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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Pua: Where is Health Ministry’s Tung Shin inquiry?

Sulaiman Kamal | 3:36 PM | | | | | Best Blogger Tips

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PJ Utara MP Tony Pua wants the Health Minister to reveal the status of its inquiry over the Tung Shin hospital incident and not to pass responsibility over to the police.
PETALING JAYA: Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai should take full responsibility for the Tung Shin hospital inquiry arising from the Bersih 2.0 rally on July 9, and not leave it to the police.
Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua said that it now appeared as though the ministry’s “high-level committee” to inquire into the tear-gas incident had completely “dissolved”.
“Of course they won’t say it is dissolved but (the ministry’s inquiry) is completely subjected to police investigation. It appears now that the ministry’s inquiry over the incident is the police inquiry,” he said.
Pua was speaking to the media after giving his witness statement at the Petaling Jaya police district headquarters today.

This was after he and three other DAP leaders – Liew Chin Tong (Bukit Bendera MP), Teo Nie Ching (Serdang MP) and Zairil Khir Johari (political secretary to DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng) had earlier volunteered to be eye-witnesses to the Health Ministry’s internal inquiry.
Pua however had received a call from the police to give a witness statement over the matter instead. This was followed by a letter by the ministry addressed to Pua which stated that it will “work with the police in preparing the investigation report”.
Pua said that he was questioned by an ASP Marzukhi who had informed him that he was called in for questioning as per “instructions from above”. Pua claimed that this instruction was from the Health Ministry.
“The ministry was to conduct their own investigation over the matter as they are responsible for the well-being of Malaysian hospitals,” said Pua, adding that it now looked as though the task has been handed over to the police.
Investigation almost completed
When FMT checked early this morning, the other three leaders have yet to be contacted by the police. Pua said that he had passed the contact details of the three to the police while his statement was being taken this morning
He said that the police had informed him that the investigation over the incident was at it’s “tail-end” and that they have reached a conclusion after studying available evidence.
Pua added that he was questioned over the what had transpired at Tung Shin Hospital compound on July 9 and if he thought the police had fired tear gas by accident or intentionally.
“I told them I was an eye-witness to the incident as I was in the nearby Chinese Maternity Hospital. They also asked what colour clothing the crowd was wearing, to which I answered multicoloured clothes and that I was wearing white,” he said.
He also conveyed that he was sure the police had intentionally fired tear gas into the hospital compounds as it was fired 20 meters away from the hospital doorway at the time when there was no longer a crowd on Jalan Pudu.
The police also had questioned Pua on possible physical aggression by the police. Pua said that he had not witnessed any aggression and only heard of it after he had left the area.
Ministry silent
There has been no response from the Health Ministry as to the status of its own inquiry.
The Tung Shin Hospital incident had caused a public uproar when eye-witnesses, video and photographic evidence showed that tear gas and water cannon were fired into the hospital premises during the Bersih 2.0 rally while authorities said otherwise.
Tung Shin board chairman Ng Beh Tong was also adamant that no tear gas canisters reached the hospital area.
Liow had met with the hospital board members following the incident and defended the police. He also blamed the protesters for “ambushing” the hospital during the rally.
Due to public uproar over the matter, Liow had announced on July 14 that a committee has been set up to investigate the controversial incident which will be headed by the ministry’s secretary-general Kamarul Zaman Md Isa. There has been no progress report over the inquiry thus far.

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