Najib should give Liow Tiong Lai an ultimatum to resolve the Sabah health crisis or be sacked

I am shocked and outraged by a letter I have received from a serving medical officer of Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kota Kinabalu about the deplorable conditions of the hospital complexes in Sabah particularly Kota Kinabalu which had been likened to Vietnam refugee camp.

Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai had been Health Minister for more than two years and despite repeated complaints, he had turned a complete deaf ear and blind eye to the prolonged healthcare crisis and the deplorable hospital conditions in Sabah particularly in Kota Kinabalu.

The serving doctor in QEH wrote of the horrors suffered by the sick in Kota Kinabalu where they are subjected to “a wicked game of musical chairs” shunted around various hospital centres according to their changing healthcare needs as “there is not a single centre that can address a patient as a whole”.

The medical maze, which has brought total chaos to healthcare services in Sabah, includes the state’s only referral centre, Queen Elizabeth Hosptal and nearby centres like Hospital Bukit Padang the mental institution, Hospital Likas, the makeshift hospital in Lingzhi Museum in Kepayan and Umno’s favourite Sabah Medical Centre (SMC).

This is the tale of horror as narrated by this QE doctor:

“Mr. Wong, an elderly man presented at Hospital Likas because of severe breathlessness and was found to have severe pneumonia on chest x-ray.

“He was then admitted to the High Dependency Unit of Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) 30 minutes away for treatment.

“He improved after six days and was then transferred to the normal ward for further recuperation.

“A bed was urgently needed one day later and the frail Mr. Wong was then shipped off to Hospital Bukit Padang for ‘rehabilitation’.

“Alas, he did not improve but instead deteriorated.

“As Hospital Bukit Padang was devoid of the necessary equipment and setup for managing emergencies and ill patients, Mr. Wong was then resent back to QEH for further management.

“More tests were required and old Wong was then sent to Sabah Medical Center for a CT scan.

“I’m not sure what happened to Mr. Wong thereafter.”

The QEH doctor who made these revelations of the deplorable health crisis in Sabah in the form of an Open Letter to Liow Tiong Lai, wrote:

The formation of the Queen- SMC-Likas-Lingzhi-BukitPadang medical maze has brought total chaos to healthcare services in Sabah.

The docile and unassuming Sabahan patients are constantly playing a wicked game of musical chairs, being transported around from one hospital to another according to their changing healthcare needs.

There is not one single center that can address a patient as a whole.

A lady in labor will be told that she can’t do so in QEH, while a fitting patient are whisked away from Likas to QEH.

A child with a broken limb may go to SMC but the surgery can only be done in Likas.

Elderly Mr. Wong is merely one of many such victims.

Continuity of care is virtually impossible when patients are moved about every few days.

Valuable investigations and data are lost in the process of multiple transfers resulting in costly, repeated tests.

Patients have even died due to the lack of emergency equipment and the deficient setup at the peripheral wards.

You will not hear all these because your little pharaohs in the state health department have done a great job concealing negligence, mismanagement and sheer stupidity.

Medical personnel are suffering in silence too.

Doctors from house officers to specialists are rushing around the five medical centers daily, wasting precious time, fuel and energy in the process of doing so.

Medical officers have been doing eight to fifteen on-calls every month as a result of the increased locations housing the sick.

That is fifteen days away from home and family every month, mind you.

Just in case you forgot we too have young, growing kids to care for.

Absent parents do not make for good family dynamics, won’t you agree?

We are risking our lives each working day wondering if the abandoned tower block will one day collapse upon us and send us to our Maker.

Our comrades serving in Sabah Medical Center are not having it any better.

In spite of the Barisan Nasional’s grandiose publicity buzz over the RM 245 million purchase of Sabah Medical Center, the medical personnel and patients have remained mere squatters in the premises.

The medical staffs are receiving summonses so very too often as a result of limited parking space.

Those of us in surgical disciplines are working till 9 pm on Mondays to Fridays so as to optimize the operating time of our three miserable rented surgical theatres.

In the SMC wards, 4-5 patients are cramped into rooms meant for two as the hospital was built to house a capacity of 150 beds only.

On QEH, the only tertiary referral centre in Sabah, the QEH doctor has this to say:

Increasingly, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, the only tertiary referral center in Sabah is living up her grand title of being a sick house.

Partially shut down since September 2008, the ailing sick house of Sabah has turned critical recently, with worsening cracks and falling tiles and a real threat of frank collapse.

The older blocks nearby were declared unsafe and subsequently evacuated and shut down.

Ill and frail patients were shipped off in a frenzy like unwanted cargo to nearby centers like Hospital Bukit Padang the mental institution, Hospital Likas, and the makeshift hospital of Lingzhi Museum in Kepayan and of course, UMNO’s favourite Sabah Medical Center (SMC).

The QEH doctor said he and his colleagues invite Liow “to come and see the ground situation for yourself without a grand entourage of administrative boot-lickers”.

He continued:

“Patients who require hospital admission have to be turned away due to the insufficiency of places.

