New mental hospital a long-term plan, says Deputy Health Minister

Dr Lee inks his signature on Visitors’ Book of Sentosa Hospital Kuching.

By Wilfred Pilo

KUCHING, Jan 25: The Ministry of Health (MOH) will only consider building a new mental hospital to replace Sentosa Hospital Kuching if a piece of land measuring 40 to 50 acres are made available.

Deputy Minister of Health Dr Lee Boon Chye said this would be a long-term plan, and he hoped the state government could assist MOH on this matter.

“We need 40 to 50 acres of land. A mental hospital usually needs a large area. It is not just a hospital. It needs an activity centre within it for rehabilitation purposes.

“Once we have it (land), only then will it be in the pipeline,” he told a press conference after meeting state Health Department officials and visited Sentosa Hospital Kuching.

“The moment you get the land, only then MOH can start planning.”

Dr Lee (second from left) looking at the Sentosa Hospital staff lists. On his left is Dr Jamilah.

On Sarawak’s decision to implement the smoking ban in all eateries starting March 1 this year, Dr Lee thanked the state government for its decision.

“This effort is one that my ministry welcomes.

“I would like to point that that there are two aspects on the ban on smoking in eateries. First is to protect secondary smokers, namely toddlers, pregnant mothers and non-smokers. Secondly, we hope that the ban can reduce the number of cigarettes they smoke, and, if possible, they can totally stop.

“If they cannot stop, we hope they (smokers) can change their habit of not smoking in front of others. These are basically our prime objectives, and we welcome the state government’s stance on this ban,” said Dr Lee, who then announced the standard `No Smoking’ sign size for use by eateries.

Dr Lee (fourth from left) showing the standard no smoking sign for eateries during the press conference at Sentosa Hospital Kuching. On his left is Dr Chen and and his right is Dr Yii.

On Long San Clinic in Telang Usan, Baram, the ministry’s secretary-general Datuk Seri Dr Chen Chaw Min, who was also present, explained that the building was not owned by MOH. It belongs to a missionary from Miri.

“This building is 61 years old. It is dilapidated, so the issue is one of maintenance.

“MOH has identified a piece of land, and the plan is to move this clinic to the land. Temporarily, MOH will use a cabin to operate, and once MOH gets the money form the government, we will build the clinic,” said Dr Chen.

Among those present at the press conference were state Health director Dr Jamilah Hashim, Miri MP Dr Michael Teo, Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii, Sentosa Hospital deputy director Dr Rosliwati Yusoff and Head of Disease Control (Surveillance Disease) Dr Norhayati Rusli. — DayakDaily