Ministry to review RM500 fine for construction firms after rise in dengue cases

The health ministry says Malaysia has seen a 70% increase in dengue cases from last year. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: The health ministry may consider a review of the RM500 fine for construction companies if dengue mosquitos are found at their project sites, following a 70% increase in dengue cases from last year.

Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye said 118,416 cases were recorded, with 164 deaths.

He said other Asian countries such as Singapore, the Philippines, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, Taiwan and Laos had also seen a spike in dengue cases this year.

“The increase is not only in Malaysia, but in other Asian countries as well,” he said to Alice Lau (PH-Lanang) who had asked about the dengue situation in Sarawak and the peninsula, as well as the number of deaths.

Comparing figures up until Nov 27, Lee said there were 69,849 cases of dengue last year with 118 deaths. Sarawak, too, had seen a drastic increase in cases with 2,310 this year compared to 600 last year.

He said the increase in dengue cases was linked to cleanliness, and urged the people to keep their homes clean while the ministry carries out enforcement measures and seeks to raise awareness.

Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim (BN-Baling) then asked if the ministry planned to amend the law to increase the RM500 fine, saying there could be stagnant water at construction sites.

“No amount of gotong-royong would solve the problem,” he added.

Lee said those living in rural areas might not be able to pay the existing fine of RM500 but added that the ministry would review the penalty for construction companies and factories.

“Fines will not solve all of the problems, but the ministry will review the fines for construction companies,” he said.