“The inpatients meanwhile are packed like sardines in the current wards, with hardly a metre of space between beds.

“The situation is comparable to a Vietnamese refugee camp.

“Hospital-acquired infections are the norm rather the exception.

“When a patient with tuberculosis coughs his lungs out, everyone in the ward will be inhaling the highly infectious Mycobacterium.

“After 50 years of independence, our ill patients who require close observation are still sharing monitors and other equipment between themselves.

“Is this the standard of care that Barisan Nasional is according to Najib’s self-proclaimed fixed deposit?

“Whatever happened to all the oil money that Sabah has generated for Tanah Melayu over the last 50 years?

“So you see, Mr Health Minister, we don’t need more jobless house officers, more empty promises and more tasty slogans like 1Malaysia.

“We need 1Hospital and 1HealthMinister who is attuned to the sufferings of the rakyat under his care.”

This is an utter shame for the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 1Malaysia and his pledge of “People First, Performance Now: I will send the QEH doctor’s indictment of the healthcare system and the Health Minister ‘s failure and negligence to the Prime Minister, who should table it on Friday’s cabinet meeting as an example of failed Minister in his Cabinet.

Either Najib give Liow an ultimatum to immediately resolve the deplorable healthcare crisis in Sabah or Najib should make an example of Liow by sacking him and appoint a new Health Minister for the country.

  1. #1 by chengho on Wednesday, 24 March 2010 - 12:03 pm

    Kit , are u campaigning for somebody in MCA?

  2. #2 by yhsiew on Wednesday, 24 March 2010 - 12:29 pm

    ///Najib should give Liow Tiong Lai an ultimatum to resolve the Sabah health crisis or be sacked/// (Kit)


    Few million souls in Liow Tiong Lai’s hand. Najib must take action fast to save lives.

  3. #3 by johnnypok on Wednesday, 24 March 2010 - 12:31 pm

    The only answer is for Sabah to pull out of the federation.

  4. #4 by p.s.nathan on Wednesday, 24 March 2010 - 12:33 pm

    Hello Sdr. Kit, Although I have long since retired (in 1996 in Perak) the Sabah Problem is an acute one…if we are talking about a level playing field in the Health area (Equity)…WE /the Health Ministry,really needs to do some serious re-thinking…just for arguement sake if we use staffing and facilities in Perlis as measure/benchmark and considering disease levels in both states….

    Sabah should have had some 160 Detal Officers not the 23 that were in Sabah in 1987
    …….and some 600 Dental Nurses and not the 80 that Sabah had then
    ……and about 140 vechicles, and not the 10 that Sabah had then.

    General conditions in the Rural areas were really pathetic!…one could see children going to school bare -footed!!…grossly under weight, under nourished.

    The Dental service talks about people coming for a Dental check up every 6 months, but many thousands of School Children go through the entire 11 year schooling without ever being examined and treated even once, during the entire 11 year period!

    Initially in 1987, I raised this issue of gross understaffing with my Boss in KL HQ and he told me that i was begining to talk like a Sabahan!!…asking for all kinds of things!

    One Critical thing WE must do…Get Fluoridation of Water supplies back on tract, at all cost…in order to stop this wanton Extractions of Permanant teeth among School Children…the Dental Service there simply cannot cope with the disease levels (Decaying teeth). So if the disease levels in the Urban areas are gradually brought down, then they may have the resources to extend more service to the Rural Children…I think that WE owe the CHILDREN of Sabah (Anak Sabah!)at least that much!

    Why not challenge the State Government, to do some serious soul searching,and take immediate steps to restore Fluoridation of Water supplies in the State, as Recoimended by the World Health Organisation,…..for the Sake of the CHILDREN!…and thus put the SMILES back on their faces of these innocent Children! The First body part that people lose is their teeth!…and its gone for good while they are still in Primary School in Sabah!

    Serving Officers cannot raise these issues…because in our system they ‘Shoot the messenger’, and don’t want to read the message!…see what happened to the brave lady doctor working at the Orang Asli hospital in Gombak, who raised the issue of hanky panky business in the rations distributed to the Orang Asli…she was immediately Transfered to Kedah!

  5. #5 by frankyapp on Wednesday, 24 March 2010 - 1:05 pm

    After 47 years ,Sabah still has no 1hospital.Instead all the existing ones in Kota Kinabalu or in other parts of Sabah are in pretty deplorable condition. Umno/Bn ministers talked but no action.In KK the QEH,a section of the building is near collapsing but who cares. I think BN leaders are in the habit to take immediate action only when some fatal accident happened. Mr.Wong was among thousands who have to endue and suffer from being moved and pushed around . Some even died from such deplorable circumstances. Umnoputras and cronies built the Twin Towers ,the great Putra-Jaya and sent one of their kind into space and ever since then been beating their chests shouting “malaysia boleh “.I think Umno/Bn should make up their mind and set the agenda pretty clear whether they want PRIDE FIRST or PEOPLE FIRST ?

