“It has been 176 days now since the QEH was declared unsafe and its patients relocated to the other district hospitals and yet the Government, both at the Federal and State levels still couldn’t come out with any effective-and-comprehensive solution to the problem, while the patients continue to suffer as well as putting their lives in danger” SAPP on the 1st. May 2009
The Federal Government is buying over the Sabah Medical Centre (SMC) for RM245mil as an immediate measure to overcome the critical shortage of hospital beds here.
Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the Government was in the final stages of taking over the SMC.
“We are committed to providing the best available healthcare for Sabahans,” he said at a meet-the-people gathering at the historic Padang Merdeka in his first visit as Prime Minister to the state.
Dismissing talks that the acquisition would cost the Government nearly RM450mil, he said they would fast-track the SMC takeover, adding that the Government was aware of the urgency to see to the people’s health needs following the closure of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) main tower block.
The tower block was declared structurally unsafe late last year.
The Government would refurbish the recently-completed SMC located in suburban Damai, 2km from downtown here, Najib said.
Later, Najib said the refurbishment cost depended on the requirements set by the Health Ministry, adding that SMC would temporarily rent two floors from the Government during the purchase process.
Previously the Government had acquired the first SMC building in Likas and converted it into a women and children’s hospital, now known as the Likas Hospital.
Najib said RM500mil of the special RM1bil allocation pledged to Sabah had already been delivered for various development projects.
The Prime Minister, in his speech, reminded Sabah Barisan Nasional leaders that they were servants of the people.
He said leaders should see for themselves the everyday situations faced by the ordinary folk so that they could solve problems faced by them.
“As elected representatives, there is no need to wait for invitation, bunga manggar, red carpets or TV cameras. We need to work for the people.
“I don’t want leaders who are feared. I want leaders who are appreciated and respected,” he said.
He reiterated that Sabah, with its more than 40 ethnic groups, best reflected the 1Malaysia concept.
Opposition Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) welcomed the Government’s move to buy over the hospital as it would help overcome the current problems with healthcare services.
SAPP Wanita chief Melanie Chia said that while the announcement was good news, the purchase was only an interim solution.
“Sabah still needs a new general hospital apart from the construction of a twin tower to replace the main tower block of the QEH,” Chia said.