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Thursday, 29 February 2024 8:44pm

Sarawak Continues Pursuit for Health Autonomy

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The first technical meeting on Sarawak’s health autonomy, which took place on 12 January 2024, was reflective of the highest commitment towards fulfilling Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), stated Deputy Premier YB Datuk Amar Professor Dr Sim Kui Hian.

Deputy Premier YB Datuk Amar Professor Dr Sim Kui Hian (seated right in front) and Minister of Health Malaysia YB Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly bin Ahmad (seated left in front) at the first technical meeting on Sarawak’s health autonomy on 12 January 2024. Photo from Dr Sim Kui Hian’s Facebook page

Datuk Amar Dr Sim, who is also Minister for Public Health, Housing And Local Government, led the Sarawak delegation at the meeting, which consisted of Deputy Minister in the Premier’s Department (Law, MA63 and State-Federal Relations) YB Datuk Hajah Sharifah Hasidah binti Sayeed Aman Ghazali; Deputy Minister for Public Health, Housing and Local Government II (Public Health and Housing) YB Datuk Michael Tiang Ming Tee; State attorney-general YBhg Datu Saferi bin Ali; State legal counsel Dato Sri Fong Joo Chung; and other senior officers.

Meanwhile, Minister of Health YB Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly bin Ahmad headed the Ministry of Health (MOH) Malaysia delegation. He was accompanied by, among others Deputy Minister of Health YB Dato Lukanisman bin Awang Sauni; the ministry’s secretary-general YBhg Dato’ Seri Ir Dr Zaini bin Ujang; and Health secretary-general YBhg Datuk Dr. Muhammad Radzi bin Abu Hassan.

In his Facebook post regarding the meeting that he described as “historical”, the Deputy Premier expressed his appreciation to MOH for their presence in the first of a series of technical meetings regarding Sarawak’s health autonomy under MA63.

“With the working subcommittee, we shall be able to report progress to the working committee chaired by Deputy Prime Minister YAB Dato’ Sri Haji Fadillah bin Haji Yusof and eventually the MA63 committee chaired by Prime Minister YAB Dato’ Seri Anwar bin Ibrahim,” he added.

In an event that was held a few days prior to the technical meeting, Datuk Amar Dr Sim explained the importance of Sarawak having administrative control over its health sector as a means to guarantee health services in the State being delivered at the highest level of excellence.

He further noted that the State required more health facilities, including heart centres in Sibu and Miri, due to its vast land size and the logistical challenges that come with it.

The pharmacy department at Miri Hospital. Possessing autonomy in its health sector will enable Sarawak to ensure excellent delivery in its health services. File photo

After the technical meeting, Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly during his visit to the Petra Jaya Hospital project site on the same day commented that MOH would look into the Sarawak Government’s views and recommendations on its health autonomy, including matters related to infrastructure, administration, human resource, and staffing. 

“We will definitely look into their request and this will be followed by the setting up of sub-committees that will further scrutinise those matters.

“In my opinion, the request is reasonable,” he added.

Additionally, in his courtesy call on the Premier of Sarawak YAB Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri (Dr) Abang Haji Abdul Rahman Zohari bin Tun Datuk Abang Haji Openg on 12 January 2024, the Minister of Health also revealed the Sarawak Government’s expectation to have the construction of the Sarawak Cancer Centre expedited.

“We can no longer delay the construction of this Cancer Centre, which is very much needed (in Sarawak). I will inform the Prime Minister about all of Sarawak’s requests,” he said.


Bernama. (2024, January 7). Deputy premier: Meeting with Health Ministry next week to discuss Sarawak’s health autonomy request. Malay Mail. https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2024/01/07/deputy-premier-meeting-with-health-ministry-next-week-to-discuss-sarawaks-health-autonomy-request/111134

Bernama. (2024, January 12). Health Ministry to look into Sarawak’s request for health autonomy, says Dzulkefly.Malay Mail. https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2024/01/12/health-ministry-to-look-into-sarawaks-request-for-health-autonomy-says-dzulkefly/112104

Jabatan Penerangan Malaysia. (2024, January 12). Premier Sarawak terima kunjungan hormat Menteri Kesihatan. TVS. https://www.tvsarawak.my/2024/01/12/premier-sarawak-terima-kunjungan-hormat-menteri-kesihatan/

Dr Sim Kui Hian. (2024, January 12). #Sarawak #Health #Autonomy under #MA63 60 years ago, our forefathers had a series of meetings leading to the formation of [Image attached] [Status update]. Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/dr.sim.kui.hian/posts/pfbid02fQJdHWZGPo696SSYY9jFBHccRTgt1n3PeQEg3m1asxhn3QxVYman1Ad5cJWiA3APl

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