By Chew Lip Song
BINTULU MP Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing has accused the district health office of concealing crucial information about Covid-19 infection from the Bintulu Disaster Management Committee (DMC).
Tiong said the Bintulu Health Department has shown “frivolous attitude” towards the docking of an oil tanker at the town’s port, considering that at least four crew members onboard the vessel had tested positive for Covid-19.
The department, Tiong added, should have informed the matter immediately to the Bintulu District Officer, who chairs the DMC but this was not done. He said although he is MP for Bintulu, he was also not privy to such information.
“This is the second time that the DO had not been notified of such an incident. This lapse cannot be tolerated nor ignored in the interest of public safety and health,” said Tiong in a statement today.
Earlier, Tiong had also taken the same department to task over lapses in handling the Covid-19 cases in Bintulu when another ship had docked at the port there.
On Thursday, Health Director-General Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah had announced a new cluster in Bintulu after four positive cases were discovered. They were all crew members of an oil tanker which had travelled from Japan.
Tiong said the health of Bintulu residents was his top priority and there cannot be lapses in carrying out established stand operating procedures to contain the Covid-19 outbreak.
“I wish to point out that poor decision-making by the senior officers in the Health Department during the outbreak of the Coronavirus have had severe repercussions on Bintulu’s health. The officers have underperformed in their key responsibility, even after I have written to them earlier on this matter,” he added.
Tiong also called on the state health director and the State DMC to look into this matter as there were clear lapses in following the SOPs.
He also called on the Health Ministry to transfer the “underperforming” health officer soon, or risk losing public trust.