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SAPP president: No need for Sabah to have its own health ministry

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Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president Datuk Yong Teck Lee Yong, who was responding to public calls for the state government to have a health minister following the previous Warisan government administration, said it was unnecessary and will only be a duplication of duties. ― Picture by Firdaus Latif
Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president Datuk Yong Teck Lee Yong, who was responding to public calls for the state government to have a health minister following the previous Warisan government administration, said it was unnecessary and will only be a duplication of duties. ― Picture by Firdaus Latif

KOTA KINABALU, Oct 12 — Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president Datuk Yong Teck Lee today said that there is no need to reinstate a State Health Minister as public health matters come under the Local Government and Housing Ministry.

Yong, who was responding to public calls for the state government to have a health minister following the previous Warisan government administration, said it was unnecessary and will only be a duplication of duties.

“The Sabah Local Government Ministry has always been responsible for public health under the Public Health Ordinance 1960 and the Local Government Ordinance 1961. The ministry has the power to enforce rules and fine offenders who flout the law in relation to containing the spread of infectious diseases.

“There is no need for so-called ‘health minister’ pretending to be a federal health minister. A so-called ‘Sabah Minister of Health’ with no clinic, no hospital, no doctor or any medical personnel under his ministry.

“The recent appointment of Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun as the state government’s official spokesperson on Covid-19 is fitting since Masidi heads the Ministry of Local Government and Housing,” he said.

He also said that the recently set up Covid-19 Disaster Management Committee which has been in operation since October 1 already encapsulates the federal department of medical services and other public health agencies.

The public and opposition members have been calling for a State Health Minister to be reinstated after recent Cabinet announcements made it clear there would be none.

Following the last election (GE14), the State Warisan government had created three new ministries including the State Health and Public Well Being ministry, ostensibly in preparation for more autonomy in that area.

After the recent state election, chief minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor had not appointed a specific person for that ministry, which led to criticism following the wave of Covid-19 and other health crises that has hit the state.

SAPP is a component party under Perikatan Nasional but has no elected representatives. Yong is the sole Chinese representative for the GRS government in the state assembly but it is believed he has yet to take his oath as a nominated assemblyman.

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