Dr Hazland Abang Hipni

KUCHING: It is time for Sarawak to set up its own Sarawak Medical Council (SMC), says Demak Laut assemblyman Dr Hazland Abang Hipni.

He agrees with Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian who recently proposed that a separate body to register and regulate medical practice in the state be set up.

In a statement on Thursday (July 23), Dr Hazland said the idea should be taken seriously.

“The proposed establishment should operate independently and not be tied to any non-governmental organisation (NGO) such as the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC).

“This is to ensure that the interests of local Sarawak doctors are taken care of in line with the current needs and wants of the medical practice in Sarawak.”

He added that the proposal was the best solution to the discrimination and indifference of the Ministry of Health (MOH), Public Service Department (JPA), and the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) towards Sabah and Sarawak medical staff.

“In this case, the MOH and JPA do not see the real needs of the people of Sarawak in the field of medicine when only offering a few doctoral jobs for local Sarawak children.

“To make matters worse, some doctors from the Peninsular who are offered to serve in Sarawak refuse to serve in Sarawak and this position is not offered to local Sarawakians. This has further aggravated the current medical process and situation in Sarawak,” he elaborated.

He mentioned another situation that MMC might not have considered in that when most of the doctors serving in Sarawak returned to their hometowns in the Peninsular when the time came, causing a loss of service for the people of Sarawak.

He also noted that MMC was only represented by one person from Sarawak and Sabah each from the total number of 33 members.

“This resulted in most important medical-related decisions not taking into account the needs and interests of the communities in Sarawak and Sabah, but only concerned with the communities in Peninsular Malaysia.

“The position in the MMC should be in line with its population and current needs,” he said.

Dr Hazland stated that Sarawak desperately needed more doctors in public hospitals in Sibu, Bintulu and Miri besides Kuching.

“There are people who have to seek specialist treatment in Kuching because they do not have the expertise in Limbang and Lawas, and this costs time and money.”