Thursday, April 10, 2014

Health Ministry halts construction works amid spike in dengue cases

PETALING JAYA, April 10 — Construction work in 14 sites in the Petaling district has been put on hold by the Health Ministry after they were found to have 165 mosquito breeding spots. This follows the revelation that almost all dengue cases reported in Selangor were from the Petaling district alone. Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said there were 14,905 dengue cases in Selangor, with 6,083 or 42 per cent of them in Petaling, as of Monday. There have been 26,658 cases nationwide this year. He told a press conference yesterday the 14 construction sites were inspected by Selangor health officers under Operasi Gempur Tapak Bina Khas on Tuesday. “All works at the sites have been suspended for five days and notices were given to developers and construction companies,” he said. Besides the construction sites, the Health Ministry had also determined the population density in the district was one of the reasons for the high number of dengue cases. “The district is big and has a population of over two million people,” Dr Subramaniam said. Another reason highlighted was the multi-storey buildings in the area, specifically low-cost flats such as Mentari Court. “Some of the buildings have uneven floors, especially in parking areas, and are perfect breeding grounds for mosquitos,” he said. Dr Subramaniam said the residents were not cooperative with the ministry’s efforts to tackle this issue and that some breeding grounds were within the houses themselves. “If the residents don’t let us into their homes to conduct checks, we are not able to take the necessary actions,” he said. Dr Subramaniam also said there were a few issues to be brought to the Federal Cabinet’s attention. “The maintenance of low-cost flats and managing of construction sites need additional attention,” he said. Guidelines would be provided after discussions with responsible parties to ensure cleanliness and the prevention of mosquito breeding grounds. 

Under the Destruction of Disease-Bearing Insects Act 1975 (Section 25), building owners can be fined RM500 if the Aedes mosquito larvae is found on their premises. Under Section 23 of the same Act, a person may be fined RM10,000 or sentenced to two years’ jail for the first offence and repeat offenders will be fined RM50,000 or jailed for five years. - See more at:

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