- North View
POLICYMAKERS seems to have a habit of making policies that do not make sense to the Sarawak people.
In recent months, the Federal ministries had implemented decisions that affected the whole nation without taking into consideration the uniqueness of the “ground” situations in Sarawak and Sabah.
For example, the recent Ministry of Health’s directive for government hospital pharmacies to limit supplies of medicine to patients to only one month from three months previously.
The ministry said the move was aimed at minimising wastage of medicines.
But that decision is not logical nor practical to be implemented in rural Sarawak and Sabah.
Folk in rural Sarawak and Sabah setttlements must travel hundreds of kilometres of rough journey just to get to the nearest urban hospital. For this, they have to pay a few hundred ringgit per trip using private four-wheels since there are no bus services in these remote places.
It is therefore not logical to expect them to visit the hospital every month just to sustain their supply of medicine.
Two months ago, Sarawakians were deeply concerned by Transport Ministry’s decision to impose entry charges on foreign vehicles entering the country.
Foreign vehicles entering Sarawak from Brunei should not be compelled to pay entry charges or road charges as this will scare away foreign visitors from Sarawak and cripple the state’s economy.
There is a danger that such extra charges will deter tourists and expatriates in Brunei from visiting Sarawak.
There are some three million entries from Brunei into Miri over land every year, and these foreigners contribute hundreds of millions of ringgit every year to the local Miri economy.
Policymakers should not rush to make decisions that adversely affect the lives of the rakyat such as these. They must sit down with Sarawak and Sabah state leaders before making major decisions.
I hope that the representatives will raise this issue urgently during the current state assembly sitting.
Whenever there is lack of consultation and discussion between the Federal Government and the state government, there is always the high possibility of bad policy decisions that can create serious negative consequences to the rakyat.