Complex issues must be tackled before Sarawak can manage autonomy in health, says Deputy Premier

Sarawak Deputy Premier Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian (third left) greeting visitors at the Chinese New Year open house at Dewan Masyarakat in Kuching. - ZULAZHAR SHEBLEE/The Star

KUCHING: Issues related to funding, manpower and equipment must be resolved before Sarawak can take administrative autonomy over health matters, says Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian.

The Sarawak Deputy Premier said these issues were complex and must be discussed in detail by all stakeholders.

"We want a comprehensive discussion so that we can determine the parameters of autonomy.

ALSO READ: Sarawak welcomes return of autonomy over education, health, says state minister

"It's very complex and cannot be done overnight. If the Federal Government gives us autonomy, then who is going to employ the health personnel? What about regulatory matters such as recognition of medical degrees?

"All this needs to be discussed," he told reporters at a Chinese New Year open house at Dewan Masyarakat in Padungan here on Monday (Jan 23).

Dr Sim said health autonomy was raised at the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) implementation action council meeting chaired by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on Friday (Jan 20), but further discussions were needed.

ALSO READ: Details on Sarawak autonomy in health and education being worked out, says Fadillah

"We will get the Premier (Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg) to chair a meeting with all the different stakeholders.

"Funding, manpower and equipment must come together. These issues need to be discussed in detail and resolved, otherwise we will be unprepared (for) autonomy," he said.

On Jan 7, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof said the Federal Government had agreed in principle to return health and education autonomy to Sarawak.

He said this would strengthen Sarawak's rights as enshrined in MA63 and the details were being worked out.

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