KUALA LUMPUR, August 12 — Sibu MP Oscar Ling urged the Ministry of Health (MOH) to purchase a radiotherapy machine for Sibu Hospital, so cancer patients do not have to travel hours to Kuching for treatment.
Ling mentioned how cancer patients in Sarawak, the geographically biggest state in Malaysia, have to travel for 10 hours from Bintulu and 16 hours from Miri by bus to Kuching for radiotherapy treatment.
“I think this radiotherapy machine is not very expensive, maybe RM20 million. The government can buy one and keep this machine in Sibu Hospital.
“So, in Sibu Hospital, we can take care of patients from Mukah, Bintulu, Kapit, Sarikei, many places, Kelawit as well,” the DAP lawmaker said during his debate on the King’s Speech in Parliament yesterday.
The Sibu MP also suggested that MOH consider building a centre to provide proton therapy treatment for cancer patients, especially brain cancer.
He stated that in Asia, only Taiwan and China have proton therapy, pointing out that Malaysia’s national badminton player, Lee Chong Wei, had gone to Taiwan to receive proton therapy to treat his cancer.
“Proton therapy needs to be considered by the government to provide a better treatment service for the public. Proton therapy is more specific with lesser side effects compared to radiotherapy,” he added.
The United States’ National Cancer Institute reported on February 11 that proton beam radiation therapy may be safer and as effective as radiotherapy for adults with advanced cancer.
Proton therapy delivers a beam of proton particles, targeted to the tumour, making it less likely to damage nearby healthy tissues.
Ling also asked MOH for the latest updates over the cost of a multi-storey car park that has been planned for years to be built in Sibu Hospital.
He also highlighted at the Dewan Rakyat yesterday about dialysis machines reaching maximum capacity in Sibu Hospital.
Ling said the reverse osmosis machine that is required to supply clean water for the dialysis machine is old and running on maximum capacity.
“Although many people want to donate a dialysis machine to the hospital, it cannot be used as there is no clean water source to carry out dialysis,” Ling said.
He requested MOH to provide an allocation of RM230,000 to purchase a new reverse osmosis machine and an additional RM100,000 for the expansion of space for the dialysis service for patients of Sibu Hospital.