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Thursday, July 23, 2009

SAPP: Sabah BN powerless?

KOTA KINABALU, July 21, 2009: Sabah Barisan Nasional (BN) Government is powerless for failing to press the Health Ministry to solve the healthcare chaos in the State especially here.

Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) Information Chief Chong Pit Fah said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman-led government have to admit that he and the entire State Cabinet members are lacking tooth on the matter causing the city losing a proper general hospital.

"According to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, Sabah is the 'fixed deposit' of the BN when he visited here early May but sadly Musa and his Cabinet are unable to capitalize it to solve the chaotic healthcare situation in the State.

"The State Government could not do anything when the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) here was declared unsafe late last year, which was worse. Construction of the twin towers to replace the unsafe main tower block as announced by the Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lay also has yet to commence," he said in a statement, here, today.

He said the people must be wondering why the construction of the twin towers have yet to take off, such a situation made the State Capital the only city in the world without a general hospital.

Chong said the QEH is also the only referral hospital in Sabah and such situation caused Malaysians residing in the State and Sarawak's Lawas and Limbang districts losing such badly needed facilities.

According to him, the people residing in the State and at Lawas and Limbang have no choice but to travel to Kuala Lumpur or Singapore for referral, which the poor could not afford.

He said Musa must remind the Federal Government that they have taken over the healthcare and education services of the State after Sabah Government had many years ago handed it over to Kuala Lumpur in exchange of income tax revenues.

"However, Kuala Lumpur have not responded well to the dire needs of a good healthcare services of the State. This reflects that Sabah is being sidelined despite tagged as a 'fixed deposit'," he said.
He said Musa had admitted about the bad healthcare situation here but the Health Minister had said it was not so.

"So who is right? It is the Chief Minister or the Health Minister who is hardly seen here," Chong said.

He said SAPP welcomes more private hospitals here as it could provide better services due to healthy competition but not to convert the abandoned Wisma Khidmat building, owned by a State agency whose aim chiefly to provide credit facilities to the deserving people and Small and Medium Enterprises.
He said Sabah Credit Corporation (SCC) the owner of the Wisma Khidmat building should also not be forced to venture into the healthcare sector short of experience and expertise.

"We do not want to see them fall into financial difficulties due to huge losses. We fear if that should happen, SCC might one day could not assist the Small and Medium Enterprises anymore and this could affect the State's economy," he said.

It was reported that the private hospital to costs more than RM100 million.

He said Musa must also explain to the people how the SCC owned private hospital could benefit the people especially the poor folks. He said that all quarters understand that a private hospital is a profit oriented entity and would no way charge a very low fee to stay afloat.

"SAPP insists Musa to explain how the low income group could benefit from the setting up of the private hospital. The Chief Minister has announced that the private hospital would be loaned to the government but what would happen if the upgrading of the QEH has completed. We do not wish to see another State-owned private hospital forced to be sold to the Health Ministry in future," he said.

He also calls on Musa to push the Federal Government to speed up the taking over of the Sabah Medical Centre (SMC) at Luyang, here, because the delay is puzzling despite being announced by the Prime Minister and the Health Minister.

"Musa is obliged to explain the people on this matter so that we would know what are the actual reasons," he said.

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