Build specialist hospital on Mukah STOLport site

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MUKAH: A Chinese community leader has suggested that the short takeoff and landing airport (STOLport) here, now closed since a new airport began operations recently, be the site for a specialist hospital.

Kapitan Kang Boon Eong said nowadays, many medical cases at Mukah Hospital were referred to either Sibu Hospital or Bintulu Hospital.

He added that this would continue for many more years unless Mukah had its own specialist hospital, while it was also inconvenient for patients and their families to travel far for treatment.

“I learn that in the last one year or so, even childbirths are also referred to Bintulu Hospital,” he told New Sarawak Tribune on Friday (June 25).

He was commenting on the STOLport, which is now not operating after flights were moved to the new Mukah Airport at KM7, Jalan Mukah-Oya, on June 17.

According to him, being a division and fast developing, Mukah should have better health facilities to support the increasing population.

Kang explained that in line with the fast development currently taking place and with good road network, it was time that a specialist hospital be built.

He revealed that there had been a plan some years ago to build a new hospital near Kampung Penipah in Jalan Mukah-Balingian, but it was learned that this might not happen.

It was recently reported that there had been suggestions to turn the STOLport into a flying school or a motorsports ground, subject to approval from the Sarawak government.

Kang Siew Hai

Meanwhile, a senior citizen, who has seen the construction of the STOLport until its very last day of operations, hoped that the site would be utilised wisely for the benefit of folk here.

Kang Siew Hai, 83, said he heard that there had been plans to convert it into a flying school and also a motorsports ground.

The former teacher added that there could be other plans too.

“Whatever the plan is, I hope that it will benefit the people here.”

Kang, who is also Mukah Chiang Chuan Association honorary chairman, hoped that the government would look into the matter carefully before deciding the next step.

According to him, the STOLport was established in 1974 – it had a grass landing strip before being upgraded to its current bitumen surface.

It was learned that initially much smaller aircraft with a seating capacity of less than 10 was used, before the current 18-seater Twin Otter.

Whenever it rained heavily, the runway would be flooded and flights had to be cancelled or forced back.

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