s policy to “work quietly behind the scene.” That is if I did not gather wrongly from their most recent 2008 election manisfesto. It’s a good policy because if you do that, then no one will know whether you are working or not working. Even when you are not working, people may still think you are working, LOL.

  4. #4 by sinnerconman on Thursday, 1 January 2009 - 4:14 pm

    This minister liow is a perfect licking dog for bn and due to his impotency, working behind the scene, or counting his money behind the scene, the health of the nation is going down the drain.

    He should go for complete medical examination including his mental assessment.

  5. #5 by Jong on Thursday, 1 January 2009 - 4:32 pm

    MCA has been and will always be nothing more than a ‘running dog’ to UMNO. Whatever they do, the interest and reputation of their master comes first, then only the party and the rakyat. Dengue no dengue, deadly epidemic or not, does it matter?
    Lives of rakyat is immaterial, tourist dollars comes first as dictate by the government? Shame on you Liow!

    They are still kidding themselves, as if they aren’t aware UMNO-led Govt, is UMNO Govt that has never considered Barusan Nasional(BN) component parties as equal partners all along, worse since GE-12 on 8 March 2008 when the spineless lot were rejected by the very communities they unashamedly claim to represent!

  6. #6 by ringthetill on Thursday, 1 January 2009 - 6:59 pm

    Agreed.There should have been more publicity to create greater public awareness of the dangers, and also give advice on precautionary actions. The silence by the Health Minister tantamounts to negligence of duty!
    Is he still learning the ropes or is he afraid of stirring the hornet’s nest? Either way he has to take on the responsibility and do it fast.

  7. #7 by ringthetill on Thursday, 1 January 2009 - 7:02 pm

    And, may I wish everyone A Happy and Successful New Year.

  8. #8 by k1980 on Thursday, 1 January 2009 - 7:25 pm

    Sorry to be off-topic but it is clear that PKR’s Kapar MP Manickuvusugum has been bought over by BN to cause a rift between the Hindus on one hand and the other ethnic groups on the other. A few million ringgit can cause one to sell out his comrades. Let’s pray that DAP MPs will not fall prey to this BN trap.

  9. #9 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Thursday, 1 January 2009 - 8:07 pm

    Aiyoh, HABIS Liow!

  10. #10 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Thursday, 1 January 2009 - 8:10 pm

    PKR’s Maika is not a statesman.

    He is screaming his head off whilst the process of change is ongoing.

    Rome was not built in 1 day; neither would 50 years of neglect by the BN be cured by 1 state government in a little more than 6 months.

    Hello, Manika, have some sense-lah. Use diplomacy and dialogue. U can sell yr soul but u will b forever cursed by malaysians if u do what is palpably wrong!

  11. #11 by Jeffrey on Thursday, 1 January 2009 - 10:44 pm

    k1980 is of course right that this is basically a Public Health versus Tourist Dollars issue.

    Public health requires political urgency to warn, publicize, galvanise and mobilise the necessary human and financial resources for destruction of the vector/mosquito breeding grounds, whether in homes or housing estates under construction linked to the dengue/new chikungunya outbreak.

    An outbreak publicized will find its way to travel brochures and frighten off tourists, many of whom from non Tropics countries fear a lack of immunity. Tourism receipts, a large earner of foreign exchange, contribute heavily to the country’s GDP.

    According to the data in the Economic Report 2007/2008, gross tourism earnings have increased to RM38.2 billion in 2006, accounting for 6.7 per cent of nominal GDP. In 2008, the industry probably generates up to RM40 billion (?), the 3rd largest revenue/foreign exchange contributor after Oil & Manufacturing, not to mention the Employment it generates amongst locals. So in a scenario of economic slow and global credit crisis, the authorities are naturally worried about the impact of a full fledged well publized public campaign in respect of this dengue/ chikungunya outbreak and how to juggle between imperatives of public health versus Tourist dollars.

    In such a juggling, public Health is politically of greater importance than Dollars and Sen. If Datuk Liow Tiong Lai were perceived playing down such an outbreak by a “conspiracy of silence”, it will cost him and BN votes, having some effect in the coming Kuala Terengganu ByElection.

  12. #12 by limkamput on Thursday, 1 January 2009 - 10:46 pm

    The issue is would Chua Soi Lek say and do the same thing if he is the Minister of Health now? “Poodling” is Malaysian political culture and it is not just confined to within MCA. Has it ever occurred to us that it is always the “has been” politicians or politicians out of “juicy office” that will make the most noise. Once they are back in circulation, everything is forgotten. How do we change this? Don’t ask me.

    Having said this, there is still no excuse for Liow to play hide and seek. Can DAP take him to court for concealing information of public importance?

