Tsu Koon should set an example of full transparency to all other states by giving daily updates of suspected and probable SARS cases in Penang to assure the people and investors that the new killer virus is fully under control
Media Conference Statement 2
- DAP campaign to raise public SARS awareness at Jelutong market
by Lim Kit Siang
(Penang, Wednesday): Last Thursday, I conducted an independent check which verified the correctness of the Malaysiakini report (3.4.03) that the Penang General Hospital had admitted eight suspected cases of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) over the previous two weeks - with three discharged, four to be discharged the next day and one being closely monitored.
However, these eight Penang suspected SARS cases never appeared in the five daily SARS updates released by the Health Minister or the Health director-general from last Wednesday to Monday. Yesterday, the Health deputy director-general Datuk Dr. Ismail Merican reported eight new SARS cases in the previous 24 hours, five in Kedah, two in Penang and one in Perak.
Are these two suspected SARS cases from Penang from the eight cases mentioned at the end of last week or separate, for it is the latter, then there would have been at least 10 suspected SARS cases in Penang since last month.
The Star today reported the first probable SARS case in Penang and the quarantine of the family of the patient in their home in Pulau Tikus.
This is a most unsatisfactory way to give information about the SARS situation to the Penang public, as it is not in keeping with a policy of full transparency.
Penang Chief Minister, Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon should set an example of full transparency to all other states by giving daily updates of suspected and probable SARS cases in Penang to assure the people and investors that the new killer virus is fully under control.
Penang and Malaysia should learn from the lessons of China, which is now being criticized internationally for the “cover up” of the SARS outbreak as far back as November, for fear of affecting tourism and economic investments. In the end, it has resulted in an explosive global epidemic killing at least 103 people and infecting 2,800 people in some 28 countries in four continents. China’s economy and tourism industry have suffered a severe setback with the SARS epidemic threatening to plunge the global economy into a recession.
Penang will be the hardest hit in the country in such a global economic recession, because of the great dependence of the Penang economy on the IT sector and the US economy. This is all the more reason why Penang should set an example of full transparency on the SARS outbreak.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman