DAP Secretary-General and Member of Parliament for Melaka Bandar, Mr. Lim Kit Siang today issued the following statement (13.9.1973):
Lim Kit Siang wants the Investigation Committee into the Malacca Hospital deaths to sit at a stretch until final completion of its inquiry without postponement or adjournment
The six-man Ministry of Health Investigation Committee into the unusual number or deaths in the Malacca Hospital in July and August during the break-down of the autoclave has adjourned after three days, of preliminary inquiry.
The Committee is to resume for another three days, about two weeks later at the end of September.
The Investigation Committee has an onerous duty, for it is not only to inquire into the real cause of the unusually high number of deaths in the Malacca Hospital during July and August. It has the further responsibility of convincing the people of Malacca that there is competent hospital administration to restore their confidence in the Malacca Hospital as a fit and proper place to entrust the lives and health of their loved ones.
It is important therefore that the Investigation Committee should act without undue delay to complete its inquiry and make public its findings.
The Committee has so far confined itself to specialist doctors and hospital staff and has not even gone half way. If it is to have a full and comprehensive picture of what happened in July and August, it is necessary that the next of kin of the deceased should all be invited to appear before it and give testimony.
Furthermore, the Investigation Committee has so far confined itself to the twelve persons who died in this period as given by the Malacca Hospital authorities when in fact, this figure of twelve deaths is a gross underestimate.
The Committee, if it is to carry out its work fully and conscientiously, must go into all cases of deaths during this period of one month, from 21st July to August 20th, during the autoclave break-down, and not confined to the twelve selected deaths as given by the Malacca Hospital authorities. This again will take time.
As it is, if the Committee is to adjourn for two or three weeks after every three days of sitting, the Committee will probably be still in session by next year.
Because of this importance and urgency of the matter, I suggest that the Investigation Committee into the Malacca Hospital deaths should sit at a stretch until final completion of its inquiry without any adjournment or postponement and all members of the Committee should set aside all their other commitments or duties for this over-riding public responsibility. The Investigation Committee should have as its target the completion of its findings within a month of the start of its inquiry.