  6. #6 by frankyapp on Wednesday, 24 March 2010 - 1:22 pm

    Twin Towers ok,Great putra Jaya ok,spaceman pun ok but 1hospital for Sabah not ok. Hey Umno/Bn…pride first or people first ?

  7. #7 by All For The Road on Wednesday, 24 March 2010 - 1:53 pm

    Anyway LTL will lose his Cabinet post if he loses in the MCA Deputy President contest on 28th March 2010.

    Thus Najib need not have to scratch his head for an under-performing Health Minister!

  8. #8 by baochingtian on Wednesday, 24 March 2010 - 2:02 pm

    Sabahans must be brave and help themselves at the coming GE. A stroke of pen/pencil is what you need to make the change! Sabahan scholars must help to educate the rural people who have no access to information and political situations in their state!

  9. #9 by ekompute on Wednesday, 24 March 2010 - 3:13 pm

    “Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai had been Health Minister for more than two years and despite repeated complaints, he had turned a complete deaf ear and blind eye to the prolonged healthcare crisis and the deplorable hospital conditions in Sabah particularly in Kota Kinabalu.”

    Our dear friend is so busy politicking and we can’t blame him for that… because if he doesn’t get his priorities right, he may not be around to solve the healthcare crisis. In any case, the crisis was inherited… it did not happen overnight and since it has existed for so long, it still can wait.

    Give him chance laaa, don’t always hentam him cos he is such a nice guy and like everybody, he is just fighting for his own future. Once his future is assured, I am sure he will do a good job….. (my big toe is laughing, hehehe)

  10. #10 by king cobra on Wednesday, 24 March 2010 - 4:40 pm

    former health minister CJM should also be brought to task……….

  11. #11 by waterfrontcoolie on Wednesday, 24 March 2010 - 6:41 pm

    Sacking the Minister is too easy. i just wonder how all those MPs and AdUNs in sabah can find in their conscience to sleep peacefully at night! damn it, the poor people must be awaken! YB, you’ve just started it, keep going until those people are aslo awaken to act in unison to remove all the cheats.

  12. #12 by tanjong8 on Wednesday, 24 March 2010 - 7:57 pm

    Remember Chengho was a eunuch during the Ming dynasty in the 15th century.

    Who do you expect to get from a government run by UmnoUtusans ?

  13. #13 by DCLXVI on Wednesday, 24 March 2010 - 8:18 pm

    chengho: “Kit , are u campaigning for somebody in MCA?”

    Please don’t misunderstand…
    Kit is very very very very very unlikely to be campaigning for anyone or anything in MCA the political party.
    He must be campaigning for another kind of M.C.A. which should be ‘Medical Care Action/Advancement’ in Sabah and in other parts of Malaysia that need this…

  14. #14 by raven77 on Wednesday, 24 March 2010 - 10:38 pm

    Outrageous..but Liow and Health DG Merican get to keep their jobs. Liow is only interested in politicking and Traditional Chinese Medicine while Merican has a personal vendetta with private clinics. The resources of the MOH are misused for personal interests. The message is clear to Sabahans. Vote BN out or cease to exist as a people. Shocking indeed that the health DG gets to keep his job while the Sabah healthcare system has completely collapsed. What a disgrace. A Jap would have committed harakiri by now. LKS should not let these two hoodlums go till the people of Sabah are saved.

  15. #15 by Comrade on Thursday, 25 March 2010 - 5:12 am

    What a sad and annoying case
    This Sabah’s sickening medical maze
    Development there has always been at a slower pace
    Although rich in natural resources by God’s grace
    It will still have a bleak future to face
    If corrupt BN again wins the political race
    Vote in PR to see real changes taking place

  16. #16 by dagen on Thursday, 25 March 2010 - 9:43 am

    What an irony. If the problem is not highlighted, sabahans would continue to suffer. If it was highlighted, it would give umnoputras yet another opportunity to push for another billion ringgit project for something that could be had for a fraction of that. Or at least to be used as another enormous bait in the next election. Vote umno and you will get a brand new super modern first in the world with remote surgery facilities etc etc etc multi billion ringgit crystal structure hospital with gold inserts and diamond studded door knobs and toilet seats. For good measure the hospital would be named ridiculously like for instance (say) Hospital Tuhan Umno Jaga Orang Sabah (or Hospital TUJOS).

    I mean. Just look at the power woes in sabah. Now umno goberman says that the problems there would be solved by 2012. I have this feeling that the solution will be deficient and insufficient and would nevertheless still costs sabahans billions.

  17. #17 by Jamal Malik on Thursday, 25 March 2010 - 1:08 pm

    Sabah should secede from the federation. UMNO/BN is not going to bother about them once UMNO/BN is returned to power.
    Unfortunately, the poor and ignorant is so easy to fool into voting UMNO/BN in another term.

  18. #18 by isahbiazhar on Saturday, 27 March 2010 - 5:38 am

    The broadband did not broaden.

You must be logged in to post a comment.