KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 16 — The Ministry of Health (MOH) does not intend to build another state hospital for Sarawak, said Dr Adham Baba, even though Sarawak is almost as large as the peninsula.
The health minister told the Dewan Negara that every state in Malaysia has one state hospital in the public sector, which is the reference centre for other hospitals in that state. The state hospitals are supported by several other hospitals consisting of major and minor specialist hospitals, special institutions, and hospitals without specialists to ensure health services are accessible to all, as well as provide better health services.
“Sarawak’s state hospital is the Sarawak General Hospital (SGH). Thus, continuous efforts have been made to further enhance SGH services in line with its standards as a state hospital,” Dr Adham stated in a written parliamentary answer to Senator Robert Lau Hui Yew (SUPP) on September 9.
“Starting from the Eighth Malaysia Plan to the Tenth Malaysia Plan, the master plan of development projects for SGH has been implemented in phases.”
Dr Adham also listed the improvisations that have been made in SGH located in the state capital of Kuching. According to him, repair work of dietetics and catering department, repair of the main building of the hospital, renovation of the clinical research centre, as well as construction of an infectious disease ward, mortuary, and forensic department have been implemented in SGH.
MOH also constructed an additional building to place acute wards and daily treatment of the psychiatric department, besides building a neurosurgery theatre.
Lui had asked the health minister to state if the government intends to build another state general hospital in Sarawak under the Twelfth Malaysia Plan, given that Sarawak has a very large geographical area and a growing population in rural areas. Sarawak is the biggest state in Malaysia.
“MOH has and will implement initiatives to upgrade major specialist hospitals and other minor specialist hospitals in Sarawak to provide more comprehensive specialist services, as well as reduce the need to refer patients to SGH. Therefore, MOH does not intend to build another state hospital in Sarawak,” said Dr Adham.
Moreover, the 11th Malaysia Plan lists upgrading projects in SGH, including the construction of several additional blocks to cater to the daily treatment centre, laboratory, multi-storey car park, and medihotel have been approved under the Eleventh Malaysia Plan. The project is expected to be completed by 2021.
Medihotel is a service to provide accommodation facilities for patients who undergo treatment with minimal clinical supervision. Generally, patients who travel long distances for treatment will stay in the medihotel.
“In addition, in 2011, Sarawak Heart Centre was developed in Samarahan city to provide more comprehensive heart treatment services to the people of Sarawak.”
The government has also approved the construction of Petrajaya Hospital, which is only 12km away from SGH to reduce congestion issues in the latter. Petrajaya Hospital will be a major specialist hospital with a capacity of 300 beds.
“Despite various obstacles in the implementation of this project, MOH is committed to completing the construction of Petrajaya Hospital. This project is currently in the tender evaluation phase to appoint a new contractor to complete the project,” said Dr Adham.
The Petrajaya Hospital project had been approved by the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) to be implemented under the Tenth Malaysia Plan nine years ago in 2011.
This project was carried out by the Public Works Department, with the construction phase beginning on May 30, 2013 and scheduled for completion on June 30, 2018. However, due to unsatisfactory project progress, the Public Works Department issued a notice of contractor termination to Zecon Berhad on August 2, 2018.