War on dengue – having new Health Minister if Liow ineffective as commander-in-chief

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.

  1. #1 by LBJ on Wednesday, 28 January 2009 - 11:00 am

    I dont happen to think Datuk Liow Tiong Lai know what is is doing. He just issue statistics but no action plans. He passed the blame to others. He is out of his depth. After all, he is just an MCA appointee. A political hack.

  2. #2 by Mr Smith on Wednesday, 28 January 2009 - 11:07 am

    Do they care who dies as long as their families are protected. Capability was never a criteria in the appointment of Ministers in the BN cabinet.
    In this country even idiots can become a Minsiter as long as he wins his party elections.

  3. #3 by monsterball on Wednesday, 28 January 2009 - 11:21 am

    There are there for show only…which UMNO have proven..to be…great actors.
    Just wait for more deaths..and they are good in making excuses too…with the famous sentence from UMNO leader..”It will never happen again…or “It is God’s will”
    If they are strong and powerful…they will blame Malaysians..are dirty and irresponsible.
    For months…UMNO is tying so hard to say things…. nice for Malaysians to hear.
    Bottom line…do you trust those people.
    If they are so good..why so many are rEsignuing from UMNO and BN.

  4. #4 by monsterball on Wednesday, 28 January 2009 - 11:34 am

    Big photos showing UMNO’s ..Najib…MCA…Gerakan and MIC…presidents with their wives….except Samy..came alone…all united…so happy….celebrating MCA’s CNY dinner.
    That is more important to advertise than talking about dengue…or deaths….to arrest the problem..immediately.
    Each one is passing the buck…dare not blame mismanagement by anyone in BN… preparing to continue race and religion politics.divide to rule.
    Complaint….more will resign. They cannot afford to loose anymore top politicians to PR.

  5. #5 by carboncopy on Wednesday, 28 January 2009 - 12:04 pm

    I remember very clearly back in the 1980s and 1990s, health inspector from the Ministry of Health would come and do spot checks on every houses, inside and outside.

    The health inspector check for mosquito larvae.

    If your house is found to have mosquito larvae, a hefty fine is ensured.

    Are there such thing still going on?

    One of the main culprit of breeding ades mosquito are construction sites. Anybody check on them?

    So, what is this all out war on dengue? It looks more like media blitz then anything else.

    That’s BN style. In capable to do anything other than through the mainstream media. Be it fighting corruption, crime, etc. Plaster some news on the media, and BN claims they are doing something, if not everything.

    I would encourage BN to continue this style, but life of many innocent ppl is at stake here. And there’s also severe economic repercussion on the poor who become victim of dengue. Imagine the sole breadwinner is down with dengue for a month. That is one month without income. The repercussion last even longer.

  6. #6 by dawsheng on Wednesday, 28 January 2009 - 12:23 pm

    Welcome to the year of the Ox!

  7. #7 by vsp on Wednesday, 28 January 2009 - 12:33 pm

    The BN ministers are so incompetent that now the common Ah Mat, Ah Chong and Samy are saying that they can do a better job than these imbeciles. That shows how disconnected the BN has become.

  8. #8 by lbl on Wednesday, 28 January 2009 - 12:37 pm

    Health Inspectors should be checking the drains especially where the food courts are situated. Just look at the out-let drain of Jalan 1/19 Petaling Jaya Old Town. Near the food court, the rubbish is always not completely collect because the residents do not place the rubbish in proper plastic bags.
    No point of fogging and checking private houses when the public roads and drains are in a dirty condition.

  9. #9 by cintanegara on Wednesday, 28 January 2009 - 12:38 pm

    At least Datuk Liow Tiong Lai got the position in the cabinet through hard work and accumulation of experience….Not because his father is ‘somebody’ in MCA….

  10. #10 by melurian on Wednesday, 28 January 2009 - 1:27 pm

    talk is cheap. it’s not easy to “annihilate” all aedes breeding ground, and there’s no medicine for dengue fever too…..

  11. #11 by negarawan on Wednesday, 28 January 2009 - 1:53 pm

    Let’s not point fingers at anyone, including Tiong Lai. The dengue problem is largely due to the negative attitude and lack of civic consciousness of the public.

  12. #12 by yhsiew on Wednesday, 28 January 2009 - 2:09 pm

    If Datuk Liow Tiong Lai continues to ignore the dengue epidemic, I suggest PR make “dengue control/eradication” part of the party’s election manifesto in the next GE.

