Chong’s statement on hospital project in KL ‘misleading’ — Abdul Karim

Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah

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By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, Nov 26: Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) vice-president Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah says Sarawak Democratic Action Party (DAP) chief Chong Chieng Jen’s statement on Sarawak building a hospital in Kuala Lumpur is misleading in nature as healthcare is under the purview of the federal government.

Describing Chong as “unprofessional”, Abdul Karim said Chong should not equate the lack of healthcare in the state to the Sarawak government investing in a hospital project.

“As a deputy minister (of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs), Chong should know that healthcare in under the federal (government). The delay of hospital construction in Sarawak, such as the Sri Aman Hospital and Petra Jaya Hospital, are federal government projects. They have nothing to do with the Sarawak government.

“The lack or the sorry state of healthcare facilities in Sarawak is the responsibility of the federal government, which has been the one benefiting (from) 95 per cent of our oil and gas but not giving us much in return,” Abdul Karim told DayakDaily today.

Abdul Karim, who is also Asajaya assemblyman, was responding to Chong’s (who is also Stampin MP and Sentosa assemblyman) query at a press conference here yesterday as to why the state government had joint ventured with Zecon Medicare Sdn Bhd in a child specialist hospital in Kuala Lumpur.

“It is wrong for Chong to equate the lack of healthcare in Sarawak with the investment of Sarawak in healthcare in Kuala Lumpur or the Sarawak government’s effort in investing in any sector in any part of the world, for that matter, as long as the investment is proper,” he said.

Abdul Karim added that the state government derives revenue from many sources, including from oil and gas royalty, setting up of government-linked companies (GLC) and investments, including the paediatric hospital in Kuala Lumpur.

“It is the Sarawak government’s rights to invest as long as the government invests properly. The money made will then go to the state coffers,” Abdul Karim said.

Abdul Karim added that this issue of the state government building a paediatric hospital was a recycled subject.

“The issue was brought up in the State Assembly sitting in July last year, and it was already answered by Second Finance Minister Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh then,” he pointed out.

Wong, in his winding-up speech, said Zecon Medicare had entered into a long-term concession agreement with the federal government, represented by the Ministry of Education and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, which is responsible for the development and asset maintenance of facilities and infrastructure of a paediatric specialist hospital in Pusat Perubatan UKM Cheras.

“Professional financial business consultants and corporate legal counsels have been engaged to assist in carrying out this exercise in analysing and arriving at a risk-return profile of the investment,” Wong had told the august House then.

Abdul Karim, thus, called on Chong not to be unprofessional by making an unfounded political statement insinuating that the state government was irresponsible.

“Chong is now a deputy minister. He should talk like one and not like when he was still in the opposition. He should approach issues in a proper manner,” said Abdul Karim. — DayakDaily