Three-point proposal to Perak state government to carry out an effective anti-dengue campaign to save lives and remove the state's bad reputation as one of the worst dengue affected states

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Ipoh,  Wednesday): Perak Mentri Besar, Datuk Seri Tajol Rosli Ghazali launched the Perak state-level anti-dengue campaign at Kampung Tengku Hussein in the "black" dengue area of Manjoi, Ipoh on Sunday and announced that the Perak government had approved an immediate allocation of RM1.8 million for the local authorities to battle the spread of dengue fever in the state. The allocation would be used to purchase insecticides and other equipment to destroy the habitat of Aedes mosquito, the disease's vector.

Perak would not have become the third worst affected dengue state in Malaysia, causing at least 12 dengue fatalities in Perak state last year and four dengue deaths in January this year, if the Perak State Government had launched the state-level anti-dengue campaign and approved the RM1.8 million anti-dengue allocation eight months ago when the World Health Organisation (WHO) had issued a warning to all governments in the region last July of an impending epidemic of the deadly dengue disease worse than all previous years.

Although Tajol Rosli was eight months late in launching the state-level anti-dengue campaign, he is entitled to some recognition as he is still the first state government leader to launch a state-wide campaign in the country to try to bring under control the nation's worst dengue epidemic, which is still raging on unchecked after claiming over 100 lives last year and at least 20 deaths in the first two months of this year.

The Perak State Government is not doing enough, however, to create the necessary public awareness of the gravity of the deadly dengue epidemic in the shortest possible time to ensure that there would not be another unnecessary and avoidable dengue death in the state.

There are three things the Perak State Government could and should do urgently to save human lives and remove the state's reputation as one of the worst dengue affected states:

  • Firstly, to make full use of radio and television to create full public awareness of the deadly dengue epidemic and the basic do's and don'ts as how to bring the dengue epidemic to an end, as there is as yet no medicine to fight dengue.

  • Secondly, release weekly statistics of the number of dengue cases and deaths in every district in Perak state to give timely, full and accurate information to the people as a measure of the progress of the anti-dengue campaign, which could also be an example to be followed by other states.

  • Thirdly, emulate the Pahang State Government which announced in January its decision to subsidise the cost of rapid blood tests, which could reduce the time taken to detect dengue symptoms.

Pahang Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob said on 10th January 2003 that the Pahang State Government was willing to absorb the RM30 for each test in an effort to reduce the time taken to find out whether a patient had dengue or not.

There is no reason why the Perak State Government cannot emulate the Pahang State Government, especially as such a measure would have the additional effect of helping to create greater public awareness of the deadly dengue epidemic.


* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman