More doctors have banded together to slam the alleged tear gas assault at the Tung Shin and Chinese Maternity Hospitals during the massive rally last Saturday.
In a statement from the Federation of Private Medical Practitioners' Associations Malaysia (FPMPAM) sent late tonight, president Dr Stephen Chow said that the sanctity of hospitals should be respected at all times including during times of disturbance and unrest.
He also voiced his support over the 11 doctors who came out publicly to slam the heavy-handedness by the authorities in their crackdown of the demonstrators.
“The federation certainly supports the action of these 11 senior doctors as they are voicing out their outrage and concern when patients' lives are put in danger.
“We are certain that all doctors, both in public and private practice would also feel the same when the sanctity of their hospitals and patients under their care are similarly affected,” said Dr Chow.
'Hospital should have been cordoned off on July 9'
But unlike the eleven doctors who condemned the police crackdown which saw authorities deliberately entering the hospital buildings - “consecrated places of refuge and protection even during war times” - the federation suggested that the hospital should not have opened their compound to the protesters in the first place.
“As wisdom in hindsight, the area where the hospital is located should have been effectively cordoned off way ahead so as to prevent any spillage of the activities of the day into its compound.
“We are certain that such responsible pre-emptive measures would have the full support of all rakyat including the doctors practicing in that hospital as it would certainly have prevented the unfortunate and ugly scenes on the afternoon of July 9 at the Tung Shin Hospital,” said Dr Chow.
Pointing no blame at the gov't
In a rather diplomatic statement, the federation also pointed no blame at the government for the Saturday incident which allegedly saw water cannons and tear gas shot into the hospital compound.
“We do understand that this is indeed also the stand of the government all along when hospitals were targeted (accidentally or otherwise) in other incidents in other parts of the world. This is indeed one of the international benchmarks of civil societies.
“What the eleven doctors were doing was to re-affirm our consistent support for this stand which is consistent with the moral stand of our government in this issue,” said Dr Chow.
The police as well as Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai had previouslydenied incidences of the dispersal methods ever deployed in the hospital compound right in the heart of Kuala Lumpur during the massive Bersih 2.0 rally, at the same time endangering the hospital patients.
This is despite the numerous photos, videos and eyewitness accounts to suggest otherwise.
But just two days after the denials, Liow announced that he has set up a high-powered ministerial committee of enquiry to investigate the matter, with the committee to be chaired by the Health Ministry secretary-general.