Rabies outbreak: Chong urges Uggah to quit as State Disaster Management Committee chief

Chong Chieng Jen

KUCHING, August 26: Sarawak Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman Chong Chieng Jen has called for Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas to resign as head of the State Disaster Management Committee for his failure to tackle the rabies outbreak in the state.

He said the committee did not seem to be serious in handling the rabies issue, and this could be discerned from Uggah’s statements that the deadly situation was under control even though it was not the case on the ground.

“If he is not serious about the job, resign. Let someone who is more capable and more serious about this matter chair the committee,” Chong told reporters covering a prayer session at Nirvana Memorial Park today.

Chong, who is also Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, also took a swipe at Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg for blaming the federal government for the rabies spread.

Abang Johari’s statement, Chong pointed out, contradicted Uggah’s earlier announcement that the state had been getting a steady supply of rabies vaccination from the federal government and that there was no supply shortage.

“And yet Abang Johari said the federal is slow. The two of them are contradicting each other. I don’t know if Abang Johari even knows what is actually happening on the ground.

“Anyway, if there is a steady flow of vaccination, then what is the problem? Why the vaccination exercise started only when somebody dies? Since the beginning of this year, I have not heard of free vaccination campaigns being carried out; suddenly, when somebody died, then they started vaccinating,” he lamented.

So far, the death toll due to rabies stands at 12. The first two cases happened in Serian on July 4, 2017, and the 12th death was recorded this Aug 21. The victim was a 44-year-old from Jalan Matang in Kuching. — DayakDaily