Thursday, July 14, 2011

Doctors and surgeons confirm - hospital was sprayed and tear gassed

It looks like the more the Najib administration tries to wriggle out of the Tung Shin Hospital fiasco, the worse it becomes.

The fact MCA president Chua Soi Lek and his deputy Liow Tiong Lai are leading the BN's defense that the iconic hospital was not hit by tear gas and chemical-laced water has made citizens even more upset as neither leader holds much traction in the credibility stakes with the public.

A group of 11 doctors and surgeons attached to the hospital have issued a damning statement, exposing the web of lies spun by the two MCA leaders, the hospital board and the police in an apparent bid to escape further censure from the public and the international bodies for violating world convention that hospitals are off-limits even during war.

"What was most frightening and witnessed by many was the unprovoked violent assault within the hospital compounds and apprehension of several protesters who had merely ran into the hospitals to seek shelter from the tear gas and the water cannons!" the doctors said in the joint statement out on Wednesday.

The group of 11 were on duty on July 9 when the police fired the toxic material into the Tung Shin compound to flush out supporters of the Bersih 2.0 rally, who had been forced to hide by over-aggressive FRU troops swinging batons in a bid to break up the crowd.

The Tung Shin doctors also condemned the police for entering the hospital buildings in search of the fleeing marchers. On that day, more 1,600 were arrested, thousands injured and one death was reported.

"It is repulsive that the authorities entrusted with policing the nation and protecting the weak and needy, have shamelessly denied publicly, the occurrence of these incidents in spite of countless photos, videos and eye-witness accounts of what was evident to all independent observers," said the doctors.

The 11 doctors were Musa Nordin, Sheikh Johari Bux, Ng Kwee Boon, Ng Swee Choon, Ronald Macoy, David Quek, Mary Cardozo, Farouk Musa, Mazeni Alwi, Pixie Low and Steve Wong. They offered to sign affidavits to back their testimony.

The Bar Council had on Tuesday also issued a report by its Monitoring Team confirming that the police had indeed broken the rules, offering a video that showed police firing a huge spray of chemicalised water from their canons into the Tung Shin grounds.

Can't stand the lies anymore

Prime Minister Najib Razak has been roundly condemned including by the UN human rights office for using "excessive" force to suppress a peaceful citizens march for free and fair elections. However, he has defended the police and his government is adopting an 'admit no fault, brook no criticism' policy.

"When something as important as a hospital has been breached and in full sight of hundreds of people, to try and ram it down the public's throat that the police didn't do it is to really ask for it. Why - just because the authorities say so and everyone must accept it, is that it? So this is what is wrong and the success of Bersih is a manifestation of the people's frustration. It is also why the doctors broke their silence. They also can't stand the lies anymore," PKR vice president Chua Jui Meng told Malaysia Chronicle.

"Liow did the worst possible thing when he refused to accept the visual evidence and kept referring to the board's report. As a minister, he must show better wisdom than that. If the board's report had said the sky is green, would he also insist that is the fact. Why didn't he call for an independent probe, why did the board issue such a report if it wasn't trying to please someone? These are some of the questions for Chua Soi Lek and Liow Tiong Lai to answer."

Still not telling the truth

Indeed both Soi Lek and Liow made a second attempt to convince the public that police were innocent after Liow's botched attempt on Monday to defend the police, for which he was told to his face by his opposition peers that he was a "liar".

On Tuesday, supported by the scandal-tainted Soi Lek, both men again defended the police action and passed the buck to the Tung Shin board, which has been accused of obliging the MCA leaders. Soi Lek also blamed 'camera angle' for the ruckus.'

"Picture may not convey the total picture depending on the angle the picture was shot. If the tear gas had been fired to the car park and not to the proper administration building, then if you shoot from one angle, it looks like it is shot into the building," Soi Lek told the press conference.

"I'm not there to prove it was not shot into the building, I am not there to say the reports are not true. But Liow and I hold to the report given to us by the hospital administrator. And the board is made up of very respectable and well-to-do persons whom I do not think are interested to get into this war."

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