‘It has never being my strength hiding the truth, once I feel it in my heart, or of pretense or hypocrisy!

If I feel it, I will go on record, praying that what is felt is picked up and responded as – ‘time is of the essence!’

And life is short!’

Dr Jacob George


A new form of respiratory virus, originating in the central Chinese city of Wuhan has spread further in Asia and beyond, with now confirmed cases reported in Hong Kong, Macao, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, the U.S., France, Australia and now, Malaysia!

There are claims it has emerged in Nepal as well!

I am advised that the novel coronavirus has infected 1,287 people and killed 41 in China as of this morning.

But, these numbers may be extremely watered down by the Chinese government who can never report actual numbers.

In view the rapid evolving of this outbreak we are also told that the local government in Wuhan is working quickly to build an emergency medical center within days to treat patients suffering from the newly identified disease, widely known as Wuhan pneumonia.

China has now locked down at least 10 cities is been reported that even part of Beijing has been locked down.

33 million people are now surrounded by police and military to prevent them from leaving or entering the Cities the number of for fatalities has moved up to 26 and the number of confirmed cases 875. Is this the truth or political manipulation of numbers!

I was advised that during the outbreaks of SARS when the WHO was visiting several hospitals in China, how it was alleged that the authorities there kept running the affected in ambulances for a ‘tour around the city’ to keep the presence and numbers out of the statistics of those visiting WHO observers who were documenting the numbers affected!

It is a strange ‘rumble in the jungle’ by politicians in healthcare attire more interested to play down, close more doors, hid the truth, smile for the cameras as if they are in control and all is well, when it is not!

In Malaysia, we have a word for them – ‘Bodoh Sombong!’

While this drama is unfolding, we have the World Health Organization saying that China faced an “emergency” but that it was against declaring a global health emergency, citing limited cases outside of China despite evidence of human-to-human transmission.

I find this truly strange!

It has never being my strength hiding the truth, or of pretense or hypocrisy!

If I feel it, I will go on record, praying that what is felt is picked up and responded as – ‘time is of the essence!’

And life is short!

During the SARS episode, you may remember that China drew criticism internationally for its attempt to cover up and underreport SARS cases 17 years ago.

The virus eventually spread to 29 countries, resulting in over 8,400 cases of infection and 813 deaths, according to the WHO.

This time, China appears to have responded more swiftly and proactively by identifying the pathogen in a few weeks since the first reported case emerged!

It has also shared the genetic sequence of the virus with health authorities around the world.

After an eerie silence, we now have the Malaysian Health Ministry stating they have detected the first set of positive cases of the new coronavirus in the country!

If I was the home minister I will initiate contingency plans to halt all arrivals from affected countries until further notice!

It is not panicking because with my track record of addressing public policy initiatives and more importantly, healthcare matters, for decades, only three had gained my trust and confidence!

They were Ministers of Health, Chua Jui Meng, and the other Dr Chua Soi Lek and a super-duper Director General of Healthcare Services in Dr Ismail Merican!

So I cannot be fooled by pretenders!

This is not my first rodeo either!

So, I will certainly suspend in view this threat the 15-day visa exemption for tourists from China following the first set of coronavirus cases in the country.

We will be foolish for not taking this stand!

I am not taken up by statements made by any corporate communication teams that all is well as ‘we have activated all our Rapid Response Teams (RRT) and Rapid Assessment Teams (RAT) on the ground’ following last night’s detection of new coronavirus cases in the country.

It means nothing to me these so called assurances!

Even the claims that now that there are teams at the ministry’s facilities nationwide, including hospitals and clinics, are tasked with carrying out contact tracing activities.

That all health services personnel have also been alerted to give serious attention to their utilization of personal protective equipment and to practice optimum infection control and prevention measures at all times.

That Patient screening at all health facilities must be done thoroughly to ensure that cases that fit the criteria would be referred for further investigations.

What does it mean in layman’s language?

Let us not get excited that tests for 10 of them turned up negative, while another is still pending.

This is a new challenge and we know little about the incubation period either, after all there are already cases, where some had died abroad who had no symptoms at all!

