A young Singaporean man was killed in a hit-and-run accident in JB.
It was a frustrating incident, not so much because of the irresponsible attitude of the rash driver but the loss of a precious young life.
The incident did not end just there. In its stead, it took a rather dramatic turn.
Joshua De Rozario, the friend of the ill-fated young Singaporean, witnessed the whole incident and what happened thereafter.
Back to Singapore, he related what he saw to the city-state’s media.
He said they waited for more than 30 minutes for the ambulance to arrive, and when his friend Justinian Tan was sent to Sultanah Aminah Hospital, they were told to pay before any treatment could be given.
Having obtained this piece of newsworthy information, the Singapore media gave prominent coverage to the accident, while the readers, especially those accessing the news online, were quick to slam the sluggishness of the Malaysian ambulance, the lack of compassion of the JB hospital and undesirable quality of its medical staff.
Many even associated this with the overall standard of the country in a bid to justify their claim of a backward and uncivilized Malaysia.
Unfortunately the same was echoed by many Malaysians who were eager to throw more dirt at their own country.
But, no one seemed to have the slightest doubt of De Rosario’s claim; neither were the Singapore media bothered to verify what actually took place just a narrow strait away in Johor Bahru.
The whole thing was blown out of proportion, and before long it reached the Malaysian health ministry which instantly initiated an investigation. Having gone through all the records in hand, it was found that things didn’t go quite as De Rosario had described.
The ambulance arrived at the accident scene 13 minutes upon notice, and emergency treatment was given to the victim soon after he arrived at the hospital, and no payment was asked before the treatment.
The same was confirmed by Sultanah Aminah Hospital’s records. Subsequently, the health ministry demanded that the Singapore media retract the earlier reports or legal actions would be taken against them.
So the Singapore media approached De Rosario again to seek clarification.
De Rosario was obviously in a much better state of mind than when he first made the press statement.
He said he did not know exactly how long it took for the ambulance to arrive, but “felt” it took more than 30 minutes.
He also wasn’t sure whether the hospital had asked for payment, for they were speaking in Malay and he did not understand what they said.
“I’m not medically trained and we had communication problems,” he admitted.
When De Rosario first related his story to the media, there was apparently no such “feeling” or “miscommunication”, and of course the Singapore media took things for granted.
As for the readers, they started firing their bullets at Malaysia out of sheer imagination in a self-righteous manner.
My question is: whenever Malaysia is involved in something not so good, our neighbors across the Causeway, along with our local media and people, would tend to incriminate Malaysia first without trying to find out what has actually happened.
Why must we always see this country in a negative light?
Our hospitals are not that bad after all, and our hospital charges are among the world’s cheapest. Not all our medical staff are rotten, and I can personally testify that many of them are really very dedicated and professional.
Medical facilities aside, our public services, infrastructure, education and other areas are all running up to the standard, or we wouldn’t have possibly enjoyed the kind of qualify of life we now have.
Sure enough there are deficiencies and room for improvement. We need constructive criticisms and close supervision, not slanderous statements and sabotage.
Come on, fellow Malaysians! Let’s show some faith in this country. We will get better tomorrow!