In making this call, a Sabah based NGO, Society of Hope, said it was the only way that Sabah’s health services would improve and the people of Sabah looked after.
Said its president Christina Liew: “In Sabah we have hospitals without enough beds or qualified medical personnel to serve the patients.
“We have the hardware, a mega-sized hospital out of nowhere in a remote village but with not enough beds, doctors and nurses,” she said.
But the authorities, she opined, were in denial.
“Then they will understand what it means by shortage of qualified medical personnel and why we should let the Sabah government take care of our own medical needs and requirement.
“It is time, the Sabah government did something for its own people. Sabah’s health services should be left to Sabahans,” Liew said.
With some 22 government-run hospitals in Sabah, complaints of inadequate healthcare services is perennial.
For years, locals have pleaded for better facilities, more doctors, nurses and medical personnel in government hospitals and clinics in the state.
And for just as long the Health Ministry has promised improvements and changes.
Hospital in debt
In May this year FMT reported that both the patients and doctors in Sabah were unhappy and frustrated with the state of affairs in the state medical and health services.
The report quoted state DAP official Junz Wong as saying that Sabahans were among the most ill-cared for citizens in Malaysia due to lack of medicines and healthcare equipment.
Wong believed that Sabah was being short-changed by the federal government as far as the health services were concerned.
He accused the Health Ministry of not allocating funds to buy new and up-to-date equipment.
His views were recently confirmed by source at the Tawau Hospital who said the hospital was in dire straits and could not afford to buy medical supplies.
“It (Tawau Hospital) is one of three hospitals in deep debt. There’s no money to even buy medicines.
“We owe the suppliers and no money is coming in from Kuala Lumpur,” said the source.
Locals losing out
According to the source the rising debt is due to non-paying patients.
“Most patients who come here are foreigners and they claim not to have money. Before we use to treat them now we are firm..show us the money or no treatment.
“We cannot afford to treat them anymore,” said the source.
The source further added that the medical facilities in the hospital too were being heavily compromised treating these foreigners.
“Imagine if we have two ventilators and both are in use treating a foreign national.
“What happens if a real Sabahan comes in for treatment? Then we are stuck. It has happened to us many times before,” the source added.