Penang BN claims that Lim Guan Eng twisted the facts about the matter and reveals that five operating licences have been issued by the ministry.
State BN chairman Teng Chang Yeow accused Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng of twisting facts by claiming that Penang had been unable to secure a single operating licence for a new private hospital since Pakatan took over the state in 2008.
Teng said the Health Ministry had issued five operating licences to new private hospital projects in the state since 2008.
The projects were one each in Kepala Batas, Bandar Baru Perda and Jawi, all on mainland Seberang Perai, and two in George Town, including a hospital-cum-hotel project in Jalan Zainal Abidin.
New projects aside, Teng also revealed that the ministry had approved 36 out of 40 applications from 15 existing hospitals for re-development projects in Penang.
“The state government has manipulated facts and created stories to hide the truth. It has lied to the people of Penang,” Teng told a press conference here.
Last weekend, Lim claimed that the non-issuance of operating licence was of grave concern as Penang was determined to remain the country’s leader in health tourism.
The chief minister said that Penang was currently the leader for health tourism, contributing more than 60% of the country’s market share in this industry
Lim also claimed that the situation had resulted in the state readying itself to return a RM10 million premium to Kuala Lumpur International Dental Corporation Sdn Bhd (KLIDCSB) for a fallen-through investment in Jalan Zainal Abidin.
Dismissing this as “another lie”, Teng said he had received information confirming that the ministry issued an operating licence to KLIDCSB on July 21 this year to build a private hospital, namely the Victoria Specialist Hospital.
The project was a 30-storey building comprising six-storey hospital, five-storey car park and 19-storey hotel.
Teng said the grand project would surely enter into the Malaysian Guiness Book of Records as the only kind of hospital-hotel structure in the country and the tallest one too.
He said the state economic planning unit had been informed a month earlier on June 5 about the ministry’s imminent issuance of the operating licence.
Teng also revealed that the island municipality (MPPP) one-stop centre (OSC) online data bank showed that the corporation had submitted an application for planning permit to the council on Dec 12, 2011.
Lim had claimed that a ministry letter on Oct 22, 2010 stated that KLIDCSB’s proposal to build a 150-bed hospital on the 0.45ha site could not be entertained.
The reason given was that the bed-to-resident ratio for multi-disciplinary private hospitals was already sufficient at 2:1000.
Lim said the corporation had repeatedly appealed for an operating licence since its initial application on Sept 6, 2010.
He claimed that the corporation had eventually indicated to the state government of its intention to withdraw its investment due to difficulties to obtain a licence.
Teng questioned how the corporation submitted for a planning permit in December 2011 when the ministry had allegedly rejected the application for an operating licence a year before.
“It’s obvious that the Pakatan government had lied,” he said.
Previously BN had claimed that the plot in Jalan Zainal Abidin was earmarked for low-cost housing project to cater for the needs of the lower income group.