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'Rohingyas get hosp but not P'pang folks'
Published on: Friday, October 20, 2017

Penampang: PKR Penampang Chief, Kenny Chua, criticised the Government's plan to build a hospital for ethnic Rohingyas in Bangladesh, a decision he claims to have hurt the feelings of the people in the district.

He said the Government acts as if it prioritises the health needs of outsiders but not local citizens, particularly in the district who have been promised a hospital years ago but yet to see it fulfilled.

"The people still remember well when a Klinik Kesihatan Penampang was launched in 2008 by then Health Minister Datuk Chua Soi Lek. But until now, it has yet to be implemented.

Now our Deputy Prime Minister wants to build a hospital in Bangladesh for refugees.

The people here in the district don't see the logic," he said.

Kenny said the community even found it hilarious that two groundbreaking ceremonies were held for the promised hospital in 2008 and 2013 but nothing had been done until now. Kenny said the people in Penampang would get a full-fledged hospital if opposition forms the next Federal or State government.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had announced few days ago that Malaysia will build a RM3.5mil field hospital at the refugee camp for Rohingyas in Bangladesh which will initially have 50 beds and take in 50 patients.

He had said it would also have 35 medical staff such as doctors, hospital assistants and nurses, and expected to be fully operational within one month, from the start of construction.

Other opposition leaders had also previously questioned the status of the proposed hospital to serve 160,000 people in the district.

Moyog Assemblyman Terence Siambun had reportedly said there had been a groundbreaking ceremony officiated and attended by several BN Penampang leaders in 2013 with promises being made, among others, that the district will experience an improvement in its medical amenities.

He lamented, that until now it has yet to be implemented.

Meanwhile Ijok assemblyperson Dr Idris Ahmad also questioned why the government is planning to set up a field hospital in Bangladesh at a time when many hospitals in Malaysia require urgent attention.

Idris, who is a doctor, said some hospitals in Malaysia had been in limbo for years, especially in rural areas.

"For example in Pendang, Kedah, the prime minister had listed the Pendang district hospital in his 2016 budget speech as among those to be built. Unfortunately to this day, what was promised by the Umno-BN government has not materialise.

"The Pendang hospital was approved under the Ninth Malaysian Plan with an area of 16.8 hectares, but was postponed to the Tenth Malaysian Plan for certain reasons, and to this day had yet to be implemented.

"On the other hand, Ahmad Zahid said the field hospital will be built within a month after getting the green-light from the Bangladeshi government. What about the fate of the ailing hospitals in this country?" he said in a statement.

Idris pointed out that hospitals in Malaysia are plagued with complaints about the lack of wards and patient beds, especially in rural areas, which forced patients to be moved far from where they lived.

He said existing hospitals would also need to be updated to cope with the increasing population, the increasing burden and complexity of diseases, and to improve the hospitals' facilities and services. - Leonard Alaza

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