Let us first make certain now, that all thermal screening points at the airports and other arrival points, are being manned by professionals and not ‘morons and idiots’ like the two who were caught sleeping and while other times, sites unmanned!

Can we also employ retired health staff or re-deploy many, to also conduct a walkabout in the airports and do random checks, as they do in Korea and Hong Kong!

Certainly having allocated special medical bays for quarantine purposes at the arrival gates to cater to passengers who are exhibiting symptoms of the virus is much lauded!

Immediately, we should also reassign the arrival gates for the incoming flights from China and other suspect destinations as well.

And having them nearer to the medical bay to expedite the quarantine procedure and minimize the risk of exposure, to a wider crowd must be the agenda – one of quarantine and the other to minimize, the risk of exposure to the wider population arriving!

Having said all of the above, can we look at Malaysian eating outlets, where live animals like porcupine, civet cats, rodents and snakes are sold and are a potential source of all kinds of deadly infections, primarily because of the risk of animal-human transmission!

I am told of several such outlets in the Bukit Bintang area and rest of the nation!

Whether there is a link or not, we have no idea, but, based on the communication with doctors this evening, who are experts at communicable diseases, and, this was alluded to in our session by them, does not hurt us to look deeper at these claims as well!

It is important to drive this process professionally in the wake of the comments that are coming from medically ignorant religious groups in the country!

This is far better than the downs of megacities, and building a 1000 bed hospital in six days.



Of late, there seems to be that tendency by third parties to attempt to conduct interference in both civil and criminal matters in court the world over!

More so with media groups now are controlled by power political groups and big interest, it is a full blown pain which has to be navigated and addressed!

The latest sensation of the media seems to be an Angola billionaire!

None other than former first daughter, Isabel dos Santos, who has been charged with money laundering and mismanagement during her stewardship of state-owned oil firm Sonangol.

And not surprising allegations that documents leaked this week alleged the daughter of ex-president Jose Eduardo dos Santos, plundered state coffers to build her fortune, estimated at US$2.1 billion.

The words “mismanagement, embezzlement of funds, laundering, influence peddling, harmful management, forgery of documents, among other economic crimes” is all used interchangeably even before the dust has settled!

Alongside the narrative, they play up that she is dubbed Africa’s richest woman!

It is alleged that she used her father’s backing to plunder state funds from the oil-rich but poor southern African country and moving the money abroad with the help of Western firms.

Yes, that usual ‘poor rich narrative used’ to spice up the matter as if the media really cares about the poor?

Adding on, we are told that she stopped living in Angola after her father, who ruled the country with an iron fist for nearly 40 years, stepped down in 2017 for his anointed successor Joao Lourenco.

I am a media person and have a holistic track record of shaping public opinion!

I have done so over 40 years now, but with a sense of real responsibility and accountability!

We must remember, no matter which part of the global world we are from, we must remember that the media is regarded as one of the pillars of democracy.

The media has wide ranging roles in the society.

The media plays a vital role in molding the opinion of the society and it is capable of changing the whole view point through which people perceive various events.

The media can be commended for starting a trend where the media plays an active role in bringing the accused to hook.

But at the same time, it is now a horror tale that the media in some jurisdictions have now reincarnated it into a ‘public court’ and has started interfering into court proceedings.

It completely overlooks the vital gap between an accused and a convict keeping at stake the golden principles of ‘presumption of innocence until proven guilty’ and ‘guilt beyond reasonable doubt’.

In recent years, this has become malicious and defamatory, with the advent of the social media and unregulated commentators using pseudo names and addressing the issues beyond the border of fair comment or the ‘presumption of innocence until proven guilty!’

We must member that this provision ‘presumption of innocence until proven guilty’ owes its origin to the principle of natural justice; that ‘every accused has a right to a fair trial’ clubbed with the principle that ‘Justice may not only be done it must also seem to be done’.

Of course, there are multiple ways in which attempts are made to prejudice trial.

If such incidences, are allowed to be successful, there will be that ‘travesty of justice’ with persons convicted of offenses which they may have not committed.

