Probe why faulty ventilators sent to Sarawak

Senator Robert Lau Hui Yew

KUCHING: A Senator has urged the Ministry of Health (MOH) to investigate why unusable ventilators were sent to Sarawak.

Robert Lau Hui Yew said the sending of the faulty equipment was an unacceptable act.

“It reflects very badly on the federal ministry,” he said in a statement today.

Lau added that MOH must conduct an investigation and clear the air on the matter.

“This is necessary to regain trust in the system or else the suspicion is that Sarawakians are being treated as second class Malaysians,” he added.

Lau said MOH should disclose how many ventilators were purchased since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and where they were distributed to, noting that eight out of the ten ventilators sent to Sarawak were unusable.

“Hospitals in Sibu are running low on equipment and have had to resort to borrowing from private hospitals.

“The pandemic has revealed the ugly truth of the serious lack of investments and the low priorities on hospitals here compared to Malaya.”

He said, as example, ventilators in Sibu before the pandemic were already 10 years old and had been written off with zero value.

“This means they are obsolete and should not be repaired if broken and had to be replaced. Sadly, yearly request for new replacements never come.”

In addition, he pointed out that the state government recently bought three new ventilators for Sibu Hospital and the private sector donated one ventilator to Sibu Hospital and one to Kapit Hospital.

“People have been very generous in donating equipment and many other items to Sibu Hospital over the last one year. Even the two units of PCR testing machines were donated by private companies.”

He said the Finance Ministry should allow for full tax relief to the donors.

Lau also opined that the federal government should give full autonomy in healthcare to Sarawak.

“This must include fair distribution of budget provided to Sarawak annually to cater for the whole healthcare operation in the region.”