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KUCHING, April 21: The contractor in charge of managing and processing medical waste in Bintulu has failed to carry out its responsibilities, alleges Bintulu MP Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing.
“As part of its contract responsibilities, the company should manage, handle and safely dispose of medical and clinical waste used by the hospitals it serves. However checks have revealed that clinical waste has piled up to unacceptable levels in Bintulu Hospital including in the parking areas and morgues.
“The staggering sight of this waste piling up has attracted a lot of complaints and the public demands an explanation from the company who’s not only seriously neglected its duties but also put public health at risk,” said Tiong in a statement.
He claimed the said company was among seven companies which had obtained permits from the Department of Environment and they must comply strictly with requirements for treating medical and clinical waste including following stringent protocols in the said material’s processing, collection, transportation, and disposal by incineration.
All of these steps must be performed with protecting public health as a top priority, Tiong stressed, lamenting that this did not appear to be the case on the ground.
“Neither the company nor the Health Department should treat these waste products as a trifle matter, due to their previous use on Covid-19-positive patients, which could infect other people if not handled with the utmost care.
“I have instructed the company to immediately discuss a solution with the Health Department to quickly dispose of the stagnant waste and clarify each party’s scope of responsibilities. This is important in the larger sanitation issues related to quarantine and Low Risk Treatment Centre (PKRC) facilities,” Tiong said.
Despite several meetings made, he claimed, the company representatives have repeatedly given many excuses for not fulfilling their contracted responsibilities and blamed the Ministry of Health.
“There are even unresolved issues of replacement bed sheets, pillow cases and other items not being replenished and replaced, even though they have been brought up in meeting after meeting.
“If this company continues to shirk its duties, I recommend that the authorities take further action by terminating its contract and find another competent partner. Any costs incurred shall be borne by the company,” Tiong asserted.
Tiong also stressed that his statement was not meant to malign any party but as a public servant, he is duty-bound to point out any instance of failure by a company to fulfill the obligations in its contract awarded by the Ministry of Health.
“Many public complaints have been received and they demand the authorities to take action. So either this company start to buck up by resolving these issues as soon as possible or Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) must demand for the contract to be terminated for the sake of public health and safety,” Tiong added. — DayakDaily