RM17 bln needed for upgrading over 200 dilapidated health facilities, Minister urges quick Federal endorsement

Siburan health clinic is in a dilapidated state and can no longer serve the increasing needs of the local populace.

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, May 14: The Sarawak government estimates that RM17 billion is required for the upgrading and development of over 200 dilapidated clinics and hospitals throughout the region.

Minister of Public Health, Housing, and Local Government Datuk Amar Dr Sim Kui Hian emphasised that to date, 76 per cent or 206 out of 271 health clinics throughout Sarawak are in poor physical condition.

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“The upgrading works and building of new health clinics for 206 are estimated at around RM7.84 billion, while hospital upgrades and construction of new ones (excluding Sarawak Cancer Centre) are about RM9.84 billion,” he said.

With hundreds of health facilities requiring urgent attention, Dr Sim hopes that the Federal government will endorse some of the identified projects, given that Sarawak is the first in Malaysia to offer to finance Federal education and health projects upfront and be reimbursed later to expedite their implementation.

The ‘pay first, reimburse later’ initiative was agreed upon by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim during his visit to Sarawak on March 30 this year.

“Rather than waiting for the Ministry of Health Malaysia’s RMK (Malaysia Plan) funding, at this rate, some of the Federal healthcare projects may not even have funding under RMK14, let alone in the next RMK13,” he told the august House during his ministerial winding-up speech today.

Dr Sim, who is also Deputy Premier, disclosed that health clinics of Kabong, Nyabor, Bena anad Mujong have been identified for redevelopment and rebuilding.

“There are also need to realise long-term plan for new healthcare development projects in Sarawak such as health clinics of Nanga Sama, Nanga Pelagus, Saratok, Biawak, Sarikei and Lundu Hospital.

“Additionally, the Sarawak government is determined to expedite the completion of all delayed projects including Daro clinic and Daro dental clinic through this proposed mechanism,” he said.

Dr Sim assured that a technical committee, headed by the secretary-general representing the federal government and Sarawak secretary representing Sarawak government, has been formed to work through the details of this proposed initiative. — DayakDaily

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