DAP slams GPS over failure to raise health, education autonomy issue

Sarawak DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen (seated second from right) with other DAP leaders including Pending assemblyman Violet Yong (seated first from left, Padungan assemblyman Wong King Wei (seated first from right) and Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii (seated second from left) in a press conference at Sarawak DAP headquarters today.

KUCHING: Sarawak DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen has accused the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government of not having the intention to reclaim the state’s autonomy on education and healthcare from Putrajaya.

He said the matter was never raised by the state government’s representatives at the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) steering committee meeting.

“The Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) were only playing to the gallery when they made all the claims about fighting for the state’s autonomy over education and health. GPS, which includes SUPP, has no intention to fight for it.

“Therefore, SUPP is only lying to Sarawakians. There’s no effort by the GPS government to fight for autonomy over health and education in the state,” he said in a press conference here, today.

Chong said this after two medical officers from Sibu General Hospital, Dr Wong Woan Hui and Dr Bong Ing Hui received letters on Nov 13 last year informing them that their contracts would not be renewed.

It was reported that no reasons or grace period were given to the two doctors.

Chong said none of this would have happened if the Sarawak government had fought for the state’s autonomy over education and healthcare for the past 57 years.

“They (GPS leaders) had done nothing about it and it’s about time for another party to replace them,” he said, adding that the autonomy over education and healthcare had always been part of the Sarawak Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) main agenda.

Earlier, Local Government and Housing Minister Dr Sim Kui Hian expressed regret that the medical officers’ contracts were not renewed, saying the ministry of health had not taken the need of Sarawak into consideration.

“These MOs, as you know, have passed the specialist exam. If they are not given contract renewal, they will have no chance to complete their training, because you cannot train at private hospitals.

“Sarawak is always short of specialists. This is all the more reason why they should be given a chance. Not every MO wants to be a specialist. And these are the MOs who have passed the exam and want to be specialists but their contracts are terminated.”

He said the incident would not have happened if health autonomy was given back to Sarawak.

Sim said the “Malaya First” policy was not what Sarawak signed up for when the state decided to sign the Malaysia Agreement in 1963.

Yesterday, Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad said his ministry would investigate and find out why the contracts of the MOs in Sibu were terminated.

“It’s unfortunate this has happened. I will immediately investigate this matter to get to the bottom of it. What more when we are in need of medical officers with talent and credibility,” he said.