Malaysia's health ministry denies reports alleging record figure for Covid-19 was faked

Messages circulated on WhatsApp claimed that the ministry's director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah was unhappy with instructions to fake the number of cases.
Messages circulated on WhatsApp claimed that the ministry's director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah was unhappy with instructions to fake the number of cases.PHOTOS: NOOR HISHAM ABDULLAH/TWITTER

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia's Health Ministry has denied that it faked the number of daily Covid-19 cases last Saturday (Oct 24), which saw a record high of 1,228 being reported.

This was the first time the number of daily cases breached the 1,000 mark in the country.

"There were several fake messages sent on WhatsApp by irresponsible parties. The ministry would like to emphasise that this statement is not true at all.

"Please stop spreading fake news like this. The total number of cases reported on Oct 24, 2020 was 1,228 cases," the ministry said in a Facebook post on Sunday night.

The message claimed that the ministry's director-general (DG) Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah was unhappy with instructions by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to fake the number of cases.

The message also said that the government wanted to use the record figure for infections to push the case for declaring a state of emergency in the country, thus suspending Parliament.

"Watch closely DG next move as he is likely to resign under pressure or pushed out of action by (Muhyiddin)," one message said, which likely originated from a site describing itself as a "social news site".

The message was accompanied by a screenshot of a report on the cancellation of the daily press conference by Tan Sri Noor Hisham on Sunday.

He himself on Sunday shared the screenshots of the message on his Twitter account, saying that fake news was a challenge in the battle against Covid-19.

He said that he was unable to hold the press conference, but that a statement would be issued.

"God willing, a press conference will be held tomorrow (Monday)," he added.

Tan Sri Muhyiddin last Friday requested the proclamation of a state of emergency to combat the threat of the Covid-19 pandemic.

He and several ministers met the King, Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah, in Kuantan and presented him with the plan to declare a state of emergency.

They were accompanied by Dr Noor Hisham, Inspector-General of Police Abdul Hamid Bador and Attorney General Idrus Harun.

But the King on Sunday decided that there was no need to declare a state of emergency in the country. He praised the Muhyiddin government for its able handling of the pandemic.

A palace statement said "Sultan Abdullah feels that the current government has been successful in handling the pandemic effectively."