My humble contention is, that the law as to interference with the due course of justice, has been well stated by the chief justice Gopal Rao Ekkbote of Andhra Pradesh High Court in the case of Y.V. Hanumantha Rao v. K.R. Pattabhiram and Anr. [ii], which to me is, super brilliant – where in it was observed by the learned judge that:

“ …… When litigation is pending before a Court, no one shall comment on it in such a way there is a real and substantial danger of prejudice to the trial of the action, as for instance by influence on the Judge, the witnesses or by prejudicing mankind in general against a party to the cause. Even if the person making the comment honestly believes it to be true, still it is a contempt of Court if he prejudices the truth before it is ascertained in the proceedings. To this general rule of fair trial one may add a further rule and that is that none shall, by misrepresentation or otherwise, bring unfair pressure to bear on one of the parties to a cause so as to force him to drop his complaint or defense. It is always regarded as of the first importance that the law which we have just stated should be maintained in its full integrity. But in so stating the law we must bear in mind that there must appear to be ‘a real and substantial danger of prejudice’.”

Perhaps, we can all learn a thing or two, in upholding the concept of – ‘presumption of innocence until proven guilty!’

May the Almighty help us all!



1.  Malaysia is the third largest/highest as far as fatalities in road accidents in ASIA/ASEAN

2.  We are allegedly behind Thailand and Vietnam.

3.  Road accidents are preventable/predictable but yet where is the said intervention?

4.  Malaysia is among the top 25 most dangerous countries for road users!

5.  In 2016, Accidents were the 4th cause of death after heart disease, Pneumonia and Cerebrovascular disease

So fellow Malaysians who do we hold accountable for the road carnage we see and witness in Malaysia?

I asked these questions yesterday live on TV3 where I was interviewed by TV3 anchors!

Among the places where fingers can be pointed are at the alleged lack of proper law enforcement and this despite hundreds of thousands of traffic summonses issued each year and clear evidence that there is a large demography of drivers driving heavy vehicles, buses and other heavy vehicle, many overloaded on drugs!

The last time we made news again for the wrong reasons was when a study by the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute found Malaysian roads are the 17th deadliest in the world!

But my contention is that study was flawed big time as it used outdated data of 2008 from the World Health Organization, where the said authors of the study found that road accidents caused 30 deaths for every 100,000 people in Malaysia’s population.

Basically it means that 6.0 per cent of all deaths in the country were caused by road accident fatalities.

If one decides to make a comparison of road accidents and fatalities across some regions, we may find that road accidents in Thailand caused 44 deaths per 100,000 of people, making it the second most deadly country for road accidents.

Namibia topped the list with 45 deaths per 100,000 of the population.

In comparison, coronary heart disease made up 17 per cent of total deaths in Malaysia, making it the number one killer in the country.

The other two main killers in Malaysia were cancer, which made up 15 per cent of total deaths and stroke at 9 per cent.

Despite that, the study showed that Malaysia has among the lowest overall fatality rates with 494 deaths per 100,000 people, and was placed 170th among the 193 countries surveyed.

This beckons a very serious question in a land where according to public and international perception among the many lawlessness are the lawlessness we see on the roads of Malaysia!

Are Malaysian road users taking responsibility for their own safety while driving as more than 80% of traffic accidents are caused by human error according to investigations and surveys done by the Consumers Association of Subang and Shah Alam Selangor (CASSA).

Furthermore, the death of 65,850 people in road accidents between 2004 and 2013 had resulted in as much as RM78 billion being lost in economic contributions with an average of RM1.2 million each.

Now this begs a pertinent question!

Who do we hold accountable for the road carnage we see and witness in Malaysia?

Among the places where fingers can be pointed are at the alleged lack of proper law enforcement and this despite hundreds of thousands of traffic summonses issued each year?

I am certain that the stakeholders and among them the police and other relevant authorities are doing their part but that is certainly not enough!

Every road user and vehicle owner needs to abide by the law and ensure safety of him and that of passengers!

Of late we have also my boys and girls on motorbikes riding with a death wish as well!

Are they on drugs as well?

