KUCHING: Sarawak DAP has expressed gratitude to the state government for agreeing to chip in on medical cost incurred by former state Opposition leader Wong Ho Leng, who is receiving treatment for brain tumour in Singapore.
“I want to sincerely express my thanks to the government,” said its state chairman Chong Chieng Jen yesterday. On Thursday, Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem raised eyebrows by announcing that the state government would “assist in paying” Wong’s medical bills.
Chong said he was caught by surprise. “The first time I heard about it was when a reporter called me up in the evening. I had not received anything written. I don’t have the details,” said the Kota Sentosa assemblyman, who is also Bandar Kuching MP.
Although Chong declined to reveal specifics about Wong’s present health, he confirmed that Wong was currently warded in intensive care, adding that the state government’s gesture would help Wong’s family welfare.
It is believed that the decision to subsidised medical bills of an Opposition member outside the country is unprecedented, at least in Sarawak. State privileges granted to elected representatives include medical assistance, but only at public hospitals, government clinics and Normah Medical Specialist Centre here, which is owned by the Sarawak government.
Although there were past cases where the state forked out on medical bills for officials, these were done with prior approval. In Wong’s case, it appears the state government has granted an exemption.
In January last year, 54-year-old Wong announced that he was diagnosed with brain tumour. He has been Bukit Assek assemblyman since winning the seat in the 2006 state elections.
In May 2010, he became Sibu MP, winning a by-election following the demise of incumbent Datuk Robert Lau of SUPP.
After Wong was diagnosed with brain tumour, he did not stand in last year’s parliamentary polls.
Wong, who is married to Irene Chang and a father to five children, did not show up at the last Sarawak Legislative Assembly sitting in November.