Congrats to Chua for acting promptly on WHO global pneumonia alert but how did he miss the WHO global dengue alert in July last year?

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya,  Saturday): Congratulations to Health Minister, Datuk Chua Jui Meng for acting promptly on the World Health Organisation (WHO) global pneumonia alert by putting all clinics, hospitals and laboratories in the country on pneumonia alert following the outbreak of a mysterious respiratory illness in Asia.

Chua said yesterday Malaysian health authorities would follow the WHO advice on the handling of people suspected of contracting the illness and that people with atypical pneumonia symptoms, particularly those coming from Hong Kong, China, Vietnam and Singapore, will be isolated from other patients in hospitals.

The nagging question, however, is why Chua did not act as promptly when the WHO global dengue alert was issued in July last year, warning that the number of new dengue cases for the whole of last year could exceed the record set in 1998 when more than 1.2 million new cases were registered.

At the time, WHO) disease control specialist Dr. Mike Nathan said the risk of contracting the dengue disease was increasing among 2.5 billion people, two-fifths of the world's population and called on governments to take effective counter-measures.

Chua not only failed to respond promptly to the WHO global dengue alert last July, but claimed in Parliament on Tuesday that there was no such WHO alert and implied that I had "lied".

On Wednesday, I referred to two Internet sites (with their URL) which reported the WHO global dengue alert last July, one was the the Utusan Malaysia Online and the other from the ENN (Environmental News Network).

I am giving Chua a third Internet website which published the WHO global dengue alert last July, the UN Wire, "the daily news summary covering the United Nations, global affairs and key international issues" issued by the UN Foundation:

I am prepared to furnish Chua with further evidence of the WHO global dengue alert last July but he owes Malaysians and particularly those who have lost loved ones in the worst dengue epidemic in the nation's history as to how he could have missed WHO global dengue alert last July - which is a big scandal by itself.


* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman