RM368 mil expansion work for Seberang Jaya Hospital delayed

Penang Health Committee chairman Dr Afif Bahardin (in white) getting a briefing from hospital authorities at the construction site of the Seberang Jaya Hospital’s new block.

GEORGE TOWN: A Penang government official today said the RM368 million project to upgrade Seberang Jaya Hospital will be delayed as 15 out of 19 open tenders have not been awarded yet.

State Health Committee chairman Dr Afif Bahardin said the project cannot be completed by its initial completion date of 2020 and will be delayed by another year.

Earlier, the main contractors were allowed to choose their respective subcontractors, but the system was changed midway to an “open tender system” in order to ensure transparency.

At a press conference today, he urged the finance ministry to hasten the awarding of contracts so that the project can be completed on time.

Afif said the 15 components needed for the project are for “expert works”.

“I am very concerned with the issues at the hospital and I hope the finance minister can speed up the upgrades immediately,” Afif said.

The 22-year-old Seberang Jaya Hospital is facing an overcrowding problem. The hospital currently has 393 beds, which will increase to 630 beds after the completion of the project.

A multi-storey car park complex will also be built.

The new block will offer clinical services, rehabilitation medicine, cardiology and paediatric cardiothoracic services.

It is also set to be the referral centre for the northern region for two disciplines that have yet to be determined.

The expansion has been touted to be the largest federal project in Penang.

Announced in 2015, the project was supposed to take three and a half years to be completed.

On another matter, Afif also addressed concerns raised by a Facebook user who claimed he had found termites in hospital beds.

He said hospitals are free from termites, adding that regular maintenance was also scheduled.