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20 Mac 2009

PBS QUERIES SMC LOBBYING

Daily Express
Thursday, March 19, 2009


Kota Kinabalu: All quarters should welcome the State Government's proposal to convert the Wisma and Menara Khidmat complexes into a medical facility to overcome the adverse consequences following the closure of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) tower block.
"We deplore the negative insinuation and innuendoes that the complexes are not suitable to be turned into hospital premises. Such public statements are suspicious.
"We question the motive behind all the uncalled-for remarks on the suitability of the Khidmat complexes owned by Sabah Credit Corporation as if there exists a concerted effort to apply pressure in favour of buying the Sabah Medical Centre in Luyang," said Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) Information Chief, Johnny Mositun.
He also said the authorities concerned, especially the
Health Ministry must not be subjected to any move to make the SMC purchase the only option in addressing the QEH problem. Mositun said people in the State were actually surprised by the move to turn the first SMC complex (in Likas) into a government hospital at a very high price.
"And the people surely do not want another private hospital built by the SMC management to be purchased by the Government again just on the pretext of urgency at a price that would bring more surprises," he said.
The second SMC in Damai cost RM150 million. The original SMC in Likas, which is now renamed Likas Hospital, was built during the Berjaya era for RM5 million and later sold to the Government for over RM100 million.
"The Khidmat complexes, as we understand it, are more conveniently located to complement the facilities at QEH," he said, adding he hoped the Ministry would give priority to shift the Male and Female wards there.
I have been to the present wards in QEH and it is so congested to the extent doctors and nurses have little room to walk and attend to the patients," he said.
Mositun, who is also a Deputy State Speaker, said the situation was only aggravating the stress on medical personnel who presently have to tend to patients who are being placed in various medical facilities around the State capital. At the same time, he said PBS hoped the Federal Government would not leave out the proposal to build another hospital in Kinarut, in the 10th Malaysia Plan.
"The proposal must be realised as the land is already approved by the State Government," he said.
Meanwhile, the Congress of Unions of Employees in the Public and Civil Services (Cuepacs) said the working conditions at QEH are becoming stressful to the employees as well as to the patients.
Its President Omar Osman said the union was in favour of the Government purchasing the Sabah Medical Centre (SMC) to address the problem. Also present was State Health Department Director Dr Marzukhi Md Isa.
According to Omar, in a typical day, the doctors and nurses have to travel from QEH to SMC and other hospitals to check on the patients transferred from QEH. Such situation is one of the causes of stress to them.
"So, we are worried that if the matter is not given attention it would affect the hospital's employees (performance)," he told a Press conference.
While the employees' situation had not reached critical stage yet, Omar said it could affect their productivity, concentration and also cause marital problems to many staff. He said eventually that it would also cause problems to the management.
Hence, if the Health Ministry can expedite its decision to buy over the SMC, "90 per cent of the problems can be resolvedÉthis is the best solution."
On the State Government's intention to use Wisma Khidmat, he said it was a different issue but stressed that the proposal from the management to purchase the SMC was much better.
"SMC is a complete hospital, everything is already there," he said.
A hospital of such standard, Omar said, was a must in Kota Kinabalu so as to enable doctors and nurses provide good service like the hospitals in Putrajaya, Serdang and Selayang.
"If you can spend RM1.4 billion (for the new KK airport) then surely you also do the same for a hospital," he said. Omar said the Government would not have to spend RM1 billion to purchase SMC.
Omar said constructing a new building was not a good solution because it would take between four and five years to complete. In this respect, Cuepacs is all for the proposal to buy SMC simply because the facility is already there.
"It doesn't need to be renovated and the employees would be very comfortable there," he said. Towards this end, Omar said Cuepacs would be preparing a working paper on the matter that would be submitted to the Government.
He said Cuepacs' visit to Sabah was under the invitation of Sabah Medical Services Union (SMSU) to see for themselves the situation at QEH.
Omar said they also visited Hospital Likas and found out that in the short term the facility is suitable for temporary relocation of the patients from QEH but that in the long term, there must be a better place for them and the employees.
He said it has been six months already since the proposal was submitted and the union wanted the matter to be settled fast.
Omar said a total of 291 hospital employees were affected by the particular problem even though they were doing a great job in spite of the stressful working environment. He claimed that some of the hospital's employees cried everyday thinking about the work environment. "We want those who work from midnight until 7am to be given special incentive or allowance, " Omar said.
Also present were SMSU President Maiman Muntial, SMSU Secretary General Laurence Vun and Cuepacs Deputy President Husain Mohd Yasin.

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