Offer to give Khir Toyo particulars of a dengue death in Selangor in February last month if Selangor Mentri Besar in the dark about the worst dengue epidemic in the history of the state

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya,  Saturday): In my 10th email to the Selangor Mentri Besar, Datuk Mohamad Khir Toyo, I offered to give him particulars of a dengue death in Selangor in February last month if he is in the dark about the worst dengue epidemic in the history of the state.

In my email to Khir, I said:

"Until the current dengue epidemic, the worst in the history of Selangor, one death from dengue would be regarded as a very serious matter, requiring urgent public response and attention, which is still the case in other countries like Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan as there is nothing more precious than life.

"However, human life has suddenly become very cheap in Malaysia and the Selangor state government seemed have developed a very high threshold of tolerance and apathy to dengue deaths, to the extent that a death from dengue is just regarded as a statistic to be hidden from public knowledge instead of a human tragedy compounded by its totally unnecessary and avoidable character."

My email today posed my 12th and 13th questions on the worst dengue epidemic in the Selangor state.

The 12th question asked for the data of dengue cases and deaths for last year.

Khir Toyo had in his email reply to me on Monday disputed my earlier comment that the Selangor State Government did not release dengue figures last year, claiming that "all the current up to date figures were released at the Press Conference almost every 2 months following the Mesyuarat Bertindak Denggi Negeri chaired by Y.B. Dato' Tang See Hang and also after EXCO meetings". I said such releases of dengue data by the Selangor State Government last year were not reflected by media reports.

In my 13th question, I asked what the Selangor State Exco was doing about the continuing rise in dengue cases and deaths in the state, not only last year, but for January and February this year.

I pointed out that Khri Toyo's mention of 15 reported dengue deaths in Selangor state last year was already the highest number of dengue deaths for Selangor state for any single year, but was inaccurate as erring on the low side from various accounts I had received.

I also told Khir Toyo that although the Cabinet had imposed a "gag order" on dengue data this year at the request of the Health Minister, Datuk Chua Jui Meng, because of the 13th NAM Summit, "which is now past and over while the dengue epidemic rages on claiming more lives", there could be no excuse for the Mentri Besar not to be concerned about the mounting dengue deaths in Selangor, particularly for January and February this year.

I asked Khir Toyo whether he was aware of the number of dengue deaths in Selangor state in January and February 2003 respectively, offering to provide him with the particulars of at least one dengue death in Selangor last month to illustrate that Selangor and Malaysia are still at the epicenter of the worst dengue epidemic in history.


* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman