Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Rumah Sakit Yang Sakit « Lim Kit Siang

Rumah Sakit Yang Sakit

An Open Letter to Health Minister

Dear Yang Berkhidmat Liow Tiong Lai,

Mr. Wong, an elderly man presented at Hospital Likas because of severe breathlessness and was found to have severe pneumonia on chest x-ray.

He was then admitted to the High Dependency Unit of Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) 30 minutes away for treatment.

He improved after six days and was then transferred to the normal ward for further recuperation.

A bed was urgently needed one day later and the frail Mr. Wong was then shipped off to Hospital Bukit Padang for ‘rehabilitation’.

Alas, he did not improve but instead deteriorated.

As Hospital Bukit Padang was devoid of the necessary equipment and setup for managing emergencies and ill patients, Mr. Wong was then resent back to QEH for further management.

More tests were required and old Wong was then sent to Sabah Medical Center for a CT scan.

I’m not sure what happened to Mr. Wong thereafter.

Dear Minister,

I hope this short story did not catch you in an awkward moment as the infamous video did to your amorous predecessor.

I hate to interrupt you in the midst of your personal battle for self preservation in the increasingly irrelevant political party called MCA but the healthcare crisis in Sabah has just taken a turn for the worse.

The locals in Sabah refer to hospitals as ‘rumah sakit’ – translated literally to mean a ‘sick house’.

Increasingly, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, the only tertiary referral center in Sabah is living up her grand title of being a sick house.

Partially shut down since September 2008, the ailing sick house of Sabah has turned critical recently, with worsening cracks and falling tiles and a real threat of frank collapse.

The older blocks nearby were declared unsafe and subsequently evacuated and shut down.

Ill and frail patients were shipped off in a frenzy like unwanted cargo to nearby centers like Hospital Bukit Padang the mental institution, Hospital Likas, and the makeshift hospital of Lingzhi Museum in Kepayan and of course, UMNO’s favourite Sabah Medical Center (SMC).

Mr. Minister of Health,

The formation of the Queen- SMC-Likas-Lingzhi-BukitPadang medical maze has brought total chaos to healthcare services in Sabah.

The docile and unassuming Sabahan patients are constantly playing a wicked game of musical chairs, being transported around from one hospital to another according to their changing healthcare needs.

There is not one single center that can address a patient as a whole.

A lady in labor will be told that she can’t do so in QEH, while a fitting patient are whisked away from Likas to QEH.

A child with a broken limb may go to SMC but the surgery can only be done in Likas.

Elderly Mr. Wong is merely one of many such victims.

Continuity of care is virtually impossible when patients are moved about every few days.

Valuable investigations and data are lost in the process of multiple transfers resulting in costly, repeated tests.

Patients have even died due to the lack of emergency equipment and the deficient setup at the peripheral wards.

You will not hear all these because your little pharaohs in the state health department have done a great job concealing negligence, mismanagement and sheer stupidity.

Medical personnel are suffering in silence too.

Doctors from house officers to specialists are rushing around the five medical centers daily, wasting precious time, fuel and energy in the process of doing so.

Medical officers have been doing eight to fifteen on-calls every month as a result of the increased locations housing the sick.

That is fifteen days away from home and family every month, mind you.

Just in case you forgot we too have young, growing kids to care for.

Absent parents do not make for good family dynamics, won’t you agree?

We are risking our lives each working day wondering if the abandoned tower block will one day collapse upon us and send us to our Maker.

Our comrades serving in Sabah Medical Center are not having it any better.

In spite of the Barisan Nasional’s grandiose publicity buzz over the RM 245 million purchase of Sabah Medical Center, the medical personnel and patients have remained mere squatters in the premises.

The medical staffs are receiving summonses so very too often as a result of limited parking space.

Those of us in surgical disciplines are working till 9 pm on Mondays to Fridays so as to optimize the operating time of our three miserable rented surgical theatres.

In the SMC wards, 4-5 patients are cramped into rooms meant for two as the hospital was built to house a capacity of 150 beds only.

Mr. Minister,

My colleagues and I cordially invite you to come and see the ground situation for yourself without a grand entourage of administrative boot-lickers.

Patients who require hospital admission have to be turned away due to the insufficiency of places.

The inpatients meanwhile are packed like sardines in the current wards, with hardly a metre of space between beds.

The situation is comparable to a Vietnamese refugee camp.

Hospital-acquired infections are the norm rather the exception.

When a patient with tuberculosis coughs his lungs out, everyone in the ward will be inhaling the highly infectious Mycobacterium.

After 50 years of independence, our ill patients who require close observation are still sharing monitors and other equipment between themselves.

Is this the standard of care that Barisan Nasional is according to Najib’s self-proclaimed fixed deposit?

Whatever happened to all the oil money that Sabah has generated for Tanah Melayu over the last 50 years?

So you see, Mr Health Minister, we don’t need more jobless house officers, more empty promises and more tasty slogans like 1Malaysia.

We need 1Hospital and 1HealthMinister who is attuned to the sufferings of the rakyat under his care.

Do and be all that even though Sabah will most likely hand Barisan Nasional another landslide victory come next general election.

With warmest regards,
Product of the System.

A Blast From The Past.....

A Blast From The Past.....Was The Oil Royalty 5% Or 20%?

Is the Petroleum Development Act 1974 unconstitutional? Petronas doesn't answer to Parliament and is only answerable to the Prime Minister of the day-hence if my memory still serves me correctly the Prime Minister of the day is Najib Tun Razak.But 36 years ago,the time the Petroleum Act was enacted,the Prime Minister was Tun Abdul Razak (22th.Sept.1970-14th.Jan.1976), while Tun Hussein Onn serve as the Prime Minister from 14th.Jan.1976-16th.July.1981.

Ironically,call it just pure coincidence,we are now seeing off springs in a similar capacity.But today we're more keen to re-discover the events that took place in Sabah,which could have change the fate of Sabahans,especially when oil was actually first discovered in 1882.

On the morning of June 6th.1976 @10am,Sabah Chief Minister born as Donald Aloysius Marmaduke Stephens and ,later known as Tun Haji Mohammad Fuad Stephens boarded a Nomad Aircraft from Kota Kinabalu and bound for Labuan. Along with him on the flight were State Ministers Datuk Salleh Sulong, Chong Thien Vun, and Assistant Minister Darius Binion. The purpose was to welcome Malaysian Finance Minister Tengku Razaliegh Hamzah and Sarawak Chief Minister, Datuk Pattingi Hj.Abdul Rahman Yakub,who were visiting the oil refinery at Labuan.

On the 7th.June.1976,the visiting Finance Minister cum Petronas Founding Chairman, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah was scheduled to sign an Oil Agreement in Kota Kinabalu between the State Government of Sabah and Petronas. Unfortunately the signing ceremony never took place, not on the 7th.June.1976 anyway. The reason.... Chief Minister Donald Stephens, Salleh Sulong, Chong Thien Vun, Peter Mojuntin (the Golden Son of the Kadazans) along with 7 others perished in the controversial accident of the Nomad Aircraft carrying them on the 6th.June.1976, in Kota Kinabalu. That tragedy is also known as the DOUBLE SIX TRAGEDY or DOUBLE SIX CRASH.

The question lingering in the minds of Sabahans till this day is - was the final discussion prior to the signing of this Oil Agreement 5% or 20% ?? Will we ever know?

Catastrophically, after only eight days after the First Huguan Siou, Donald Stephens, perished in that controversial crash, and on the 14th.June.1976,the Government of Sabah signed an agreement with Petronas, granting it the right to extract oil and earn revenue from the territorial waters of Sabah in exchange for 5% in annual revenue as royalty.

Today, after 34 years, its questionable if National oil firm Petronas could be unlawful as its founding law was approved before it signed agreements with all the states, according to law professor Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi.

He also explained that according to the Malaysia Federal Agreement, land belongs to the states, which complicates the provision in the agreement surrendering control of petroleum found onshore under the Petroleum Development Act 1974.

“I think there are some aspects of the Petronas Act that is unconstitutional,”

Under the agreements signed in the mid-1970s all state governments were promised cash payment or royalty of five per cent for petroleum extracted onshore or offshore in return for surrendering their control of petroleum resources to the national oil company.

