Ministry of Health Malaysia's Mission to Stymie Studies

Malaysia's Ministry of Health has a vision and a mission. Their vision is to see "a nation working together for better health" and their mission? "..lead and work in partnership", "to ensure a high quality health system that is .. equitable, efficient, environmentally adaptable, innovative .. with emphasis on professionalism, caring and teamwork, respect for human dignity, community participation."

Why is it then that Ministry of Health Malaysia is holding back on damning statistics that are needed to support the commencement of a box jellyfish research project at Langkawi? Where's "working together", "equitable .. innovative .. professionalism .. caring" etc??

A Tripadvisor thread on the subject of jellyfish recently revealed that marine scientists in Malaysia are very keen to study box jellyfish in Langkawi which would of course reveal in itself something of the animals' numbers, seasons, toxicity etc thus creating valuable data to help manage the problem and protect lives.

As has been well documented in this blog but not elsewhere, around 200 people with Irukandji stings required treatment at the Langkawi Hospital in July/August 2010, who knows how many received a painful sting but chose not to go to hospital. When you are on vacation and every second in paradise is precious one must be in a hell of a lot of pain to want to go to the hospital.

One year ago the Ministry of Health Malaysia concealed the real reason for the death of Swede Karin Lofgren on Pantai Cenang Langkawi saying she drowned when clearly she was stung by a box jellyfish, and now they are concealing the truth again by refusing to allow scrutiny of the medical records of the 200+ sting victims. This data would help determine details of the jellyfish, species, patterns, habits, season, etc while also acting as irrefutible evidence in itself that something needs to be done and the best way to do it is by studying it.

The Ministry of Health Malaysia needs to have a check-up, clearly its eyesight is failing, its blood pressure high, its standards shoddy, its ethics dubious and its heart cold. If it really cares for Malaysians and the state of health in this country, it will support any attempt to shed light on Langkawi's box jellyfish problem because any results will ultimately benefit the health of the people. The health of the people!


  1. Was stung in 2007 in Koh Mak - Thailand by unknown jellyfish.
    My foot was in big pain and swollen for a week.
    The marks were intense for 6 months or so.


  2. here's a pic

  3. Thanks Alexandros! Looks to me to be a welt from a box jellyfish tentacle sting - very distinctive size and pattern .. luckily it seems you have just been struck by the end or a small section of one tentacle .. difficult to say what species of box jellyfish or if multi-tentacle or single-tentacle types .. if you have any further information such as date/time (approximately) as we are trying to determine when they sting, where (near what resort), how deep (or what where you doing swimming? getting off boat? etc), did you see anything in the water? did you see a tentacle on your ankle and what did it look like (colour etc), did you treat it or did you get local help to treat it? did anyone else get stung? anything like this would be helpful and you can email me (details in profile) if you prefer. Again, thank you for the information and the very helpful pic - I am very glad it was minor, you can imagine how painful a more serious sting would be!

  4. Hi. Great blog site and good on you for trying to bring this out into the open. I am an emergency physician in Cairns, Australia and we live with irukandji and box jelly fish too. I started a thread in the trip advisor langkawi forum last year after being astounded at seeing 6 box jellyfish in the lights of a boat one night in the harbour next to the Dana resort. I was equally amazed at the lack of warnings and public awareness.
    Box jellyfish without doubt posses the most toxic venom on the planet. The last few deaths in this region have all been children and they all died in less than a couple of minutes.
    We are starting to see our first irukandji envenomations of this season. There is a spectrum but good going ones develop horrendous pain syndromes, very high blood pressures and occasionally fluid in the lungs. There have been 2 deaths due to irukandji in Aus but related to the extremely high blood pressure which led to intracerebral bleeds.
    We have developed effective treatment protocols for managing irukanji syndrome and have anti venom for box jellyfish stings if they get to the department. Thankfully they are rare BECAUSE OF PUBLIC AWARENESS AND WARNING SIGNS, VINEGAR AT ALL THE BEACHES! STINGER SUITS! NETTED AREAS FOR SWIMMING AND WELL ESTABLISHED TREATMENT PROTOCOLS FOR THOSE STUNG !!
    As you so rightly say if the government agencies refuse to acknowledge the problem then you are stuck and none of these straightforward measures can be put into place. Blogs such as yours are needed to continue to push the issue and continue to provide safe advice to those going there.
    Avoiding jellyfish is very simple - you just have to know they are there and the local authorities should be doing that instead of denying their existence.
    Well done mate
    Jim, Cairns

  5. I really think people need to make more noise concerning this problem. 200 box jellyfish stings in a span of two months? Why isn't there a web site dedicated to this topic, instead of a mere blog? You can call the web site or something like that. Did anyone take the time to notify their embassies of the lack of warnings/assistance on the Langkawi beaches? If the box jellyfish presence and numbers of envenomations are true, then PLEASE DO MORE TO RAISE AWARENESS! MAKE MORE NOISE!

  6. It takes time, money and effort - a google search shows this blog pretty clearly so if someone wants to know the situation it's not too difficult. The hospital is not revealing numbers anymore so determining how many stings occur is pure guess work and we must rely on word of mouth - if you are stung let us know please! Most of our energy and effort is poured into Thailand - they are responding unlike Malaysia. There is graft and corruption then there is graft and corruption - I wouldn't go to Malaysia if you paid me until they cleaned up there act a bit more. Clearly Malaysia has a culture of lies and deceit that outstrip its neighbours many-fold. Malaysia's short term vision is astounding and disturbing - when it finally runs out of forest, runs out of clean seas, runs out of tourists and runs out of money, the fat cats will be long gone and their legacy will stand forever - look around the world people of Malaysia, stand up now and do something positive .. there are of course lots of Malaysians concerned about the state of their country and actively doing something - all power to them and lets hope a culture of checks and balances and the honest truth prevails! In the meantime, where a lycra suit or go to Thailand for your vacation!


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