KJ defends Noor Hisham against Tiong’s tirade over Covid-19 strategy

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Health minister Khairy Jamaluddin has defended his director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah after a Sarawak MP criticised him and the ministry’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Earlier today, Bintulu MP Tiong King Sing questioned if Noor Hisham was the “best person” to lead the charge against the Omicron variant of the Covid-19 virus, citing his alleged refusal to seek advice from China where the pandemic first began.

Khairy said it was undeniable that China’s approach in handling the pandemic was effective.

“But their strategy is ‘containment’ or ‘zero Covid’, which means a total lockdown when there are even three positive cases.

FMT

“Malaysia cannot afford a lockdown in view of the economy and the people’s welfare. Our strategy is mitigation,” he said.

Previous lockdowns to combat the spread of the pandemic had led to many people losing their jobs and businesses closing down.

Tiong, taking to Facebook, had said that Noor Hisham was a surgeon “whose background is not that of a public health specialist”.

“They (the health ministry) are obviously underqualified but still refuse to seek advice from China, which has massive experience in fighting this pandemic,” the MP, who is the prime minister’s special envoy to China, said in a Facebook post.

He said people had noticed that the death rate from the pandemic in China was low and questioned why Malaysia had not adopted more strategies from that country.

Khairy was also not spared Tiong’s tirade. Tiong questioned if the minister had a clear strategy in the nation’s fight against the Omicron variant, which is said to have the ability to spread rapidly.