  13. #13 by One4All4One on Thursday, 1 January 2009 - 11:17 pm

    Malaysian cabinet ministers, or, for that matter, any persons of calibre and true capabilities, are only meant to be to be seen, NOT HEARD.

    Whenever something of a huge magnitude happen, it is for the bigwigs to announce and to take credit for apparently dealing with the issues effectively or in a manner that seem pleasing to the general public and which would then put them in the spotlight and limelight and endearing themselves to the people, or gain them some scoring points.

    When will they ever learn, when will they ever learn?

    Being ministers, or just any government officers or officials, high up or low down, meant working for the good of the public. That’s why they are called public servants – being paid from funds received from the public, the actual paymasters.

    Actual work which inform or assist the public to make intelligent or informed decisions would go a long way to improve the lot of the people.

    The minister, after being appointed and have accepted to hold the position, must take charge and responsibility in a manner befitting the position and to the best of his ability. Of course he/she would have his/her support staff. All are equally responsible to the ministry and people. But the chief would have to bear the brunt of responsibility whenever any failings or shortcomings arise in the discharging of duties.

    The health ministry together with other relevant authorities must take immediate measures to clean up the surroundings. In health-related matters, such as the dengue epidemic or any other diseases, which arose from environmental conditions, greater attention must be given to cleanliness of the surroundings.

    Just take a good look at the neighbourhoods and surroundings: the parks, rivers, drains, roads and other public places. Rubbish and debris of all forms and kinds abound. If the authorities do not clean up the surroundings properly and satisfactorily, then no amount of public campaigns or media announcements or pronouncements would be of any use or help.

    Cleanliness starts from oneself. And the best platforms to instil such good habits are the schools, workplaces and the homes. If such nurturing and instilling of habits are done, half the battle would be won.

    Strict enforcement and punitive measures must also be instituted to deter rubbish, effluents, garbage, and discarded items from being disposed haphazardly or irresponsibly. The authorities must come up with better and more effective ways to combat obsolete and irresponsible ways of waste and garbage disposal.

    Those two domains, if properly adopted, imposed and enforced would definitely see a vast improvement in the overall cleanliness of the environment, and, correspondingly, a much reduced environment-related diseases outbreaks, such as the dengue fever.

    More responsible and effective staff and personnel must be despatched and entrusted with the task of monitoring the environment. Half-hearted measures and approaches would not achieve anything.

    It must be noted that health of the people and the environment are closely linked and should be given priority in all decision making processes. Ad hoc measures are not longer tenable.

  14. #14 by undergrad2 on Thursday, 1 January 2009 - 11:23 pm

    “Has it ever occurred to us that it is always the “has been” politicians or politicians out of “juicy office” that …” limkaput

    What is a “juicy office”?? Is it like that corner shop that sells juice? Is it OJ’s Office?

  15. #15 by undergrad2 on Thursday, 1 January 2009 - 11:30 pm

    “Can DAP take him to court for concealing information of public importance?” Limkaput

    Did Parliament recently pass legislation to make “concealing information of public importance” a crime?? In that case, the act of your pimp in concealing information from you as to how much of your nightly earnings he has with him is a crime.

  16. #16 by limkamput on Thursday, 1 January 2009 - 11:32 pm

    Office with lots of juices, failed graduate.

  17. #17 by limkamput on Thursday, 1 January 2009 - 11:37 pm

    see wannabe, pimping is a private and privilege venture not within the ambit of public information.
    Since you will be out of job soon, may be you can see me to explore the possibility of setting up a branch in NY. You be my chief pimp there.

  18. #18 by raven77 on Thursday, 1 January 2009 - 11:42 pm

    The Ministry especially its DG is far more interested in seeing which doctor is thrown into the slammer and protecting his cronies who are running unscheduled medical colleges right here in this country rather then doing something to stop more then 100 people who thus far have been killed by dengue………..Liow is from the MCA ….they sold out this Ministry ages ago……..Malaysians ..if they fall sick are on their own…Good Luck.

  19. #19 by Taxidriver on Friday, 2 January 2009 - 12:01 am

    A few months ago there was also an outbreak of the dengue epidemic in Singapore. Their Health Ministry was very responsible and efficient in handling the situation. And although their problem then was not so serious like what we are having now, Singaporeans were constantly up-dated on the efforts and actions taken by their government to contain the problem which, very quickly was brought under control. Datuk Liow should should go and learn from them. But since it has gotten to this stage, it is only appropriate that the health minister takes full responsibility and resign.

