KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 12 – Bintulu MP Tiong King Sing has threatened to call for a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on Malaysia’s high Covid-19 death tally and reported case figures, which he alleged were manipulated.
Tiong questioned the federal government’s Covid-19 prevention strategy after the country reported 31,696 coronavirus deaths since the start of the pandemic.
“As far as I know, these only cover reported and published data. It would be even more heartbreaking to add in those numbers that were unreported.
“This high mortality rate is not something we can deny, excuse, or normalise. How could we continue on like this? How many more lives must be sacrificed before our ministers really start to prevent more deaths?” Tiong said in a Facebook post today.
Previously, former president of the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA), Dr Milton Lum, also called for the establishment of an RCI to inquire into and report on Covid-19 management, as well as to make recommendations on strategies and solutions to strengthen the health care system so that it can be better prepared for the next public health emergency.
Dr Lum, in a guest essay on CodeBlue, described Covid-19 as Malaysia’s worst public health disaster, with the health care system coming to the verge of collapse on several occasions, which he attributed to a confluence of several “fatal errors” that included insufficient testing and contact tracing, inconsistent and confusing SOPs, and non-compliance with SOPs by politicians. At the heart of these errors, he said, were political instability and poor leadership.
Tiong, who is also a Sarawak state assemblyman, claimed that data on deaths and confirmed Covid-19 cases were “being manipulated” by “unseen hands”, as allegedly lacklustre implementation of quarantine measures suggests that infection and death rates were much higher.
“After a friend of mine tested positive, he had asked the Ministry of Health (MOH) for assistance and was simply told to self-isolate at home. He doesn’t even need an isolation bracelet! He was told that he doesn’t have to go to the hospital, only to do regular self-tests and only contact the KKM if his situation worsens.
“This is nothing less than leaving the confirmed patients to their own devices. Is this what you call a successful pandemic prevention strategy? What happens if a patient refuses to stay put and goes out to the public? If this kind of strategy continues, is this Minister of Health really worth keeping around?” Tiong wrote.
Tiong also questioned the government’s strategy in containing infections in Selangor, particularly those involving industrial clusters, that resulted in one outbreak after another.
“How many people in Selangor lost their lives due to these kinds of oversight? Even during the times when the home isolation policy was being implemented, how many people died due to not receiving timely treatment during their quarantine?
“These are all on the hands of [Health director-general] Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah and [Health Minister] Khairy Jamaluddin, issues that they dare not face directly,” Tiong said.
“As the Minister of Health, does Khairy really want to reduce the mortality rate of Covid and control the spread of the pandemic, by not falsely reporting data or manipulating data and vaccine purchases like some kind of czar?
“I would like to remind the Minister of Health not to wait for MPs to formally table a bill calling for an RCI to thoroughly investigate the action situation. This is what the people want and deserve to know,” he added.
Khairy previously disclosed to Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) the prices of coronavirus vaccines procured by the Malaysian government.
The bipartisan PAC said in a report tabled in the Dewan Rakyat last month that it was satisfied with the government’s procurement of Covid-19 vaccines at “reasonable” prices, except for the premiums paid for Sinovac’s jab due to delay in delivery by Pharmaniaga Berhad.