Monday, March 23, 2009
Kota Kinabalu: Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Sabah Deputy Chairperson Christina Liew called on the Health Ministry not to be pressured into buying the Sabah Medical Centre (SMC) to address the shortage of hospital beds.
She said Sunday that the proposal needs to be considered very carefully vis-Æ-vis other options with preference given to building a new hospital.
“The Government should not bow to calls from various quarters for outright purchase of SMC. Our main concern is the pricing. The Government may end up paying an exorbitant price for a building which may actually cost far less.
“If the market talk that the purchase of SMC may cost the Government anywhere between RM380 million and RM420 million is true, then it is a highly-inflated price devoid of transparency. Buying SMC should then be the last option,” she said.
Liew, who is PKR Sabah’s Public Complaints Bureau Chairperson, found it odd that Sabah is the only State in the country to have adopted this culture of buying over private hospitals.
“All other states have general hospitals of their own. What happened to the proposal to build the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) Twin-Tower Block (adjacent to the existing Tower Block which has been declared unsafe)?
After all, the site is in the vicinity of the existing multi-storey carpark.
“Why hasn’t construction work started after so much talk? I understand that the QEH Twin-Tower Block was planned more than 10 years ago but lack of funds is said to be an impediment.
“Yet the Government can spend millions on a grandiose fireworks display whenever there is a national celebration, which does not benefit the rakyat,” she said.
Liew said for the time renting SMC’s beds and facilities pending construction and completion of the proposed new QEH should suffice.
She found it unacceptable that so much has been deliberated on the need for a new hospital the last nine months but no firm decision had been made.
“Nothing seems to have materialised, thus putting the State’s health services and the people’s lives at stake. We cannot afford to further procrastinate the matter,” she said.
Liew also hoped open tenders would be called for the construction of the proposed new QEH.
“Transparency should be the order of the day. That way, public funds will be accounted for.”