KUALA LUMPUR, March 6 — Batang Sadong MP Rodiyah Sapiee today suggested bringing back 1Malaysia clinics, or the equivalent under whatever name, to provide health consultation services to people living in the interior.
The MP from Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) said in Parliament today that these clinics would enable people living in rural areas to access treatment for non-critical illnesses without requiring them to go to a hospital far from where they stay to receive treatment.
“I also want to propose bringing back the 1Malaysia clinic, or a rebranded Klinik Rahmah – doesn’t matter what the name is – but the focus is to provide health consultation services, especially to residents living in the interior,” Rodiyah said in her debate on Budget 2023 in the Dewan Rakyat today.
“At the very least, when they have non-critical symptoms of illness, they are able to go to the aforementioned clinic, rather than going straight to the hospital that is rather far from their area.”
In 2019, the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government closed dozens of 347 1Malaysia clinics nationwide that were started by the previous Najib Razak administration, while rebranding the remaining as community clinics.
Sabah-based gynaecologist Dr John Teo previously noted that 1Malaysia clinics were not very cost-effective, as these facilities did not have medical doctors and were instead only staffed with medical assistants and nurses.
Rodiyah today reiterated the need for a new block for Simunjan Hospital that was forced to empty its women’s and children’s wards September last year due to cracks in the building.
The hospital located in Simunjan, Sarawak, which serves as the leading health care facility for Batang Sadong, suffered cracks as a result of sinking land.
“Simunjan Hospital needs a new block to be built because of staff and patient safety issues that have arisen as a result of the sinking land that caused the paediatric ward and women’s ward to sustain cracks and had to be vacated.
“So, this issue caused the existing area to become cramped and unconducive because these people have now transferred to the existing area,” said Rodiyah.
The government backbencher said that she was aware of the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) plan, found in the fourth rolling plan of the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP), to build an additional block for the hospital, as she expressed hopes for MOH to expedite and prioritise the project.
The issue of sinking land and Simunjan Hospital was previously brought up in September 2022. According to Dayak Daily, then Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin highlighted the urgency of the request for a new ward due to the near 100 per cent bed occupancy rate of the paediatric ward.
The former health minister had announced that they would try their best to make it a part of the Fourth Rolling Plan, but a study on the land must be conducted first to ensure that there are no issues on the land identified for the new building and structure.
Rodiyah today also urged the government to provide a temporary operational centre to compensate for the closure of the Semarang health clinic last year.
“The Semarang health clinic was closed last year. We ask for immediate action to provide a temporary operation centre, which is a container, while waiting for the new clinic to be completed.
“I have been informed that a tender was issued last year, but at the site, there has been no implementation for a temporary container,” said Rodiyah.
Moreover, the MP also asked the ministry to build a new clinic to replace the old, damaged building built from wood.
Rodiyah also asked for upgrades of the Sadong Jaya klinik kesihatan so that it would be able to support the 12,000-strong population who live around the area.