    PR can explain in their manifesto, upon taking over Federal Government, how they are going to adopt a “no-nonsense approach” to reduce the number of dengue cases. The aged and housewives with children will probably give serious consideration to PR before casting their votes.

  13. #13 by chiakchua on Wednesday, 28 January 2009 - 2:20 pm

    Don’t expect LTL to be a good ‘make-things-happener’. He is, at best, some secretary of a political party; he does not have the ‘lieu’ to become a good ‘make things happen’ minister. He is worst than some UMNOputras pea brain minister because at least they use ‘arrogance’ to push thing through. Chua Sui Lek will be a better choice; not even Ong Takut!

  14. #14 by ktteokt on Wednesday, 28 January 2009 - 2:42 pm

    Typical Malaysian minister – Multipurpose Ministers (Menteri Serbaguna) who knows nuts about what his ministry is supposed to do! Like I have said, we have

    Ministers of Education who do not know how to read;
    Ministers of Transport who do not know how to drive;
    Ministers of Finance who do not know how to count;
    Ministers of Defence who do not know how to handle ammunition;
    Ministers of Trade who do not know how to do business;
    Ministers of Labour who do not know what manpower is;
    And Prime Ministers who do not know what the other ministers are doing!!!!!

    This is the state of affairs in Malaysia currently and unless such practices are changed, Malaysia is headed for DOOM!!!!

  15. #15 by cintanegara on Wednesday, 28 January 2009 - 2:59 pm

    Negarawan appears to be rational in relation to his comment….. It is DAP’s typical style trying to make ‘an issue out of no issue’….There are other critical issues involving Malaysia’s dignity, DAP can take up instead……..i.e land reclamation issue in Straits Johor which might cause huge impact to the country……At least, DAP’s affiliate PAS has clearly shown their protest against the issue….

  16. #16 by cemerlang on Wednesday, 28 January 2009 - 3:43 pm

    The dengue disease cannot be totally eradicated forever. Nonetheless, the number of cases can be reduced. Who most suffer from the disease if it is not the people living in deplorable conditions or somehow the dreaded mosquito lost its’ way and flies into some rich fellow’s house and suck his blood for its’ nutrition ? Infrastructure problems again come back to the government. Money again. In U.S.A. the one and only Commander in chief is the President. Not the other ministers. There are too many problems for the politicians to know. If they have to know every tiny problem, they will get angry and freak out everyday which their staff cannot afford to bear. Fogging when there is the feel good syndrome is not enough. Fogging must be frequent even when there are no cases. Re-build all the drainage system and all the infrastructure. This is also only a part of it. It should be an all out war and a continuous war against the dengue disease.

  17. #17 by raven77 on Wednesday, 28 January 2009 - 4:58 pm

    Liow should immediately sack the DG and the Pengarah for Vector Control….these buggers are sleeping on the job or meddling on matters far down the priority ladder……people are dying Liow….get moving….your boys are not working….or are they golfing

  18. #18 by carboncopy on Wednesday, 28 January 2009 - 5:30 pm

    negarawan Says:
    Today at 13: 53.56 (3 hours ago)

    Let’s not point fingers at anyone, including Tiong Lai. The dengue problem is largely due to the negative attitude and lack of civic consciousness of the public.

    I agree with you that public negative attitude and lack of civic consciousness is the reason for dengue epidemic.

    What is the point of having a government then?

    Look at how govt intervention eliminated polio from Malaysia. Keeping malaria in check over in Peninsular Malaysia, etc.

    Back in 1980s and 1990s, there’s aggressive media awareness campaign on destroying Ades breeding ground. Awareness via media itself is not enough.

    We need a multi-prong approach.

    We already have law which allows people to be fine or take action against if they are found to have larvae within their compound. Why not enforce it? We should demand the Minister of Health to revealed the statistics of such enforcement.

    Lets face it, ppl will commit crime, ppl will break traffic rules, ppl will also ignore war on dengue. But its the responsibility of the govt of the day to bring those who break rules and put public at large at risk to face the law.

    The govt must act!

  19. #19 by boh-liao on Wednesday, 28 January 2009 - 6:11 pm

    MOH is where MCA ministers are buried.
    LTL is busy fighting a personal life and death war. Mana ada time to worry about the war against dengue.
    When NR becomes PM nanti, LTL may no longer be a minister.