Shad also pointed out that the Act was passed before all the states had signed the agreement.

“The constitution says when you take somebody’s property you have to pay adequate compensation,” said Shad.

Federal powers:

In Schedule 9, List I of the Federal Constitution, the following topics are assigned to the Federal Government:

> Except as to State rights over permits and licenses, the Federal Government has rights over development of mineral resources, mines, mining, minerals and mineral ores, oils and oilfields, petroleum products, safety in mines and oilfields: Para 8(j).

> Gas and gas works, production and distribution of power and energy: Para 11(c).

> Foreign and extra-territorial jurisdiction: Para 1 (g).

> Treaties, agreements and conventions with other countries and all matters which bring the Federation into relations with any other country: Para 1(a) and 1(b).

Peninsular Malaysian States:

When it comes to Peninsular Malaysian States, the following matters fall in State hands:

> Land: Schedule 9 List II, Para 2(a). Under the Interpretation Acts, 1948 and 1967, Section 3, land includes “the surface of the earth … all substances therein… all vegetation and other natural products… whether on or below the surface… and land covered by water”. The territorial waters of Kelantan will come within the definition of “land covered by water”. Territorial waters are defined by Section 4(2) of the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance No 7, 1969. Subject to some exceptions, they refer to three nautical miles.

> Revenue from lands: Schedule 10, Part III Para 2.

> In addition to the income from land, one notes that in Article 110[3A] there is provision for discretionary payment on such terms and conditions as maybe prescribed by or under federal law of the export duty on “mineral oils” produced in the state. Petroleum comes within the meaning of “mineral oils” under Section 10 of the Petroleum Development Act.

Sabah & Sarawak:

In addition to the rights of other states, Sabah and Sarawak enjoy some special sources of revenue.

> Schedule 10, Part V, Para 1 assigns import duty and excise duty on petroleum products to Sabah and Sarawak.

> Schedule 10, Part V, Para 3 assigns royalty and export duty on “mineral oils” totaling 10% to Sabah and Sarawak. “Petroleum”, as defined in the Petroleum Development Act, falls within the meaning of “mineral oils” and, therefore, 10% combined royalty and export duty on it constitutes part of the guaranteed revenue for Sabah and Sarawak.

From the above, it follows that the constitutional right of Peninsular Malaysian states is confined to fees for permits and licences and for extraction of any petroleum that is derived from their land and territorial waters.

Anything beyond territorial waters, e.g. on the Continental Shelf, is entirely in federal hands. All gas is in federal hands.

Legally, the oil and gas belongs to the states. The only way the federal government can ‘steal’ this oil and gas would be to come out with a new law that allows them to do so. If not it would be illegal for the federal government to touch the oil and gas. It belonged 100% to the states.

And this new law or Act called the Petroleum Development Act 1974 allowed the federal government to unilaterally (note the word ‘unilaterally’ and not ‘bilaterally’) amend the terms of the Federal Agreement. Normally, it requires all the parties to the Agreement to agree to any amendments to that Agreement before it can be amended. In this case, only one party made the changes (unilaterally) and the other parties were forced to remain silent.

The Federal and State Government of Sabah have a whole load of explaining to do.Were there two sets of agreement - one dated on the 7th.June 1976 and the other 14th.June 1976? Was the oil royalty 5% or was it more?

Why didn't any of the Chief Ministers after Donald Stephens demand for more oil royalty for Sabah? Sabahans have been hoodwinked long enough and the time has come for Sabahans to demand what rightfully belongs to them.The State Government of Sabah has been silent and it's quite obvious,they will remain silent-hence a puppet government.If history could be reversed would Sabahans today enjoy a much higher oil royalty had the illustrious sons and freedom fighters of Sabah did not perished?

Interestingly,Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah has been invited and has agreed to deliver a talk and answer questions in relation to the petroluem issue on the 2nd.April.2010 @8pm at the KDCA Buiding in Penampang,Sabah.I would encourage all Sabahans to attend this event and probably listen to all the unanswered questions.