KUCHING: Local Government and Housing Minister Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian is saddened by the recent incident involving two Sarawakian medical officers (MOs) whose contracts were not renewed by the government.
The two Sarawakian MOs, who had served in Sibu Hospital, brought up the issue during a press conference in Sibu yesterday.
Dr Sim, who is a cardiologist, termed such incident as “another example of Malaya First” while pointing out that the contracts of the two Sarawakian MOs ought to be renewed since Sarawak is in a dire need of specialists.
“These MOs, as you know, have passed the specialist exam. If they are not given contract renewal, they will have no chance to complete their training, because you cannot train at private hospitals.
“Sarawak is always short of specialists. This is all the more reason why they should be given a chance. Not every MO wants to be a specialist. And these are the MOs who have passed the exam and want to be specialists but their contracts were terminated.
“Once (the contracts were) terminated, that is the end of the MOs completing the training in which Sarawak is very much needed,” he told journalists before attending a function at CityONE Megamall here today.
Dr Sim stressed that “it is very sad” that the Ministry of Health (MoH) had not taken the need of Sarawak into consideration.
“They (federal government) are very rigid, they always say there are so many Malaysians around, which is not right, because the need of Sarawak should be considered.
“This is the very reason why Sarawak government insists on taking health autonomy back. Because you cannot apply the national standard and norm on Sarawak,” he said.
Noting that the North-South Highway and the Pan Borneo Highway are of the same length, Dr Sim said despite so, specialists are only available in Kuching for the case of Sarawak.
He added that there are no neurosurgeons in Sibu, Bintulu or Miri whereas along the North-South Highway, these specialists serve in Penang, Kedah, Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur and Seremban.
“So how can you apply the national norm on us?” he asked.
He was quick to stress: “National norm is not applicable in Sarawak. After they (federal government) failed us so many times, this MOs case is another time they failed us. So the Sarawak government wants to speed up the process of getting back our health autonomy.”
He believed that incident like this would not happen if the health autonomy was given back to Sarawak.
“MOs who have passed the specialist exam will not be terminated,” he said.
Dr Sim said ‘Malaya First’ is not what Sarawak signed up for when the state entered the Malaysia Agreement in 1963.
As such, he urged the federal government to “seriously consider their policy, not just for this incident but treating Sarawak not in the standard Malaysian way”.