Lack of healthcare funds amongst factors causing high mortality rates involving children aged 5yo and below in S’wak

Dr Sim (second left) together with his wife Datin Enn Ong (third left) and MBKS mayor Dato Wee Hong Seng (left) greeting visitors at the MBKS Chinese New Year Combined Open House in Kuching today (Jan 23, 2023).

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By Christopher Lidom

KUCHING, Jan 23: Sarawak’s high mortality rate involving children aged 5 and below is due to lack of healthcare funds, says Deputy Premier Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian.

He pointed out that Sarawak only gets 40 per cent of the amount that it should in terms of infrastructure and equipment.

“The next thing is manpower, where currently we only have 20 per cent of nurses from what we should get, and thirdly, in terms of funding, we only get 22 per cent of the total amount that we should get,” said Dr Sim when met by reporters at the Kuching South City Council (MBKS) Chinese New Year Combined Open House, here today.

Dr Sim, who is also Minister for Public Health, Housing, and Local Government said Sarawak’s mortality rate is 14 per cent higher compared to the national rate, and mostly involves Bumiputera in Sarawak living outside urban areas.

“Sarawak is always being blamed for its high mortality rate which reflected a bad image on Malaysia.

“But this is because Sarawak lacks funds in term of infrastructure, equipment, manpower and operational (sic) money.

“If they give us our autonomy (health autonomy), what about the employment? Then it comes to regulatory. If we employ, who is going to recognise their degree?

“That is why I said it is very complex. It’s not just about giving out the money,” he added.

Apart from that, he continued, most of the doctors employed by the Ministry of Health (MOH) prefer to be stationed in peninsular states as compared to Sarawak.

“If they let Sarawak to employ our own doctors, there is no reason for them not to stay in Sarawak,” he said.

He also pointed out that previously, when this matter was brought to the attention of relevant parties, they were denied the discussion.

“Now we want to talk about this in great detail, because it cannot be done ‘cincai-cincai’ (haphazardly) only,” he said. — DayakDaily