Wednesday, May 6, 2009

RM245m FOR SMC

KOTA KINABALU: The Federal Government will buy over Sabah Medical Centre for RM245 million, as an immediate measure to solve the acute shortage of hospital beds following the closure of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital tower block.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the agreed sum with some additional allocation would be spent to upgrade the amenities at the facility to provide better medical services to the public.

Najib also said he wanted the purchase of SMC to be done as soon as possible so that the people in Sabah can continue to receive proper medical and health services speedily.

“We have approved the purchase of SMC through the Ministry of Health at a very reasonable price of about RM245 million. And we will also give some additional allocation for improvement (of the facility),” said Najib, speaking at the meet-the-people event at Padang Merdeka here yesterday.

Najib said constructing a new hospital would take time and therefore taking over an already completed and equipped facility was a better option as an immediate solution to the acute shortage of hospital beds in the city.

“For a new hospital, it takes a long time, and we want it immediately. This matter will be handled effectively,” he said during the event attended by roughly 10,000 people.

Also present were Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman, cabinet ministers, elected representatives and community leaders.

The Prime Minister, who is in Sabah on his first official visit since assuming the prime minister’s post last month, also pledged to continue the former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah

Ahmad Badawi’s commitment to give special attention to Sabah to help it boost its development programmes and be at par with the other states in country.

In this regard, he said he would see into it that his predecessor’s promise to give Sabah additional RM1 billion would be fully delivered.

“I will continue Pak Lah’s commitment to give the additional RM1 billion to Sabah. So far, RM500 million has been channeled to the related State agencies and the remaining RM500 million will be given,” he said.

He added the federal government would also continue to forge a closer partnership with the state government to ensure a more intensified and effective development in the State.

“This is our aspiration… that the Barisan government will continue to work together with the state government under the leadership of Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman and his Cabinet members. We will work as a team and the federal government will continue to help the state government to develop Sabah,” he said.

Later at a press conference, Najib reiterated the government’s decision on the hospital issue.

“As what I had mentioned this morning, the health service problem here (at Queen Elizabeth Hospital), the cabinet had decided to take over the Sabah Medical Centre based on the agreed cost of RM245 million.

“We hope to materialise this very soon to provide a better health service to the public without waiting for a new building to be built as it will take a long time to realise. This is an example how we handle issues relating to the people’s welfare – they are our priorities,” Najib said. - Sabah Times

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