  20. #20 by One4All4One on Friday, 2 January 2009 - 12:27 am

    Other than looking into the causes of diseases, the health ministry must also look into the exorbitant and impossible and mind-boggling costs and charges medical institutions are charging patients, even for simple consultations, advices and procedures.

    Indeed, private medical institutions and hospitals are akin to licensed day-light robbers, which operates under their very own whims and fancies. No wonder so many corporations and mega private institutions are queuing to set up or buying into medical institutions and hospitals. That would give them access to unlimited and unimaginable continuous returns and profits.

    Such kind of venture is also monopolistic in nature, which gives them access to other related business ventures which are equally highly profitable, unfairly advantageous, and subject to protection, governmental patronage and biased policies, and which only some favoured institutions could enjoy.

    While they should and ought to be practising their Hippocratic, and NOT hypo-critic, Oaths.

    Something must be done to curb that “over-kill” commercialism and favoured protectionism which denies the people’s right to more affordable and quality health care services. Medical practitioners (and the government of the day ) must remember that they were educated and trained using public institutions of higher learnings and centres which were funded by the people whom they serve. To overcharge should be discouraged and outlawed, perhaps.

    The government must be seen to be transparent in all matters which affect the public and the people so that their interests are always protected and defended. They must not be in cohort with commercial concerns which tend to practise profiteering in the guise of public service.

  21. #21 by Jong on Friday, 2 January 2009 - 12:45 am

    Conspiracy of Silence, YB Kit?

    Health Minister, Datuk Liow Tiong Lai is pimping for Azalina Othman, the Minister of Tourism! That is negligience, evasion of important public information and dereliction of duty!

    His electorates elected him to office(not me, I didn’t!) and now he conspires to cover up? Concealing important public information is a crime!

  22. #22 by computation on Friday, 2 January 2009 - 1:00 am

    as usual lah.
    these stupid ministers. unintelligent
    morons. what is his background?
    is he really comptetent to run a health ministry?
    does he know what the issues are?
    and even if he doesn’t know, is he intelligent
    enough to learn quickly on the job?
    trying to hide the severity of the situation is the
    typical response lah. its because the
    moron doesn’t know what else to do!
    i think he should be charged in court.
    this is criminal negligence.
    he is a minister he should be responsible for the peoples

  23. #23 by computation on Friday, 2 January 2009 - 1:08 am

    i think there should be a strict law passed
    with regards to the minimum educational standards
    that must be satisfied by people who are
    to be appointed as ministers. they should have
    at a minimum a degree from a reputable university
    not the shoddy ones overseas. preferably not
    from the extremely mediocre local universities.
    the degrees required should also in as far as possible be
    relevant and pertinent to the responsibilities and
    scope of the ministry.

  24. #24 by simon041155 on Friday, 2 January 2009 - 2:32 am

    The problems with “politicians” is that it is not yet a profession, so any Tom, Dick, and Harry can become one. Do you see ministers changing portfolios like nobody’s business? You don’t need to know anything to become a minister, otherwise you will need to know everything!

  25. #25 by Jeffrey on Friday, 2 January 2009 - 5:16 am

    Political culture has something to do with manner of handling outbreak.

    Under an authoritarian and less transparent political culture, a government’s first reaction is, with the help of compliant media, to keep the matter under wraps (for preservation of tourists’ copnfidence – and Dollars) , and try figure a way to tackle the outbreak problem in the quiet. How to do it effectively in the quiet (without publicity and mass mobilisation of populace) is something of a mystery.

    That such a first reaction is unwise and counterproductive is obvious.

    Todays world is different : It is “wired world” with instantanous electronic/internet access to information. Anything to do with disease outbreak is a big thing, the more you keep it under wrap, the more the alternative media, NGOs, and oither stakeholders will expose you, and even when they don’t, there is withion our political context, a strong Opposition (PKR) in parliament and internal strife, political rivalry and opposition within MCA (in person of Dr Chua Soi Lek) to do so.

    The government should just bite the bullet rather than be hit by a crisis of confidence, long term.

    First, locals will complain of dereliction of duty by Health Ministry when it is known that lives are lost because dangers to health downplayed. Especially when our government hospitals have limited places, and as One4All4One pointed out, the private ones charge exorbitantly beyond affordability of many.

    Worse still some foreign tourists are taken ill or die because of dengue/new chikungunya strain. They might have come from 1st world countries whose governments are transparent & accountable and take pride in placing public health concerns above economic/tourist income.

    The international press then might “play up” the cover up and question why our govt is so irresponsible as to play down such an outbreak so that unsuspecting foreign tourists (in today’s increased opportunities for air travel) get the virus here and take it back to their own countries where the infection spread and affect adversely other distant economies already beleaquered by the Global Credit Crisis! It tantamount to “exporting” a disease internationally…. A reprimand from World Health Organisation will neither help the country’s image nor tourism. Even when an outbreak were stemmed, as declared by the Health Ministry, tourists would fear coming back to a place where they are unsure whether the Health Ministry’s words may be trusted, and that when all are declared normal, it is really normal!

