By Chew Lip Song
LOCAL and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian deleted his social media post yesterday containing details of Covid-19 patients in Kuching that exposed them to risks of being stigmatized and lose business.
The post which was put up on Dr Sim’s Facebook page yesterday evening contained details of Sarawak’s “Patient 771”, said to be a kuih seller operating out of a mobile van along a particular road in Kuching.
Dr Sim also further disclosed that the son of “Patient 771” has also tested positive. The latter, operates from a food store from another street. The New Sarawak is withholding the names of the roads for the patients’ privacy.
Bandar Kuching MP, Dr Kelvin Yii said Dr Sim’s actions were unethical and a patient’s information must be kept confidential and protected at all times.
“This is unethical … while it is important to inform of locations affected, but certain confidential information especially patients’ particulars much be protected.
“If at all, it is the responsibility of the Health Department to do the necessary contact-tracing or inform the public.
“Such vague announcements cause misunderstandings as there can be many “kuih sellers” around and people could go around blaming the wrong person and even keeping away from him or her,” he said.
He said because of the Minister’s actions, the person concerned would now have to deal with “public blaming and shaming” and also suffer a significant lost of business.
Dr Yii, who met with stall owners affected by the unverified news, said the surrounding businesses would also be affected due to the rumours and unverified news.
Dr Sim, when approached by the media today, refused to comment on his alleged indiscretion.
In July, Dr Sim had also deleted a Facebook post where he listed down only four Covid-19 high-risk areas in Sarawak although health authorities’ list had 11-12 areas.
The then DAP Padungan assemblyman Wong King Wei said the areas listed down by Dr Sim were church groups and activities related to the DAP only. Wong, who has since left the DAP, had accussed Dr Sim of playing politics with Covid-19.