Tiong apologises over 'DG afraid to die' outburst

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Tiong apologises over 'DG afraid to die' outburst
Tiong apologises over 'DG afraid to die' outburst

Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) president Bintulu MP Tiong King Sing has apologised for his outburst in the Dewan Rakyat on Nov 11.

"To ensure the Dewan Rakyat sitting proceeds smoothly and (to prioritise) the country's interest, I am apologising if my words went overboard during the debate on Budget 2021," he said.

He said his intention was to raise the concerns of the public regarding the Covid-19 pandemic and he would never dismiss the contributions of health workers and Health Ministry director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

On Wednesday, Tiong (above) caused a stir in the Dewan Rakyat when he claimed that Noor Hisham was "takut mati" (afraid to die) and hence did not visit Sabah - the territory worst hit by Covid-19.

Tiong said there was no need for the health director-general to conduct press conferences every day on Covid-19 and that even an "office boy" could do it.

Instead, he said Noor Hisham should visit hospitals and health workers in Sabah to see the situation for himself.

"Don't just send doctors and nurses. Oh, these people are not afraid to die, but the DG is. Even the deputy DG is not there," he said, according to the Parliament Hansard.

Tiong also accused Noor Hisham (below) of "seeking publicity" for the latter's "own project" to become the World Health Organisation (WHO) secretary-general.

This attracted brickbats from opposition MPs. When deputy Dewan Rakyat speaker Azalina Othman Said offered Tiong a chance to retract his "takut mati" remark, he refused.

"Dia takut mati. Apa salah? (He is afraid of dying. What's wrong with saying that?)," said Tiong.

A day later, Tiong tried to explain himself on his Facebook page, but most netizens who commented on his post (more than 10,000 at the time of writing) disagreed with him.