Medical autonomy could solve bias towards health manpower in Sarawak: Ding

Ding (left) and SUPP Dudong chief Wong Ching Yong at the press conference in Sibu today (July 22, 2020).

SIBU, July 22: Sarawak medical autonomy is the solution to solve the discrimination and indifference of the Ministry of Health (MOH), Jabatan Perkhidmatan Awam (JPA), and the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) towards medical personnel of Sabah and Sarawak.

SUPP Education Bureau chairman Datuk Ding Kuong Hiing had expressed his support for the proposal by SUPP President Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian to form Sarawak Medical Council (SMC), a separate body to register and regulate medical practice in Sarawak.

Dr Sim in his interview with a medical portal on July 20 said that SMC would operate independently from the nationwide Malaysian Medical Council (MMC).

SUPP Education Bureau supported Dr Sim’s proposal, stating that that MOH and JPA had no understanding, interest or sympathy for the local medical predicaments in Sarawak.

“From December 2019 to February 2020, MOH and JPA in Kuala Lumpur created 100 permanent MOs posts for Sarawak hospitals. However, less than 10 per cent of these permanent posts were offered to Sarawak MOs on contract.

Thirty MOs from West Malaysia who were offered permanent posts refused to serve in Sarawak and these 30 permanent posts were not offered to Sarawak MOs. Instead, they were offered subsequently to MOs from West Malaysia. This is a gross travesty of justice experienced by Sarawak MOs,” said Ding in a press conference here today.

Ding, who is also Protem Chairman of Malaysian Junior Doctors 2020, further revealed that on April 15, 2020, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba announced that the MOH would offer 79 MOs on contract, six-month one-off contracts.

Ding said that 10 MOs were offered to work in Sarawak hospitals.

“However, only four Sarawakian MOs reported for duty while the other six MOs from West Malaysia did not report for duty in any Sarawak hospital. For doctors from West Malaysia, Sarawak is not their home. Only Sarawak MOs will serve Sarawak permanently,” said Ding who is Meradong assemblyman.

Ding also pointed out the unbalanced representation of Sarawak and Sabah in MMC (table below) of the 33 council members in the MMC.

Particulars No.
1. Local medical schools appointed by Minister of Health 9
2. Peninsular Malaysia (by election) 15
3. Minister appoints

3 private practitioners

3 public practitioners



4. Sarawak 1
5. Sabah 1
6. DG of MOH 1

“As rightly pointed out by YB Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian, how can this distribution of posts be fair to Sabah and Sarawak which are given only one post each in the MMC? Many MMC members also pointed out why nine council seats had to be reserved for the local medical schools and six council seats to be appointed by the Minister of Health?

“Why can’t all the 33 seats in MMC be opened up for free election in accordance with the principle of democracy? The Health Director General (DG) must not necessarily be the President of MMC. MMC has much to learn from the Malaysian Bar Council, Sarawak Advocates Association and Sabah Law Society which always practise democracy in electing the heads of the respective legal council,” said Ding.

He believed that Sarawak needed more specialists in public hospitals in Sibu, Bintulu and Miri.

“At the moment, Sarawak General Hospital (SGH) in Kuching is the only public hospital in Sarawak with sub-specialists. Sibu Hospital caters for the Rejang River Basin with an estimated population of 500,000 but it has not enough specialists in neurology, obstetrics and gynaecology etc.”

He observed that Peninsular Malaysian specialists will return home after receiving full training in Sarawak hospitals.

“The most important reason to form SMC is to ensure that Sarawakian doctors are being treated fairly and any appeal to the KL side to train more specialists for Sarawak Hospitals will not fall onto deaf ears,” said Ding.—DayakDaily