If a vehicle driver’ drives left to right, right to left, they will be immediately picked up by traffic police.

But why are the motorbikes not picked up when they speed, move from right to left, squeeze between vehicles damaging cars?

Instead of blaming others, road users should take it upon themselves to drive safely and be more considerate of other road users and attentive of their surroundings.

Stakeholders who run and manage highways needs to also play their part as they have a contractual duty of care to ensure that the pay and use highways are free of all kinds and forms of dangers!

But this is not always the case as retreaded Tyre parts and other foreign bodies which includes stones and pebbles are on highways and pose a serious danger to users!

Then there we also have heavy vehicles and trans-border coaches which are always in the news after major crashes resulting in deaths!

Every year we have a litany of such cases and reruns and verbal diarrhea from the authorities promises action and draconian changes that never comes!

This weekend is Chinese New Year and just before it we already have a rising statistics of deaths and among them, bikers!

If some of our policymakers are still in comatose let me bring them to speed of the following statistics which should point to their incompetence!

July 1st 2016, two people were killed when an express bus rammed into a road divider at KM194.9 of the North-South Expressway near Bukit Merah, Taiping.

We then had six members of a family, including three young grandchildren, were killed in a road accident involving two lorries on the Gua Musang-Kota Baru trunk road.

There have been others cases over the years and you can get my sarcasm and drift!

22 August, 2013

An express bus with 53 occupants from 6 different countries rammed a divider while negotiating a steep slope, and plunged into a 60-metre ravine near Genting Highlands, en route to KL. A staggering thirty-seven people, mostly foreigners, died at the scene – making the accident the deadliest road mishap in Malaysian history. An investigation later revealed that the bus, which had exceeded its maximum capacity of 44 passengers, had been placed on a blacklist by the Road Transport Department (JPJ) well in advance of its fatal journey.

20 December, 2010

A double-decker tour bus packed with Thai holidaymakers returning to KL from Cameron Highlands lost control while negotiating a sharp bend, smashed violently into a divider and went airborne, somersaulted and crashed upside-down in a ditch. The impact was so great that the roof was sheared off, and some passengers were flung through the air, landing many metres away. Of the 37 passengers on board, only 10 survived with severe injuries. Road safety experts later questioned the wisdom behind using a double-decker bus for steep, uphill travel, which they judged highly unsuitable.

13 August, 2007

A 42-seater coach en route from Melaka to Butterworth crashed through a steel barrier while cruising downhill near Bukit Gantang, Perak, and nosedived into a 6-metre ravine. Twenty two of the bus’ occupants (some of whom were catapulted from the vehicle) were killed, while all surviving passengers were severely injured – with the notable exception of a 24 year-old Nepali man, who walked away with barely a scratch. A police investigation later revealed that the deceased bus driver had had 13 summonses and two warrants of arrest for traffic offences, while his employer, the bus operator, had previously been slapped with 19 summonses.

10 October, 2007

An express bus heading north on the North-South Expressway near the Simpang Ampat toll plaza struck the rear of a car, swerved into the median guardrail, crashed through to the opposite lane, and ploughed into an oncoming bus, two cars, a van and a motorcycle. Thirteen people from all vehicles involved were killed, and 45 were injured, many seriously.

23 November, 2003

Two express buses collided along Jalan Lipis-Merapoh, near the Pahang-Kelantan border, killing 14 people.

12 April 2001

The brakes of a tour bus failed as it cruised along Jalan Baling-Pengkalan Hulu in Kedah, causing the coach to career off the road and crash into a ditch. Twelve women and 1 young boy were killed, while many others were gravely injured.

July 16, 1996

A chartered bus filled with vacationing factory workers and their families lost control while descending Genting Highlands and plummeted headlong down a 120 metre-deep gully. Seventeen passengers – including 6 children – were killed, while 15 others were seriously injured.

February, 1990

The notorious Karak highway was the scene of one of the grisliest road accidents in Malaysian history. A multiple-vehicle pile-up occurred when a fast-moving passenger bus collided with a tanker lorry, 6 cars, 2 taxis, a truck and a number of Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) riot police vehicles. Seventeen people, including 11 FRU personnel, were killed, and many more injured. Thousands of vehicles heading to and from KL were tangled in a resulting jam of epic proportions which lasted many hours.

