Sabah Progressive Party (Sapp) has raised questions
on the real motive of the state government's plan to convert an
existing building into a private hospital for RM100 million.
"Is this private hospital upon completion going to provide free
medical treatment to the people of Sabah?
"If not, how could the state government simply call on all Sabahans
to rejoice and acknowledge it as ‘the biggest harvest this year',"
Chong Pit Fah (bottom), Sapp information chief said in a
statement to Malaysiakini today.
state government has proposed to convert the abandoned Wisma Khidmat
in Kota Kinabalu into a private hospital at a cost of about RM100
In whose interest?
While it welcomes the private sector to build more private
hospitals, the opposition was, however, critical of this particular
project, stating that the proposed conversion site was not a good
idea as the building and location are not suitable for a medical
On the flip side, the opposition came short to pointing fingers at
the authority for misuse of power for personal financial gains due
to the fact that Wisma Khidmat is partly-owned by Sabah Credit
Corporation (SCC), a government-linked company, and the remaining
interest by private parties.
Chong's statement came in response to Barisan Nasional (BN)
component Parti Bersatu Sabah's (PBS) suggestion that the state
government's latest decision to convert Wisma Khidmat into a private
hospital as "the best ‘Kaamatan' gift to the people of Sabah" as
outrageous and a gross insult to Sabahans.
Kaamatan is a harvest festival of the Kadazandusuns in Sabah.
Instead of endorsing the proposed private hospital project using the
state's coffers, Chong suggested that the Federal government should
allocate more funds to improve the state's public healthcare.
More Fed funds for public healthcare
"He should also realise that healthcare is under the purview of the
Federal government as stipulated in the 20-point agreement and also
due to the fact that a majority of Sabahans still could not afford
to seek treatment at private hospitals," Chong pointed out.
The 20-point agreement is an agreement made between Sabah and the
Federal government before the formation of Malaysia in 16 September
"Everyone knows that the building is not suitable for a hospital as
it was not designed for such a purpose," Chong said, adding that it
may not meet the Ministry of Health's (MoH) requirements for a
The safety of the building is also questionable, Chong said, as it
had been abandoned for years and was built using sea sand. He
cautioned that a major portion of the building structure could have
been badly corroded.
He noted that the state government currently still has 18 percent
stake in the Sabah Medical Centre (SMC), a private medical centre.
"Hence, what's the justification and rationale behind undertaking
another private hospital project? Is there something that we do not
know that the state government is not telling us?" he asked.
"Let's examine who are actually going to benefit from this project.
Is it the people of Sabah at large, or those who get to undertake
'Polish shoes of political master'
PBS information chief Johnny Mositun had earlier termed the private
hospital as "the best ‘Kaamatan' gift" to the people. He also had
said that the new hospital would provide opportunities for local
doctors to contribute to the well-being of the state and its people.
"He (Mositun) should perhaps conduct a serious soul-searching for
making such an outrageous proclamation to endorse the state
government's plan. It seems that he's trying to polish the shoes of
his political master," said Chong, who is also Sapp Kepayan central
liaison committee chairperson.
"Perhaps he should inform the people of Sabah whether this is just
his personal view or that of his party," added Chong.
Meanwhile, Kota Kinabalu DAP member of Parliament Hiew King Chew
welcomed the private hospital initiative. He said it would meet the
medical needs of the people in Kota Kinabalu as the city is short of
good private medical services.