By Ling Hui
KUCHING, Nov 26: Establishment of the Centre for Infectious Diseases in Kota Samarahan is Sarawak’s way of being proactive rather than be reactive in facing infectious diseases such as the novel coronavirus that the entire world is still fighting with.
This is the view of Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Datuk Amar Michael Manyin Jawong when he said Sarawak wants to be more prepared for any future disease, unlike the current situation where people are only discussing Covid-19 when it has already happened.
Together with two other renowned scientists, Manyin revealed doubts in the beginning when they brought this idea up to Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg due to concerns on the huge cost.
“But then when we first introduced this to the Chief Minister, he just said to give him more details. In the second discussion which was about two weeks ago, he was so excited and immediately approved it even though it requires about RM190 million for five years.
“So, this is one of the things that probably will make Sarawak proactive rather than reactive, and we hope that we will be more prepared for any infectious disease in future.
“We will have our own centre for that,” he said during the closing ceremony of 1st Global Summit on Viral-Immunology and Antiviral Therapy of Covid-19 at Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) Kota Samarahan Campus here today.
Adding on, he emphasised that the project has already gotten verbal ‘green lights’ from the Institute of Medical Research (IMR) Kuala Lumpur and the Ministry of Education (MOE).
With that, the state government is now in search of the best site for the centre to be built on in Kota Samarahan.
“We will identify the best site. Of course, the best site is next to the Sarawak Heart Centre, and hopefully, there is state land available there because we cannot afford to go for private lands.
“If there are state lands, the premium will be peppercorn. Peppercorn means RM1 per acre,” said Manyin.
Of course, he added, all experts in universities across the nation, particularly in Sarawak will be invited to work in this centre for advancing research, innovation and development on infectious diseases.
This project was first announced by Abang Johari when he officiated the same event at UiTM yesterday (Nov 25).
He said it is now in the planning stage. Implementation is expected in 2021 and hopefully, the centre will be operational by 2024.-DayakDaily