KUCHING: In a move that is sure to surprise, Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem announced that Sarawak will "assist in paying" the medical costs incurred by cancer-stricken former Opposition leader Wong Ho Leng.
"We are doing this on humanitarian grounds," Adenan told a press conference at his office here.
"We assist Ahli Yang Berhormat (Honourable Members) whether they are in Barisan Nasional or the Opposition. We make no distinction because (members of) both are human beings, and we all get sick," he said.
Wong, who is Bukit Assek assemblyman and former DAP state chairman, is receiving treatment for brain tumour in Singapore.
Adenan said the government would take care of the medical bills of all elected representatives if they are treated in the country.
"All the YBs are entitled... within Malaysia. But to seek treatment outside Malaysia, they will have to pay on their own. This is the part where we want to assist the family of Wong," he said.
Adenan would not comment when asked about Wong's health.
"That one you got to ask the doctors," he said. On cost, Adenan replied the medical treatment was on-going and presently, "it is a running bill".
Adenan revealed that Sarawak DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen had written to Legislative Assembly Speaker Datuk Amar Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar recently about Wong's situation.
"Yes, there was a letter written by the Kota Sentosa assemblyman and Bandar Kuching MP to the Speaker. He was seeking assistance for the family of Wong. The letter has been brought to me, and this is our response."
In January last year, the 54-year-old Wong announced he was diagnosed with brain tumour. He has been Sibu's Bukit Assek assemblyman since winning the seat in the 2006 state election.
In May 2010, he became Sibu MP, winning a by-election following the demise of incumbent Datuk Robert Lau of SUPP. Wong did not contest last year's general election.
Wong did not show up at the last Sarawak Legislative Assembly sitting in November last year. Married to Irene Chang, he is father to five children.
Adenan also revealed that the Sarawak Government had written a letter of condolence to the family of the late DAP national chairman Karpal Singh.
"On behalf of myself and on behalf of the state Government, a letter of condolence has been sent to the family of the late YB.
"His demise is a great lost to the legal profession and the country's political scene," Adenan said.
Adenan described the late Karpal as a "prominent lawyer and bold politician respected by both friends and opponents," adding that he was "deeply saddened" by Karpal's sudden
demise in a car accident.
Another letter of condolence from the state Government was also issued to the family of the late Datuk Amar Dunstan Endawie Enchana, who passed away on April 11.
Endawi, who began public office in Sarawak's first Cabinet formed in 1963 at the time of Independence, rose to the prominent role of deputy chief minister, a position he served between 1977 and 1979.