MIRI: Sarawak Health Department has decided not to relocate Long San health clinic in Ulu Baram to Samling’s logging base camp at KM10 which is an hour’s drive away.
This was revealed by Telang Usan Assemblyman Dennis Ngau who said that the clinic is still operating temporarily as usual at Long San village community hall.
Upon hearing about the plan to move the clinic, Dennis and Baram MP Anyie Ngau and local community leaders persuaded the Health Department to abort its plan.
Dennis said they had a number of reasons for opposing the move. Among them is the big number of SMK Datuk Temenggong Lawai Jau students and Sekolah Kebangsaan St Pius pupils who need the clinic to be close by.
Long San is often used as a centre of various activities by the people of more than 20 longhouses and other settlements in Ulu Baram. These people also need frequent medical and health services from the clinic.
For the record, Long San clinic has been providing health care to Ulu Baram residents even before the formation of Malaysia when it was operated by missionaries from the Roman Catholic Church.
“Therefore, to move the clinic away from Long San would be counter-productive and unreasonable from the point of view of the local people,” said Dennis.
Dennis has also explained to representatives from the department during a dialogue held at the end of last year at Long San that the community did not oppose what the department planned in the interest of its staff members, but the clinic has a long history and sentimental value to the people.
In response to the request not to relocate the clinic, Minister of Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian, who holds a watching brief on health matters in Sarawak, called for a meeting in his office to look for a way forward.
At the meeting, Dennis proposed a site for the clinic while a cabin clinic is designed and built. The whole process would take six months.
During his visit to the temporary site for the clinic last Saturday, Dennis was told that some minor repairs and renovation were needed to ensure the comfort of patients and staff members.
Besides thanking Dr Sim for paying attention to the issue, Dennis also wanted the federal government to approve the new clinic under the 2020 budget and get it built this year on fast-track basis.
“A permanent Long San clinic as well as staff quarters must be given top priority,” he said.
Accompanying Dennis during the visit to the temporary clinic was Long San headwoman Lucia Paya Kalang; head of Long San clinic Dr Chin and several of the Long San’s JKKK.
Long San is about five hours’ drive on a four-wheel drive vehicle from Miri city.