    I assume when Singapore authorities, notwithstanding a more authoritarian political culture, took an exceptional transparent stance and public campaigns to fight Dengue/SARR, tourists came back in droves when the Health Ministry said the problem was cleared.

    At the end of the day – it is “trust” in what one says that ultimately counts. You are either transparent or B S….Thats how one is judged.

    Health Minister, Datuk Liow Tiong Lai better learn fast the longer term negative implications even to the nation’s tourism industry in playing down issues like that.

  26. #26 by undergrad2 on Friday, 2 January 2009 - 5:32 am

    “Can DAP take him to court for concealing information of public importance” limkaput

    If you have some knowledge of the law, then you’ll know that prosecution is the sole prerogative of the country’s Attorney General.

    Those with locus standi, those affected by his criminal negligence, may want to take civil proceedings against him as Minister of Health and sue him for damages. Limkaput, though he may not know the difference between criminal and civil proceedings, would send whatever little money he has left after bad money. Why not?? This spend, spend and spend means the country then creates its own demand, he says, and during time of recession like now it will help create jobs. The government will have to build new court buildings (more jobs for the construction sector), employ more court clerks, office boys and tea ladies (more private schools) train more lawyers (more universities) and appoint more judges to keep the country’s newly appointed Chief Justice busy and protect those he would chase round his office when he’s not busy.

  27. #27 by undergrad2 on Friday, 2 January 2009 - 5:34 am

    Jeffrey QC,

    It is 4.00 am and you’re still awake!!!

  28. #28 by undergrad2 on Friday, 2 January 2009 - 5:48 am

    “The government should just bite the bullet rather than be hit by a crisis of confidence, long term.” Jeffrey QC

    Expect to be called ‘mentally challenged’, by limkaput for wanting to bite the bullet – instead of firing them!

  29. #29 by Jeffrey on Friday, 2 January 2009 - 6:05 am

    Watching out for mosquitoes. Too many flying around. :)

  30. #30 by Jeffrey on Friday, 2 January 2009 - 6:15 am

    Then I won’t mind being referred to as “mentally challenged”, though I think “idiot” is the easier and preferred word.

  31. #31 by Taxidriver on Friday, 2 January 2009 - 7:13 am

    BN is Bad News. There is not a single day when they do something right. What is really wrong with these people, eh? How can we leave our fate and that of our future generation to this bunch of low IQ ministers? These people somehow really boosted my self-confidence,you know. With their level of intelligence, I feel myself highly qualified to be a minister lah! Please, mr. prime minister, any vacancy in your cabinet?

  32. #32 by vsp on Friday, 2 January 2009 - 7:20 am

    It’s becoming standard policy for BN to deal with any potential problems: either keep mum or assure the people that Malaysia is immune to all problems because all our ministers are wise and know what to do.

    Take the world economic situation, for example. All over the world people are bracing for an economic recession, yet our ministers are telling the people that Malaysia is the only country that will not be affected.

    So expected the same for other situation!

  33. #33 by limkamput on Friday, 2 January 2009 - 9:07 am

    Failed undergrad2, in addition to building more good for nothing court houses and trained more half baked lawyers, what I have in mind is to consume more shoes, shirts, electrical appliance and computers within each of the countries in East Asia instead of letting the “do nothing” Americans including the pseudo ones like you, enjoying it.

  34. #34 by taiking on Friday, 2 January 2009 - 9:10 am

    Isnt liow from mca? Oh they are a useless bunch arent they. I wont bother with them or him. Just a waste of time. Anyway in barisan there is only umno and nothing else. So the health minister’s failure is the same as umno’s failure. I would question umno instead. I would question them for the cover-up.

    KL city centre is still as dirty and smelly today as it used to be thirty years ago. Now, that is umno for you. And mosquito? You bloody well expect them – those blood suckers. They have mutated too. A process of evolution I am sure. And for some time already they call themselves umnoputras.

    So you see the complication! I mean would you expect one mosquito to kill another mosquito?

  35. #35 by chengho on Friday, 2 January 2009 - 9:20 am

    Just like in Singapore a few year back until the epidemic becoming endemic then only the government making public announcement.

