An assemblyman has pointed out that two recent incidents in Sarawak has highlighted the need to expedite the state’s autonomy from the Federal Government.
In making his argument, Batu Lintang Assemblyman See Chee How cited the case of an 18-year-old girl giving birth recently in a lift at the General Hospital (GH) in Kuching. Another case, he said in a statement, was a school block collapsing into the river.
“These are wake-up calls,” added See, also PKR Sarawak Vice Chairman and a lawyer, in the statement carried by the Borneo Post. “The push for legislative, administrative and budgetary autonomy from Putrajaya must be done with greater urgency.”
It must include all sectors affecting public wellbeing, he stressed.
Resuming his take on the lift incident, he cautioned against blaming hospital authorities or the State Health Department. “They are always mindful that unreliable and unsatisfactory facilities are a risk to the health of patients and visitors,” he said.
The lifts at SGH, he lamented, were “monuments of neglect” and probably the oldest in service in the Sarawak capital. He urged the Federal Government to stop the “repairing” policy and get new lifts for the hospital instead.
The Health Department had made numerous requests, for a long time, for the ageing lifts at the GH to be replaced, said See. “However, allocations from the Ministry of Health have always been for repairs only.”
When all the six lifts were down at the beginning of this year, the federal government again gave an allocation for repairs only. “All this is clear evidence the Federal Government was neglecting much needed public facilities and services in Sarawak,” charged See.
The Sarawak Government should demand the lifts at the GH and other aged facilities and equipment be replaced immediately, he said.
The public facilities affected in Sarawak, continued See, were under the Federal Government. “The Sarawak Government must not fall for Putrajaya’s number one excuse i.e. insufficient development funds,” he said.
The country is rich but let down by poor governance, said See, and cited the RM3.3 billion Sabah Water Department scandal as a case in point. “The water scandal has laid bare serious maladministration and misappropriation of Federal Government funds.”
See had earlier visited the GH in Kuching.
Zuraidah Naskim, 18, from Sadong Jaya, was being taken by two nurses to the 4th floor of the GH last Thursday at 3.50am when the lift got stuck. By the time maintenance workers got to the lift at 4.45am, she had given birth to a baby boy.
State Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) assistant director (Operations), Farhan Sufyan Borhan, described the incident as the second this year at the GH in Kuching. The first, on January 9, was on the 8th floor.
FMT Reporters Online