Malaysian MP pushes for autonomy in state healthcare

Remote clinics rely heavily on irregular mobile medical services.

Bandar Kuching MP Kelvin Yii has urged the Malaysian government to decentralise healthcare to give the states room to make their own decisions. Yii said this would greatly benefit states with overburdened healthcare systems, such as Sarawak, which is currently battling a spike in COVID-19 cases.

Yii alleged that Sarawak's health infrastructure had been neglected for years and said the state should have the autonomy to make decisions on logistics and investments.

"Since the COVID-19 surge, we have seen how an already stretched and under-funded system is being overwhelmed," he said.

Yii cited statistics showing Sarawak had one doctor for every 682 people last year. He adds 98 out of 215 rural clinics are run only by medical assistants and nurses and stocked with only basic medication such as paracetamol.

Sarawak assistant minister for public health and housing Annuar Rapaee said there should be a minimum level of service in the provision of healthcare in the state.

The 12th Malaysia Plan mentions the strengthening of rural health clinics.

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