  36. #36 by limkamput on Friday, 2 January 2009 - 9:37 am

    If you have some knowledge of the law, then you’ll know that prosecution is the sole prerogative of the country’s Attorney General. undergrad2

    This is where I simply don’t like lawyers. If DAP has a locus standi to fight for a better Malaysia, does it not include fighting for a better and more timely public health information system. For you every damn thing must have specific legislation (too many one dimensional man here again). To me what we need are more liberal judges imposed upon by more assertive people. Legality and legislation without common sense are baloney. What is this attorney general’s prerogative that you are talking all the time? You are indirectly reinforcing the baloney among the populace. Is he not public servant? Can he not be sued for criminal negligence for not doing his work? It does not matter there is no specific law allowing it. It does not matter it is difficult to prove negligence and malicious prosecution/persecution (you take your pick because it could be both). Try it out. But then I think there are too many lawyers who are chicken.

  37. #37 by monsterball on Friday, 2 January 2009 - 10:13 am

    Dr.Chua seems to know….he has a mission to expose MCA hypocracies.
    Being elected as Vice President…already do not see eye to eye with President.
    With so many deaths in present dengue disease….all quiet…as bad news will make BN loose votes. Not now…no bad news of UMNO and BN…as two interesting by-elections..not completed yet.
    They want to show….Malaysia is all good under UMNO.
    Ong Ka Chuan has not resigned as a Minister and no where to be seen
    UMNO dare not take actions to sack Ong Ka Chuan.
    These people talk of quarrels in Pakartan Rakyat by one man…headline news….but their are 10 times worst…no news.
    Oppositions are smart not to be lured into cheap political stunts talk.

  38. #38 by OrangRojak on Friday, 2 January 2009 - 10:43 am

    I like lawyers and policemen (not the way undergrad2 imagines), but then I come from a country with (until recently) liberal laws applied in a draconian way. Here it seems to me that you have draconian laws applied in a lackadaisical or selective way. Do you have legal aid here? In the UK any qualifying (ie skint) person with holes worn in the soles of their shoes that owns only the clothes they stand up in can sue a wealthy person, if they feel they have been wronged. The poor person’s costs are paid (in the first place) by the state.

    In addition, almost every high street in the UK has several ‘no win no fee’ legal practices. Easy access to the law is part of the reason why the UK is a (comparatively) safe place. Easy access to media with a ‘bigger they are, harder they fall’ attitude helps. Wrongs (involving persons) are mostly quickly righted. It won’t be easy for Malaysians to change their attitude from one of dependence on patronage to one of being confident of seeking resolution themselves. What can they do to start?

    In the modern world, CSL’s performance (or that of his successors) would be quickly upgraded by some grieving parents and survivors, some entrepreneurial lawyers and journalists, and a state that really does care about the poorest of its citizens.

  39. #39 by AhPek on Friday, 2 January 2009 - 11:28 am

    Remember the time when all Malaysians were choking from the thick smog brought over from the raging forest fire in Indonesia,and our Mamakthir refused to allow API (Air Pollutant Index) to be published whilst neighbouring Singapore has it published daily to keep track of the atmospheric condition.What more now,with the cookie jar reduced so drastically from the steep reduction in the country’s revenue resulting from more than 70% drop in oil price as well as palm oil price and E&E exports practically wiped out!There’s hardly anything in the cookie jar for their dirty fingers to dig into now.So how can let tourists know Malaysia is running high in dengue fever and chikungunya,can’t even afford to fumigate areas on the quiet lest word spread out! Health of citizens can take a back seat!

  40. #40 by Jeffrey on Friday, 2 January 2009 - 1:23 pm

    “There’s hardly anything in the cookie jar for their dirty fingers to dig into now….So how can let tourists know Malaysia is running high in dengue fever and chikungunya, can’t even afford to fumigate areas on the quiet lest word spread out”?? – Ah Pek 11: 28.15 (1 hour ago)

    Right, but how do we know our Datuk Liow Tiong Lai has not a secret project going on?

    They have figured what’s the point of mass mobilisation of the people to destroy mosquitoes breeding grounds – such measure only serve to heighten alarm to both citizenry and tourists alike – or to get municipal authorities to fumigate insecticide everywhere, the effects of which may be transient – all of which might incur high financial costs. Next rainy season, again this dengue problem arises, you will recall successive Health Ministers have been berated by YB LKS including Dr Chua Soi Lek (in 2005) whose criticism of the present Health Minister is, for a change, lauded.
    Maybe they (authorities) are going to breed and release biological control agents ie mosquito’s natural enemies such as dragonflies! (I understand that dragonfly nymph’s larva stage is longer than mosquito larvae, the former eats the latter as an adult dragon fly would an adult mosquito….)