Will change come in 2020?

I think you know the answer to that just as I!



I am done with asking what ever happened to that much hyped statutory provision that we all contributed to call the ‘Organ Transplant Act?’

I am advised it is gathering dust because some religious morons and idiots didn’t have their way with it so it’s in the cold storage?

I would not even ask about the speed breakers on all public and heavy vehicles much lobbied for the safety of those using Malaysian roads with its super high casualty figures in the ASEAN neighborhood!

But let me address another matter that I have addressed from time immemorial the inexplicable reason why we still have food poisoning cases when those providing the service are considered super halal protocol followers?

I remember on February 5th 2010 I spoke and highlighted at length on the critical need of a well addressed and comprehensive Food Handlers Act for Malaysia!

I remember my discussions with both the Minister and the then director General of Health who were very supportive of my concerns!

Fast forward 23 June 2018 – mainstream newspapers then went at length on the same topic in a run up and justification of shutting the door on cooks in the Malaysian business kitchen!

As always these are two separate issues!

If you want to close the door go ahead, but, only after a white paper on the justification of such, a comprehensive discussion with stakeholders at the gaps, and the facts revolving why such a fast track knee jerk reaction without consultation and whose interest being served?

Most important – what will the economic costs be to businesses nationwide at all the tiers?

And the flashpoints in escalation of minefields in international diplomacy with our neighbors whose citizens are sent packing off without proper and adequate remuneration or heads up to respective governments therein?

So if you are going to minimize foreigners in our hospitality/service sector first have the common decency to start a conversation with the real stakeholders!

Not the “political high powered business mafia heads who have been operating from rag to riches using foreign workers funds from the onset to build their today’s brand names in the Malaysian space!

Let us initiate the protocols and the guidelines but shut up until the system is in place!

Now fast track to January 2020, back to my appeal for a Food Handlers Act!

Yes, I sound like John the Baptist – a voice crying in the wilderness urging, appealing and screaming for a comprehensive Food Handlers Act in Malaysia!

The reasons are aplenty from the ineffectiveness of the Food Act 1985 which is outdated, to the sorry, corrupt and ineffectiveness of our enforcement and total invasion of this sector by foreigners from Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Myanmar, Thailand, Africa, Middle East and West Asian countries to our own Malaysians!

With the reemergence of many once eradicated diseases, we need to question and seek answers to the present problems brought about by apathy, incompetence, corruption and sheer lack of political and professional will!

So if my appeal for a Food Handlers Act is favorable –

What do they cover?

The Regulations applies to all types of food and drink and their ingredients.

But some businesses – generally manufacturers of products of animal origin, such as dairies or wholesale fish markets – follow their own product specific regulations.

These regulations are listed

Identifying and controlling food hazards

As the proprietor of a food business, you are expected to make sure food is supplied or sold in a hygienic way; to identify food safety hazards; know which steps in your activities are critical for food safety; ensure safety controls are in place, maintained and reviewed.

And their controls do not have to be complex.

There are systems that can be used by food businesses to ensure that hazards are identified and controls are in place.

For example – Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) is one of a number of such systems.

The Regulations aim to set out basic hygiene principles, which are generally not new. But their emphasis is different from previous regulations.

They focus more strongly on how to identify and control food safety risks at each stage of the process of preparing and selling food.

Rather than simply following a list of rules, the Regulations let you assess the risk to food safety and then apply controls relevant to your own situation.

This will work provided you are accountable and ethical both a majority of ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing’ – business head are not in their pursuit of maximizing profits!

But in all fairness – not all the requirements for the structure and equipment of food premises will apply to you.

Some are followed by the words where appropriate or where necessary!

For example, one provision states that, where appropriate floors must allow surface drainage.

But where you have a system to ensure water does not build up, so that there is no risk to food safety, actual floor drains may not be necessary.

So there is no absolute requirement to have them.

