'Liar' minister Liow insists police did not shoot tear gas into Tung ShinVideo Proof of Bersih2.0 Teargas in Hospital Compound:
Written by Melissa Lee, Malaysia Chronicle
Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai became an object of nationwide ridicule when he insisted the police had not launched tear gas or water canons into the compound of the Tung Shin hospital, and was even arrogant enough to warn journalists not to show him any videos of photos that contradicted his claim.
"LiowTiong Lai lied bravely to defend the police, claiming no tear gas, no water cannons and no arrests in Tung Shin hospital compound," Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua said on Twitter.
On Saturday, the main road along the Tung Shin hospital in Pudu was the scene of one of several citizen marches organised by the Bersih 2.0 for free and fair elections.
For reasons that have been condemned both in and out of the country, Prime Minister Najib Razak chose to clampdown on the mammoth rally and ordered one of the harshest crackdowns in recent years, leaving one dead and thousands injured.
The PM is in denial mode, refusing to apologize. This has created great public anger and calls are growing for him to quit. Meanwhile, in what has become typical fashion, Najib has just left for an overseas trip leaving his Cabinet to deal with the mess.
An iconic hospital that began as a maternity home, Tung Shin got caught in the crossfire when marchers ran into its grounds to escape police who came after them and firied tear gas directly at them rather than into the air.
The behaviour of the Malaysian police contrasted sharply with the authorities in overseas nations like Australia, who commended Malaysians in sister-marches at Melbourne for conducting an orderly rally.
To make matters worse, Malaysian police denied ever firing tear gas and chemical-laced water into the Tung Shin compound. This despite the hundreds of available video footage on You Tube.
For sake of brownie points
Liow, the MCA deputy president, is not unknown for liking to score brownie points with Najib.
But ambition aside, Liow angered not only the Chinese community but also lost the respect of many Malaysians with his refusal to accept any view other than the police were innocent.
"The board of the hospital also confirmed this. Don't cite whatever pictures or videos again. The most important thing is that the person in charge of the hospital has confirmed that the police did not shoot the tear gas or water cannon into the hospital compound,” Malaysiakini reported Liow as saying on Monday.
"The police shot the tear gas over the main road. Maybe the smoke was blown by the wind in this direction - that, we don't know, but they were not aiming at the hospital. As for the water cannon, they were shooting at 45 degrees onto the main road, maybe the edge of it."
Tung Shin board head Ng Beh Tong, who was present, was quick to echo Liow's claim. According to Ng, the hospital administrator had briefed the board on the situation at a meeting this morning.
Both men also denied that the police came into the compound to arrest the marchers, claiming the police “only brought in some injured demonstrators for medical treatment”. Liow lost his temper when journalists were obviously sceptical of his answers.
“The board chairman has clarified this, but you still want to ask this question. Anybody including the media, if you have any allegation, you can tell the Health Ministry or Home Ministry, and we will investigate it,” he said.
Hospital should carry out internal probe, view the visuals
Under pressure, the MCA No. 2 then blamed the opposition for politicising the issue, refusing to acknowledge the wealth of visuals and eyewitness account.
"This is a sad day for Malaysians when their ministers lie out of desperation. Liow is Health minister. When the head is rotten, how long can the fish stay alive. Our concerns are two-pronged. Authorities should not lie for political reasons and hospitals must be respected," PKR vice president Tian Chua told Malaysia Chronicle.
"We also regret the Tung Shin board chief for not doing sufficient checks or and viewing the visuals before rushing to help Liow. We hope that for the sake of the hospital patients and staff, an internal investigation is launched into this and Ng's conduct as well. There is just too much evidence to accept what they both said."
- Malaysia Chronicle