  20. #20 by katdog on Wednesday, 28 January 2009 - 6:28 pm

    What else is new. Ministry of Health is where loser MCA members are placed. They can’t really do squat there. No one listens to them and they don’t know what the hell they are doing anyway (given that he is not a trained medical professional)

    Yes, just as negarawan says, lets not point fingers at LTL. He is useless nobody. No point wasting time and breathe blaming him.

  21. #21 by cemerlang on Wednesday, 28 January 2009 - 10:25 pm

    carboncopy, sometimes you need to look at both sides of the coin. What if an infrastructure is constructed by the government which never look into its’ details like it should not harbour any dengue larvae ? Therefore before the government wants to summon, probably it needs to summon itself first. Or MOH to summon the particular department which construct a health neglected piece of infrastructure.

  22. #22 by swee_ann_tweety on Wednesday, 28 January 2009 - 10:27 pm

    Carboncopy initially posted the following: –

    “One of the main culprit of breeding ades mosquito are construction sites. Anybody check on them?”

    Carboncopy, I would like to highlight to you that there are people checking construction sites. I have reliable sources. But the question is, why even there are checks, and yet there are still aedes mosquitoes? Get rid of this reason and we can get rid of the source from the construction site.

  23. #23 by Godfather on Wednesday, 28 January 2009 - 10:40 pm

    cintanegara the UMNO clown said:

    “At least Datuk Liow Tiong Lai got the position in the cabinet through hard work and accumulation of experience….Not because his father is ‘somebody’ in MCA..”

    Obviously UMNO doesn’t realise that Liow’s father is Ling Liong Sik.

  24. #24 by drngsc on Wednesday, 28 January 2009 - 10:47 pm

    Hi Kit,
    All dengue deaths are preventable. It is an infectious disease. One death is one death too many. It is true that although politicians say that they wish to control dengue, they are half-hearted. I remember that when I was in medical school ( UM ) in 1972, we have already “vowed ” to control dengue fever. That is 36years and many MCA ministers ago. What is worse, in 1972, malaria was eradicated. Now we are beginning to see malaria again. That is very worrying. Looks like there is no political will to control mosquito borne infections.

  25. #25 by cemerlang on Thursday, 29 January 2009 - 12:27 am

    tweety, checking is one thing. Anyone can do checking. In fact, checking is just peanuts. It is up to your interpretation of what is right and what is wrong. If you see that the construction site is breeding aedes, issuing a summon is not enough. You have to make sure it is cleaned. Fogging is again peanuts. You have to drain the dirty water or put some salt in it or clear the area. Who is supposed to do all that if it is a government land ? The government is supposed to send in all the workers and clean the place up. But is it doing that ? No. All you see and again I repeat is a group of people fogging but the area remains dirty and this area is a government area, not a private area where you can summon.

  26. #26 by Kongseemik on Thursday, 29 January 2009 - 1:49 am

    I strongly believe that the all important post of the Minister of Health should be held by a medical doctor. Look at the drastic changes for the better in the Ministry of Health under the then Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek!
    I expect the doctor to understand the life cycle of the mosquito to a much greater extent than the dietician, the school teacher or the lawyer with regard to the causation of disease.

  27. #27 by cemerlang on Thursday, 29 January 2009 - 7:17 am

    Kongseemik, a doctor will understand far better. This is true. But not a power crazed doctor politician. As you know, health is not just physical health. It embodies the social aspect, the psychological aspect and all the aspects that make up a man. What is the point moving around having a fit body but a sick mind ? That person is equally dysfunctional. The MOH should be manned by medical personnel. But if the medical personnel does not know what it is doing, they will also drive the whole ministry into confusion, non excellent state. That is the problem and that is why it is now taken over by people who do not know in great details about medicine.

  28. #28 by ktteokt on Thursday, 29 January 2009 - 11:12 am

    Is LTL the Minister of Health or Minister of Hell?

  29. #29 by boh-liao on Thursday, 29 January 2009 - 12:20 pm

    No need to have a doctor to be the Minister of Health.
    Need someone who wants to serve people and to bring changes and improvements to the health system.
    Look at the red dot down south. The Minister of Health is not a doctor. He is actually an ex-Malaysian, educated in Penang. He is considered to be the best Minister of Health serving Singapore.

  30. #30 by klaikw on Friday, 30 January 2009 - 12:13 am

    War on dengue , how? as our Health Minister dun even knoe that “mutant dengue” nowadays….. when u got fever, doctor said virus infection, blood test normal, no need admit hospital, no need dripping……….the dengue fever 2008/2009 have mutated, so as all the gomen in bolehland.

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