PETALING JAYA: The RM150mil allocation meant for building a new hospital in Kampar has yet to be transferred to the Health Ministry, ripping apart an allegation by DAP’s Keranji assemblyman Chong Zhemin that the funds had been misappropriated.
The Health Ministry said although the government had approved the construction of the hospital when tabling Budget 2020 last year, land transfer matters had yet to be completed.“The land meant for the hospital is on state land which needs to be transferred to the Federal Lands Commissioner. The Economic Affairs Ministry will only prepare the budget according to the ceiling prescribed in the 12th Malaysia Plan once land transfer matters are completed, ” the ministry said yesterday.
The Health Ministry’s clarification debunked Chong’s recent allegation that MCA had misappropriated the RM150mil allocation for the Kampar hospital, which he claimed was replaced with the party’s plan for a private hospital in collaboration with Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman.
Meanwhile, the Health Ministry further noted there was no issue involving the RM150mil allocation because the funds were currently being held by the Finance Ministry.
It also noted the original project and budget, which was first announced by then health minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai in 2012, were cancelled as the initial site was found to be unsuitable.
A fresh budget for the newly-revived project was only approved following the tabling of Budget 2020.
MCA deputy president Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon had demanded evidence to show MCA had misappropriated the funds.
Chong reportedly responded by showing a letter that the construction of the hospital was cancelled in 2016, after the proposed site was found to be unsuitable but allegedly did not mention the allocation.
On Jan 4, Dr Mah retaliated by criticising Chong for providing irrelevant answers and called for his resignation if he could not provide strong evidence.
He also demanded an apology from Chong and threatened to take legal action if one was not issued within 48 hours.
Meanwhile, in a Facebook posting, MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong thanked the Health Ministry for the clarification.
“MCA has never embezzled public funds to build private hospitals, ” he said, while also expressing his disgust over the baseless accusation.