Give health, education autonomy to Sarawak, Putrajaya urged

Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar

By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, May 10: Santubong MP Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar says the federal government should devolve authority over health and education matters to Sarawak.

He said this was because the Sarawak government knows the needs of Sarawak well, while the federal government always makes decisions based on their understanding that is urban-centric in nature.

“Most policies designed by the federal government are urban or West Malaysia-centric because, in West Malaysia, there are 30 per cent rural population and 70 per cent urban population.

“They make use of the module studies in other big cities in West Malaysia and apply to Sarawak. So, based on the same assumption, they will create policies or build facilities.


“For example, for hospitals or clinics, the justification to build them is based on human density, resulting in every street one hospital in West Malaysia, while few to be found in rural Sarawak due to the low human density,” Wan Junaidi told DayakDaily today.

Citing the example of the 1Malaysia Clinic, he said the principle of human density applied, resulting in no 1Malaysia clinic in rural Sarawak as there are no shophouses to be modified and no dense population to meet the requirements set down by the federal government.  As a result, there is a lack of hospital or clinic facilities in rural areas.

“The federal government must see Sarawak in a different light when making policies for real Sarawak. Distance, transportation and logistics, all these factors need to be considered,” Wan Junaidi emphasised.

Again citing the example of 1Malaysia Clinic, which is now continued to be used by the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government, Wan Junaidi said while the federal government’s policy on the clinic is RM150,000 for modification of shop lots into clinics, for Sarawak, it should be something different.

“Since there are no shophouse in the rural areas and the interior, perhaps the federal government may consider allocating RM500,000 to convert a house into a clinic to allow rural Sarawakians to have access of health services instead of clinging on to the shop lot modification principle,” he said.

He, thus, agreed with Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, who asserted that there should be devolution of power from the federal government to Sarawak government in health and education matters during his winding-up speech yesterday (May 9).

“There is sufficient constitutional authority under Article 95C(1)(b) read with Article 80(4) for the federal government to transfer the executive functions for this matter to the state as well as to provide adequate funding to the state to discharge these executive functions.

“I wish to assure this august House that when the powers on education and health are devolved to the state, we will be able to provide the standard of education and health services that will meet the expectations of Sarawakians,” said Abang Johari. — DayakDaily