Basic requirements for food businesses

Food premises should be clean and maintained in good repair; be designed and constructed to permit good hygiene practices; have an adequate supply of potable (drinking) water;

have suitable controls in place to protect against pests; have adequate natural and/or artificial lighting; have sufficient natural and/or mechanical ventilation; provide clean lavatories which do not lead directly into food rooms; have adequate hand washing facilities; be provided with adequate drainage.

Let us not forget that rooms where food is prepared, treated or processed should generally have surface finishes which are easy to clean and, where necessary, disinfect.

This would, for instance, apply to wall, floor and equipment finishes.

The rooms should also have:

  1. adequate facilities for washing food and equipment;
  2. Adequate facilities for the storage and removal of food waste.

Of course, many of the Regulations are basic minimum hygiene standards which apply to every food business.

But how they are applied still depends on the situation.

For example, every food premises must be kept clean.

But how they are cleaned, and how often, will be different for a manufacturer of ready-to-eat meals than for bakery selling bread or even fast food outlets!

Supplies of raw materials

Do not buy or supply any raw materials if you think that even after sorting or processing they could make food unfit for human consumption.

Any material which you suspect or know to be infected or contaminated with parasites or foreign substances to this extent should be rejected.

Quality of Water in food

There must be an adequate supply of potable (drinking) water, to be used whenever necessary to ensure food is not contaminated.

In the vast majority of cases, this is supplied via the public water supply.

And our public water system today is compromised!

And if there is any doubt about the quality of a water supply, you should seek advice from your local council Environmental Health Services.

Personal hygiene for food handlers

Now the meat of my argument!

Anyone who works in a food handling area must maintain a high degree of personal cleanliness.

And the way in which they work must also be clean and hygienic.

Food handlers must wear clean and, where appropriate, protective over-clothes. Anyone whose work involves handling food should/must:

  1. observe good personal hygiene;
  2. routinely wash their hands when handling food;
  3. never smoke in food handling areas;
  4. report any illness (like infected wounds, skin infections, diarrhea or vomiting) to their manager or supervisor immediately.

If any employee reports that they are suffering from any such illness, the business may have to exclude them from food handling areas.

This is today questionable in Malaysian outlets!

Such action should be taken urgently.

If you have any doubt about the need to exclude, you should seek urgent medical advice!

Employers must not send them to work fully knowing that they are ill as many do today because those ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing’ types with their “political connections’ want the workers to work irrespective what?

Preventing food contamination

Here we have failed in super class!

All prepared food is openly displayed and from customers to insects and pests (rats included!)

Food handlers must protect food and ingredients against contamination which is likely to render them unfit for human consumption or a health hazard.

For example, uncooked poultry should not contaminate ready-to-eat foods, either through direct contact or through work surfaces or equipment.

How often have we seen them together!

Training and supervising food handlers

Our food handlers come from challenged societies in several ASEAN and South Indian continent – where several diseases continue to operate more so ones Malaysia had in the past eradicated but since the arrivals of workers and big profits for politicians, manpower agents, business operators cum agents in the greed for the foreign workers commissions this is been compromised!

So it is vital that food handlers must receive adequate supervision, instruction and/or training in food hygiene.

Do they?

Each food business must decide what training or supervision their food handlers need by identifying the areas of their work most likely to affect food hygiene.

Many of the guidelines in this guidance apply equally to food businesses trading from temporary or occasional locations like those under the tree, stalls, by hawkers, entrenched sites, canteens and so forth.

But because not all of them will be practical, there are also some slightly different requirements.

However, wherever food is sold, two basic rules always apply:

  1. there should be adequate facilities to prepare and serve food safely; and
  2. Food handling procedures should avoid exposing food to risk of a contamination.

Even some fast food and high end outlets are guilty of this from consumer feedbacks and our observations.

I have repeatedly asked those operating under such licenses to read again the conditions of their franchise from the mother company in the United States, the UK, Europe, and Spain, Germany or the cold terrains of the North Pole!

Can our stakeholders bravely commit and say in January 2020 – No to any more food poisoning incidences or worst the continued increase of diseases we had at one time eradicated!