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PARLIAMENT: A BN lawmaker grilled Deputy Health Minister Dr Hilmi Yahya over hospital equipment and lack of specialist doctors, claiming that in remote areas in Sarawak, those who go to hospitals end up dead.
“In government hospitals, if an equipment breaks down, it is not a matter of how many days (to fix it) but months.
“In Bintulu, if patients want to meet specialists, they have to wait for months (too).
“In Sarawak’s remote areas, people walk in to the hospitals, but leave on a trolley. They are gone (dead),” said Tiong King Sing (BN-Bintulu).
He had initially asked how much the Health Ministry was spending to improve the infrastructure of rural hospitals, as well as the reasons why hospital equipment were not well maintained.
In his reply, Hilmi said the ministry was facing challenges with their equipment because it was often old or in need of maintenance.
On the upside, Hilmi said that in 2016, the uptime for hospital equipment was at 98 percent, with some exceptions where spare parts had to be procured from overseas.
He added that the Health Ministry was constantly monitoring the maintenance of hospital equipment to ensure that it is done properly and quickly.
As for specialists, Hilmi said the Bintulu hospital had 10 such doctors.
Tiong, however, disputed this.
“This answer is wrong. There are no specialists in Bintulu. All the experts go to Kuching or Sibu, don’t ‘kong kali kong’ (say empty words) again,” he said.
Tiong also rubbished Hilmi’s answers on equipment maintenance and drew parallels between the low quality of maintenance and the state of the newly re-opened and renovated parliament building.
“This House is new, but if we step on the carpet too much, the carpet fuzz comes out,” he said, describing it in Malay as “kalau kita pijak lebih-lebih di karpet sana, dia keluar bulu, bulu-bulu keluar.”
“This is not quality, this is low quality and hospitals are the same,” he added.
His comments about carpet fuzz confused deputy speaker Ismail Mohammad Said at first, who said he did not hear the remarks properly.
This provided Tiong with another chance to take a swipe.
“This is the problem with our sound system, when the mouth is near (the microphone) you can (hear what is said) but if you are far then you can’t hear,” he added.