We call on the Malaysian Health Minister to concentrate on the true number of cases of SARS for the daily updates and the measures to fight the disease, instead of blaming other people including the media


Media Statement
by Dr Tan Seng Giaw

(Kuala Lumpur, Friday): As Singapore finds a case of SARS at the Pasir Panjang market, all market traders are quarantined. It is logical that the 180 or more Malaysian families connected with Pasir Panjang be quarantined for ten days.  According to the Health Minister, Datuk Chua Jui Meng, Malaysians working in Singapore should stay in the republic for the time being.
Meanwhile, Datuk Chua seems to blame people such as Lim Kit Siang and the media for making him unhappy. What he should do is to give us updates of the true number of cases of possible, probable and genuine cases of SARS.
Today, the News Straits Times notes the ‘update” on 23 April, 2003 as 3 deaths, 5 probable SARS, 251 notified, 15 isolated on wards and 6 quarantined at home. What was the update for yesterday? I suppose it should include some of the 180 families who have been ordered for quarantine.
Then, hospital workers should be cautious about sending patients home. Yesterday, the Deputy Director-General of Health, Ismail Merican, mentioned a 30-year-old air cargo company, Transmile Air, pilot who recently returned from Hong Kong. The man had fever and cough on 22 April, 2003, and was admitted to Penang Hospital the next day. The pilot had Chest X-ray that was, at first, thought to be normal. He was discharged. He visited several eateries and met many friends. When his chest X-ray was found to show a sign of pneumonia, he was recalled and readmitted.
As SARS has infected more than 4,000 people worldwide, we have to take effective measures to prevent further spread. Having a meeting of ASEAN, Chinese and Japanese Health Ministers is a step. The previous Chinese Health Minister and Beijing Mayor have been sacked because they have been blamed for covering up the true number of cases of SARS.  Chua should show a good example by revealing the truth about the pandemic.


* Tan Seng Giaw, DAP National Vice-Chairman and MP for Kepong