I call this press conference to urge on the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Home Affairs, Datuk Musa HItam, to lift all restrictions on ex-detainee under the Internal Security Act, Lim Ngi Chou @Lim Geok Chye, who is suffering from a rare lung cancer, and to give all forms of assistance to send him overseas for medical treatment to save his life.
I have with me the family members of Lim Hgi Chou 31, a Nanyang University graduate in mathematics, formerly teaching in Confucian Chinese Secondary School (Independent). Lim Ngi Chou was detained under the Internal Security Act on 23rd Nov. 1979 and detained at the Taiping Detention Camp.
Ngi Chou had no known medical problems before his detention. I understand that Ngi Chou is now in a very critical condition, and that although he is now under the charge of the National Tuberculosis Centre in Jalan Pahang, Kuala Lumpur, it is beyond local medical expertise to save his life.
Ngi Chou suffered grave medical neglect while under detention. He started coughing very badly in November 1980. For eight month he was given some pills and cough mixtures, which did not help in relieving his coughing.
In April 1981, at his insistent request, Ngi Chou was given a medical check-up at the Taiping General Hospital. He was told he suffered from bronchitis, but the coughing mixture and pills prescribed to him was of completely no help.
On 2nd July 1981, Ngi Chou wrote to the Chief Welfare Officer at Taiping Detention Camp, Mr. Charan Singh, requesting permission to seek Specialist examination. He was sent to the Taiping District Hospital outpatient department, instead of to a Specialist, and the doctor there insisted that he was suffering from bronchitis. He was told that the disease would be with him for the whole life and would never be cured.
In August 1981, a lady doctor in Taiping District Hospital ignored two samples of his blood-stained sputum, and just continued to prescribe the same medication.
At one stage, Ngi Chou was told that he would be given Specialist treatment if he would go on television to make a confession.
Ngi Chou was released from detention on 10.11.1981, and is at present at the National Tuberculosis Centre. Ngi Chou admits that even if he had been sent to a specialist very much earlier, it is not certain he could have been cured. But such a possibility could not be completely ruled out, and there is also no doubt that he had been denied basic medical attention when he was in extremely poor health.
The Ministry of Home Affairs must assume certain responsibility for the grave health position of Ngi Chou now. Ngi Chou is still under restriction to Kuala Lumpur, and for humanitarian reasons I call on the Deputy Prime Minister and Home Affairs Minister, Datuk Musa Hitam, to lift all restrictions on Ngi Chou and to render all possible assistance to send him overseas for medical treatment to save his life. The Home Affairs Minister must also conduct an inquiry into the medical treatmnent of ISA detainees in Taiping Detention Camp, which is most unsatisfactory.