Data on shortage of doctors a wake-up call – MP

KOTA KINABALU: The recent statement by visiting Director General of Health Datuk Dr Hassan Abdul Rahman that there are some 2,000 vacancies for doctors and the medical resources in Sabah are at least 15 years behind Peninsular Malaysia was an eye-opener and a wake-up call, according to Kota Kinabalu member of parliament Hiew King Cheu.

Besides, State Health Director Dr Mohd Yusof Hj Ibrahim revealed that the doctor to population ratio in Sabah is 1:2000, which is way behind the national ratio at 1:600.

Hiew said the figures show Sabah has been deprived of equal right to enjoy good medical services.

He said the doctor to population ratio in Sabah is actually 1:2480 and in Kuala Lumpur it is 1:348, demonstrating the serious shortage of doctors in the state.

Why has this problem on the shortage of doctors persisted in Sabah? Are Sabahans not so important and can be easily bullied?

“There are some 6,000 housemen under training in the various hospitals and once they completed their training they will be sent to serve in the hospitals.

“There will be many of these new doctors sent to Sabah, but the question is how many of these young doctors are actually Sabahans. Are the Sabahans not qualified and good enough to be trained as doctors? Why Sabahans who possess excellent results in their exams are denied the opportunity to join training programme?

“The students now have to pay high fees and expenses to take up courses overseas, like Russia and others. Why can’t the government allow more Sabahans to be trained as doctors in our institutions here?” said Hiew.

According to him, there are not many Sabahan doctors working in the hospitals in Sabah, especially  specialists where serious cases had to be transfered to one of the hospitals in Kuala Lumpur and many lives have been lost due to late treatment.

“Do we have to wait for the government to come up with a plan to train enough doctors from West Malaysia to serve in Sabah? If the government had taken the matter seriously during the past many decades to train and produce Sabahan doctors, today we will have no such serious shortage of doctors. This again demonstrates the inefficiency and bad planning of the government.”

Hiew said Sabah has many smart people who can be trained as medical doctors and personnel, but when they applied for training they were always turned down while the West Malaysians who have lower standard of achievement could easily get into the training programme.

Hiew maintained that this was discrimination purposely done to deprive the rights of the Sabahans.

“This is something that the Sabahans should consider whether they are getting a fair deal. Where do we stand on this particular issue and where are we heading to? Are we the “second class Malaysians”? What are our elected people representatives going to do about this, or they are going to keep quiet in order to protect their own future?” he lamented.

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