Sibu Hospital: A sad story of Sarawak


Letter by Mimi

This is a sad story of Sarawak and the Sarawakians.

What went wrong in Sarawak?

From the photos taken at the Medical Ward at the Sibu in Hospital, no one would believe Sarawak is one of the largest contributors to the Federal fund.

End of Dec 2010, I spent some time caring for a relative who was admitted at the Sibu Hospital. From the outside, this hospital looks like a 3 star resort. However, inside the hospital, the story is totally different.

This is 2011. How come there is no air conditioning in the Medical ward (I didn’t have the time to check out the other wards)? During the day, the ceiling fans are merely swirling warm, muggy air in the ward. It’s so hot & balmy that the patients leave their tops unbuttoned (yes, even the female patients).

Some patients brought their own table fans but were still too hot and did not wear their hospital blouse. In the afternoons when the heat is most unrelenting, the patients sweat and wet their pillow cases and bedsheets, especially those who are unconscious or unable to turn on their own.

Judging from the time I spent at this hospital, at least 80 per cent of the patients are natives from the interiors of Sarawak. Many of these patients are illiterate. They don’t know the definition of “standard of living”. Whatever the condition of the hospital, they quietly accept it. Do they have a choice?

At night, practically all the native carers sleep on the floor. If they had come from the interior via public transport, they wouldn’t have brought with them their own cumbersome lounge chair (if they could afford it in the first place). The ward has plenty of unusable lounge chairs dumped in the store room. We were lucky we could afford to buy a decent lounge chair.

The restroom inside this Medical ward is wet and stinks of urine 24 hrs a day. There’s no toilet paper or soap. The soap dispensers are devoid of liquid soap. It’s ironic that there are posters above the soap dispensers reminding people to wash their hands but there’s no soap provided.

The restroom outside (opposite the lifts) has no toilet paper either and it also stinks of urine. By the way, there are only 2 toilet cubicles in both the Men’s and Ladies’ Restroom. The ladies toilet near the lifts are dimly lit. The only light is above the mirror. The blown light bulb remains unchanged (it is now Feb, maybe the bulb has been changed).

The corridor outside the Medical ward is very wide but not a single chair was in sight. It was a sorrowful sight to see such the relatives of the patients huddle together on the floor. They probably came from too far interior to go home and they were taking turns to care for the patient. There is restricted number of visitors allowed to care for each patient by their bedside.

Is Sarawak so short of funds that it is not possible to make the Sibu Hospital (and other district hospitals in the state) more hospitable?

I suspect the state of the hospital has been left status quo for many years because majority of the patients who come here are really poor and not knowledgeable or even illiterate, hence, they don’t complain.

Yet, when it comes to garnering for votes, our PM Najib Razak so blatently dangled RM5 million in front of the noses of the people of Sibu.

I had sent these pictures to the Star and the New Straits Times however, neither of them were interested in the story.

Perhaps Mr. Wong can look into this. We must really improve the Sibu Hospital and other government hospitals in the state. We contribute so much in petroleum revenue. Why should our hospitals be in such a sorry state?

Thank you.

Apa Pun Boleh

To see more picture about Sibu Hospital, click this link Lim Kit Siang Blog

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