    Fogging and spraying insecticide not only contaminates the environment with toxin but kills the natural predators of mosquitoes whether dragonflies, lizards, other larger insects or even the toad. Surely one cannot locate every water storage receptacle in which mosquito larvae may thrive. However if one breeds and then proliferate a large numbers of (say) dragon flies, then they too will breed in these receptacles to kill mosquitoes larvae potentially carrying dengue …

    This method is quiet, does not alarm tourrists, restoring the ecological balance based on principle of ‘taking a thief to catch a thief’, viable for long term in tropical region like this where dengue rears its head every rainy season.

    Now our Health Minister may have this secret project going on.

    Don’t take me too serious though. :)

  41. #41 by undergrad2 on Friday, 2 January 2009 - 6:48 pm

    “To me (the great and learned Limkaput) what we need are more liberal judges imposed upon by more assertive people. Legality and legislation without common sense are baloney. What is this attorney general’s prerogative that you are talking all the time? You are indirectly reinforcing the baloney among the populace. Is he not public servant? Can he not be sued for criminal negligence for not doing his work? It does not matter there is no specific law allowing it. It does not matter it is difficult to prove negligence…..” The Great Limkaput has spoken (yet again).

    Oh no!!!

    Yes, who says we need laws. There’s nothing a lynch mob mentality cannot solve. Do what is good for the country and the people. We don’t need politicians to tell us what is good and what is not good! Isn’t that what democracy is about?

    Throw away archaic and useless English common law, concepts such as the principle of natural justice. What are principles of natural justice but inventions by the white men to oppress colored people. All legislation which are barriers to the peoples’ progress should be declared null and void. Who could be better than Limkaput to declare them so? Don’t expect Parliament to change anything. Burn all the law books. No, not just law books but all books that hinder our progress – history books included. Write new ones. But wait a minute. Aren’t our judges trained in the English common law? What better way then to get rid of them too?

    What’s this about the law that says you cannot have private prosecution? This is baloney! How else do we right a wrong done and do justice, if we cannot drag the criminals to court ourselves. Isn’t the Attorney General a public servant? What is a public servant if he doesn’t do what is required of him by the public? So too is the country’s Prime Minister who is public servant number one? He himself said he is the Prime Minister of the people. When we see him nodding away half-asleep at public functions, we should drag him out by the collar and kick his butt. If he doesn’t change, have him replaced by another of the people’s choice. Elections? Elections are rigged. The Election Commission works to protect the interest of the incumbent party. The laws favor candidates from the incumbent party. Let’s not follow the law. Everybody knows the present crop of leaders are corrupt to the core. Why are we waiting for the AG to start criminal prosecution? We have the evidence. Why not we convene a court of the people and have the people prosecute them. Who says we need lawyers? “Conservative” judges? Well, we sack those and have them replaced by “liberal” judges. But then we do need judges to be liberal sometimes and conservative sometimes. So why don’t we just stick pieces of paper on their foreheads and label “I’m liberal” and “I’m conservative” and parade them out when needed?

    When we know the Health Minister is not doing his work, do we have to wait for more deaths to occur? Why do we need the AG to do anything? YB Kit can drag him out of his office and kick his ass. Why hasn’t he done so?? Well, let’s kick his ass too.

    Yes, I agree with you that it is all baloney!

  42. #42 by undergrad2 on Friday, 2 January 2009 - 7:58 pm


    I like living in the U.K. with its cradle to grave system. My kids get free schooling and free meals at school. Every morning, two bottles of milk await them at the doorstep. They get a weekly sum of money from the state. They don’t need to buy books and pens and pencils.

    If you are earning a wage that is legally deemed as lower than the national minimum, you get supplementary income benefits. If we cannot afford rent, we get housing at subsidized costs.

    That is not all. We get free medical. Dental included though dental may come at nominal costs. A mother-to-be could look forward to a comfortable stay at the hospital, with all expenses paid for by the state. Even post natal care is provided at no cost to the new mother – milk and diapers and (fathers-to-be may want to note) nurses and nursing care in the comfort’s of one’s bedroom!

    An outbreak of meningitis in the U.K. would be viewed very seriously. A health minister who is not on top of his job would be replaced immediately. Not in Malaysia.

    In Malaysia, education and public health are just two portfolios held by Ministers which have been politicized. Instead of relieving the errant Minister of his duties, they look for reasons to justify his stay. His alleged recklessness becomes not much more than political fodder for the opposition. It is a game both sides play to score political points.

    If landslides cause buildings to collapse what is that all about if not an Act of God? When people die from mosquito bites why should the politicians or anybody be blamed – and not the mosquitoes? Don’t we have mosquito liability? If insurance companies using basic actuarial principles find the risks uninsurable, why should the government be made to face the risks and take the blame?

