World

Malaysia's Health chief refutes claim that he fears death

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia's health director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah has denied allegations from a Member of Parliament that he did not visit Sabah because he was afraid to die of Covid-19.

Dr Noor Hisham said that he and his team had gone to Sabah at the end of August to check on the management of the Covid-19 situation and the preparations for the Sabah state election.

He also noted that deputy director-general for public health Chong Chee Keong had also gone to check on the situation there just last week, and that the Prime Minister's special adviser on public health Jemilah Mahmood was also in Sabah two weeks ago.

"The issue that we are afraid to die does not arise. As a Muslim, we accept that death can happen anywhere, not just whether we go to the ground or not," he said in Parliament yesterday.

"What is important is for us to do our duty. Our purpose is to break the chain of infection in the country."

The parliamentary session descended into a shouting match yesterday afterMP Tiong King Sing asked if Dr Noor Hisham was fearful of his life over the Covid-19 pandemic.

The shouting match saw emotional rebukes from Opposition MPs.

While debating the Supply Bill in Parliament, Mr Tiong had said: "Why didn't he go down to the ground?

"For instance, in Kota Kinabalu now, the situation is bad. Why didn't he visit all the hospitals and the temporary hospitals?

"Only doctors and nurses were told to go. They are not afraid to die. But is the DG scared to die? Even his deputy did not go down."

NO RETRACTION

Mr Tiong said he would not retract his remarks, claiming he was merely expressing what the people were saying.

Malaysia recorded 822 new cases yesterday, taking the total to 42,872. There were two new deaths, taking the toll to 302.

Meanwhile, Indonesia reported 3,770 cases yesterday, taking its total to 448,118. There were 75 deaths, taking total fatalities to 14,836.

The Philippines yesterday recorded 1,672 cases and 49 deaths, taking total infections to 401,416 with 7,710 fatalities. - THE STAR, REUTERS

WORLD