Bintulu MP wants Noor Hisham replaced, questions Khairy's strategy

·4-min read
Bintulu MP wants Noor Hisham replaced, questions Khairy's strategy
Bintulu MP wants Noor Hisham replaced, questions Khairy's strategy

Bintulu MP Tiong King Sing has once again gone on the offensive on the issue of Malaysia's handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, questioning if Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin really has a clear strategy and called for Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah to be replaced.

"We need to ask whether the Noor Hisham as one of the chief decision-makers for our pandemic response, is indeed the best person to lead this defence against the Omicron strain and get our people out of this threat.

"The fact remains that he is a surgeon, whose background is not of a public health speciality. They are obviously underqualified but still refuse to seek advice from China, which has massive experience in fighting this pandemic," said Tiong (above) in a biting statement today.

Tiong, who has hit out at Noor Hisham before, said that the Health DG was not learning enough from China's response to the pandemic.

Health DG Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah
Health DG Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah

"Everyone can see that the death rate from the pandemic in China is low but how many people in Malaysia have already perished from this disease? Is this fair to them or their families?

"Why has Malaysia not adopted more anti-epidemic strategies from China and why hasn’t Noor Hisham been replaced yet?

"How many more lives must be lost to Covid-19 before we realise he must not be allowed to continue to serve in this capacity?" asked Tiong pointedly.

Tiong, who is also the Prime Minister's Special Envoy to China, had in November 2020, accused Noor Hisham of being "afraid to die" for not visiting Sabah at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in the state.

What is KJ's strategy?

He also trained his guns on Khairy asking whether he had a clear strategy to meet "worst-case scenarios" or is it still adopting a "one step at a time" attitude.

"Or are they simply dismissing the data as alarmist that is making the public nervous but there is no need for practical countermeasures?"

Tiong highlighted that data from the US, UK, France, Spain, and other countries facing the might of Omicron has shown that hospitalisations have doubled and national medical systems are under a heavy burden.

"Now is not the time to display some kind of personal ‘political wisdom’. To deal with this imminent global health threat, we need to enter a state of preparation quickly, instead of waiting for the medical system to collapse first and listening to a Health Ministry press conference.

"We must see the trend of the pandemic and call on the people to strictly abide by the health protocols’ standard operating procedures to prevent a widespread contagion.

"Most importantly, the authorities must review the past experience in fighting the pandemic by appropriately managing resources now such as scheduling medical staff, wards, equipment, and others in advance," he said.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin

He called on the government to be proactive instead of reactive by making long-term plans.

"We should not be put in a situation of scrambling to find resources and formulate countermeasures at the last minute.

"Remember that when Malaysia reported its first confirmed imported Omicron case on Dec 2, Khairy gave his ‘assurance’ at the press conference to stress that Malaysia’s pandemic prevention measures are rigorous and appeal to everyone to remain calm.

"Even better, he told everyone that he had a plan to take care of it. But in a span of a month, his tune has changed to estimating cases to soar to 30,000 daily cases," said Tiong.

Not holding back, he said that during the pandemic that has raged for more than two years, the Health Ministry has not offered any strong ideas to suppress the disease.

"Worse, they seem to have started to relax and put down their guard now, the wind gone from their sails in this fight. Travellers returning from overseas are now allowed to quarantine at home instead of being strictly monitored in quarantine hotels.

"It is because the authorities did not seriously carry out the testing work which had led to Omicron taking hold in Malaysia," Tiong claimed.

"We can no longer afford another comprehensive lockdown that puts the people on the edge of survival. But we must deeply think and review the negatives and drawbacks of the current SOPs and make true adjustments that protect the life and health of our people.

"Particularly with the ministry’s budget for 2021 and 2022. All have been allocated more than RM30 billion, the second largest after the Education Ministry. But now people are asking - what are these allocations actually used for?

He reminded the ministry that Omicron is highly transmissible, at six times of the Delta variant, and as of Jan 6, Malaysia has recorded 245 cases of Omicron, of which 233 were imported cases and 12 local transmissions.

"With the shortage of hospital beds, the occupancy rate in Selangor hospitals has reached 68.9 percent.

"Has the ministry drawn up a backup plan to prevent a collapse of our medical system? Will there be another series of helpless isolations and home surveillance happening again soon?" he added.

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