Ipoh, Perak Darul Ridzuan, Malaysia

At the heart of Kinta Valley. The capital city of the state of Perak. An opposition stronghold. Factory of brilliant people. Desolated through emigration of its inhabitants to other parts of the country and overseas. Yet... it is forever remembered by its people.

Thursday, April 10, 2003

Chua’s unsatisfactory briefing to MPs yesterday, like his briefing to newspaper editors-in-chief the day earlier, had only made things worse by further damaging public credibility and reinforcing concerns that the health authorities are not on top of the SARS outbreak because of a complete lack of understanding of the critical importance of public confidence in any effective strategy to combat a public health menace like the new killer virus, which had killed at least 103 people, infected 2,800 people in some 28 countries in four continents.

For instance, the announcement by Chua on Monday that his Ministry would no longer give the cumulative number of suspected SARS cases had been met by public consternation that the three-day semi-transparency on the SARS outbreak after the Cabinet meeting last Wednesday was being further curbed, raising questions in many minds as to what the Ministry is trying to hide.

Furthermore, it has created confusion galore about the actual number of SARS cases in the country, which is not calculated to inspire public confidence in the capability, professionalism and transparency of the authorities in dealing with the SARS outbreak.

This has forced some newspapers like New Straits Time and Sin Chew Daily to keep their own score of the cumulative number of suspected SARS cases, namely as of yesterday, 99 suspected cases, five families quarantined, 32 isolated in wards, two probable cases and one death – as it is a matter of public interest as well as the public’s right to know the cumulative number of SARS cases every day.

Or will Chua be issuing a directive to the newspapers to ban them from toting up their own cumulative number of SARS cases every day, just as the newspapers had earlier been warned not to give front-page prominence to the SARS outbreak or to highlight any SARS death so as not to scare off tourists?

Chua Jui Meng, as a lawyer, has no place in healthcare administration. He should RESIGN.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home