  43. #43 by undergrad2 on Friday, 2 January 2009 - 9:08 pm

    “Here it seems to me that you have draconian laws applied in a lackadaisical or selective way. Do you have legal aid here?” OrangRojak

    When you have draconian laws that pays scant regard to due process, who needs anything else?

    Do we have legal aid?? Yes, we do.

    Not much of a free legal aid but a bureau staffed by junior lawyers from the large law firms in recognition of the chunks of business farmed out to them by the UMNO led government rather than out of a sense of obligation to the community. But then what good is legal aid when they no longer remember the crimes those left to rot in jails were alleged to have committed and when the alleged criminal himself cannot understand why he is there in the first place? What or who is there to aid??

  44. #44 by One4All4One on Friday, 2 January 2009 - 10:44 pm

    After considering the views and opinions put forward by all concerned stakeholders, it could be generalised, though not conclusively, that,

    1. The government of our country is not doing enough to consider, confront, tackle, solve, overcome, resolve, counter, etc., etc., all important issues happening in the country as effectively as it could, would and should.

    2. Transparency is clouded to the hilt in matters which are of importance to the public. The public should be informed of issues and matters which if concealed or withheld would have repercussions on their daily lives or activities or business; which in turn could affect qualitatively or quantitatively the course of their actions. Losses and undesirable consequences could arise as a result of such concealment of vital information. Can the government be taken liable for such “negligence” or “ill intent”?

    3. There seem to be a top-down order politically to manipulate information to confuse and misinform the public as to the truth of the state of policies and matters, which would work to their favour in the face of political rivalry or opposition’s challenge.

    4. There are inefficiency and incapability of public office bearers, which if revealed would arouse anger and resentment from among the people, being covered up by political jargon and propaganda to mitigate the weaknesses and shortcomings.

    5. Government officers/officials who are not fully or properly qualified to handle matters in their respective ministries / departments being appointed; such appointments should be challenged, questioned, disputed and disqualified simply because of the inherent risks and damages that could arise from such uninformed, misinformed, unqualified and questionable consideration and decisions.

    6. People’s complains and grouses were not taken seriously which lead to matters being unresolved or not settled in manners favouring the very people who are affected by ineffective or unproductive policies or government orders or instructions.

    Local government with their “little napoleons who act according to their whim and fancy which went unnoticed, intentionally or otherwise, and which affected the electorates in ways causing untold misery and utter inconvenience.

    7. There seem to be a trend to appoint pseudo experts or leaders of similar political vein and ambitions, who are packaged, camouflaged and disguised, whose main motivation is to enrich themselves and to abuse and manipulate the system for their own interest and gains. Such hypocrites and gold-diggers abound in the system who would not hesitate to play racial, religious, cultural and tradition cards to stir and arouse negative and sensitive sentiments to pit the various ethnic groups against one another.

    + you could add to the list if you cared to…

  45. #45 by OrangRojak on Friday, 2 January 2009 - 11:14 pm

    I thought it was nice to see an inconclusive generalisation in Malaysia for once. The conclusive generalisations are ruining what could be a lovely country.

  46. #46 by ringthetill on Saturday, 3 January 2009 - 12:02 am

    In the final analysis, one wonders if the leaders or the country really have the good interests of the people at heart – working hard to make their life better. The leaders (politicians and senior civil servants alike) are widely travelled, attending many international seminars, study tours and as such are not short of ideas.
    I believe what happens is when armed with such knowledge they would then think of ways to enrich and empower themselves rather than SERVE THE PEOPLE WITHOUT DISCRIMINATION.

  47. #47 by ktteokt on Saturday, 3 January 2009 - 1:45 pm

    What does the government, MCA or the Minister of Health care about? You think they are interested in the well-being of Malaysians? They are only interested in pursuing their career in politics, grab all the money they can during their term of office and then retire.

    So whether it is a dengue epidemic, cholera epidemic or even an AIDS epidemic, they wouldn’t care a damn about it! Remember the days of JE and Nipah? What has the Minister of Health done? He just shun away from the fact and left the people in the dark, thinking the problem will go away. Not until it “exploded” that the government then officially announce the epidemic.

    So this time around, it is just the same. I can see trucks coming around housing estates to spray insecticide but did the authorities realize that when insecticides are sprayed outdoors, mosquitoes tend to go indoors and this is just where the people are staying. Wouldn’t that make it even more dangerous for the rakyat?

  48. #48 by OrangRojak on Saturday, 3 January 2009 - 2:09 pm

    ktteokt: “when insecticides are sprayed outdoors, mosquitoes tend to go indoors and this is just where the people are staying. Wouldn’t that make it even more dangerous for the rakyat?”
    You have trucks where you live? Here (near PD) it’s a guy with a modified leaf-blower. He stands by the front gate and aims at the windows and doors, to get the ‘fog’ into the house. Last time it happened, my wife had just arrived back from giving birth to our baby son and could hardly walk, so we remember it vividly.

    On other occasions, the mosquito fogging is as close as I’ve ever seen Malaysians to social unity. When we hear the fogger coming, we all rush outside, and walk around like a carnival, trying to dodge the smoke drifting on the wind. There’s almost a party atmosphere. I think it’s just about the only time I get to meet the neighbours.

  49. #49 by ktteokt on Saturday, 3 January 2009 - 2:14 pm

    OrangRojak, in KL, they come around with trucks for the fogging and they go around housing estates blasting away the insecticides. After these trucks leave, I find my house under attack by mosquitoes seeking “refuge” from the insecticides sprayed outside.

  50. #50 by carcinoma on Saturday, 3 January 2009 - 3:47 pm

    liow never care for the people, that is obvious! doctors are the ones that can feel how the ministry behaves after taken over by this guy. the ministry of health had not shown any positive moves ever this guy taken over from chua. the two previuos guys (chuas) were more proactive and constructive. but we never thought liow is so ignorant. he should step down and let one of the chuas to hold th post. we want good health service, but we wish the most is safe health service. this guy is just not fit to hold this current post.

  51. #51 by One4All4One on Sunday, 4 January 2009 - 1:36 am

    At some point in time people have to learn to accept that “enough is enough”.

    A square peg in a round hole applies when someone is not suited for the position or designation assigned.

    All people will suffer when a wrong person is chosen to fill in a position. Are there no other suitable persons who could be called to do what is needed?

    The previous health minister is more suited, as proven by his past records and performance, and would be able to carry out the job much more effectively and meaningfully. Isn’t it what we want? No one should doubt his capability and responsibility. Let’s not be hypocritical.

    Let’s forgive the man for his human weaknesses, mistakes, and escapades. We all make mistakes too, don’t we? Only difference is ours are not videotaped and exposed. Aren’t we all sinful from the day we were born? We can only hope to try to be holy and be good in the eyes of others. After all, to err is human, to forgive is divine. Let’s not try to play god, and pass absolute judgements.

    Moreover, the guy was repentant and openly admitted his errors, which, incidentally, was a personal moral issue. Who are we to put ourselves on moral high grounds and vilify and denigrate another mortal? Repeating the wrongs is not necessary, unless one has ulterior motives, which is wrong in itself. And two wrongs won’t make a right.

    Indeed there are many pressing problems and issues which need to be considered and solved for the betterment of ALL. If the capable and willing soul wishes to do his part and to answer his calling, let’s accept it with open arms. After all he is just trying to do his part, and it is for the benefit of all, including you and me. I do not have any problem with that.

    Malaysian Politics

    Malaysian politics have gotten too muddled, communal, racist and parochial of late, and hence rendered ineffectual, castrated and impotent.

    The end results would be failures and needless sufferings by the guileless and the innocent. Under such circumstances E. & O.E. cannot be excepted, exempted or accepted. Someone must take responsibility for the state of affairs.

    Worse or worst, while all that is happening, and in between all the rumblings, there are parties and individuals who are taking advantage of the situation to enrich themselves by whatever means, dishonourably or illegally, covertly or even openly and unabashedly, and non-shamelessly and on the pretext of rightful special privileges. Some even tried to muddle it even further by bringing up or create\ing discontent, animosity, hatred, prejudice, bigotry, dissent, unrest, etc., etc., with the intention to pit one against another.

    Such is the muddle and fuddle of Malaysian politics. Does our Constitution promote and encourage such grand failings and shortcomings?

    Every right thinking Malaysian would want peace, harmony, goodwill, unity, success, abundance, hope, accountability, fairness, integrity and prosperity to prevail.

    Ours is a rich nation, in natural resources and human capability and capacity. It would a total waste of whatever the nation is endowed with if her politics, affairs, governance and administration are not rendered in the best of ways.

    It is the responsibility and duty of the elected representatives to see to the smooth running of the daily and long term matters of the nation. Failure to do so would tantamount to a breach of duty. To prevent another person, who is qualified and capable of doing a task, from performing a duty could be considered as such a breach.

    Perhaps it is time to be sober and put aside all differences, no matter whatever ethnic, religious, political or cultural colours and stripes that we carry. Let’s work as a people for the only nation that we know. And let’s move on from here.

    That is the real challenge. Anything else is wishful thinking which would work towards the destruction of our dreams, wishes and hopes.

    The choice is in our hands.

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