I wouldn't know if I'm alone in this fight to get the Health Ministry to come clean and transparent in its handling of the melamine crisis. Apparently, it seems that the opposition is not keen on this issue even though I had left comments at Kit's and Teresa's blogs seeking their supports to further this cause.
Ok, never mind if I'm alone to take on this lying Health Minister.
A few days ago, I blogged that Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai was lying through his teeth when he said that the European Union countries have a permissible level of 30ppm melamine in foodstuffs. He proved himself incompetent and unfit to be a Health Minister when he attempted to convince and to coax the rakyat to consume food products that are tainted with melamine as long as the content is below the 'permissible' level. Hence, I called for his resignation.
The Health Ministry has not been transparent in its handling of this crisis and there are many questions that demand answers. I have only a few questions and I asked the Health Minister to reveal all the informations, including the person or persons responsible for feeding him misinformations about permissible level of melamine in food products as well as the person or persons responsible for the testing method, the reasons why the approach was taken and its limitations, because the rakyat have the rights to challenge the government's decisions and the need for information to be transparent and readily available.
The first answer I received regards testing method was through 2 pieces of news articles published in The Star and Bernama. Speculations have it that it is the manufacturers who provide their test results to the ministry. Let's hear out the spins:
The Star: 1008 products have guarantee safety by the manufacturers.
Bernama: 1008 products found to be free of the substance (melamine)
In my opinion, based on the spins above, there could be a truth. The bare truth could be that the Health Ministry takes it as gospel truth when manufacturers provide their test results to the ministry and that the ministry will in turn just rubber stamp the test results and presto, the food products are melamine free! Isn't this a possibility? Is the Health Minister defending the manufacturers?
UPDATE: We should not have to depend on foreign health institutes alone to obtain these findings for us - The Star
I once again stress that there isn't such a thing as a permisisble level of melamine in food products. To allow melamine is akin to allowing dioxin to be added into food products, which is an illegal act. Worse, legalising melamine in food products, however low the permissible level, is to encourage manufacturers to cheat. Any manufacturer will now know how to boost the protein level in their food products and will surely explore this loophole.
10 days ago, Taiwan's Health Minister Lin Fang-yu resigned over this mishandling of the crisis when he raised the 'permissible' level of melamine from ZERO to 2.5ppm. Why so? It is clear that ZERO means melamine in food products is illegal while a 2.5ppm melamine in food products is legalising melamine in food products.
Today, our Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai has followed in the foodsteps of Taiwan's ex-Health Minister to legalise melamine in food products when he openly declared that from now on, the permissible level of melamine in food products is 2.5 ppm while for baby products, 1 ppm is allowed!
This is clearly a mishandling of the crisis and our Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai is incompetent. Is he going to legalise dioxin in food products too? Who is more important, the manufacturers or the lives of rakyat?
For putting the health and lives of the rakyat at risks, this Health Minister must resign!