By Joseph Tawie
KUCHING: Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak's proposal of a mobile boat clinic to service the rural areas in Sarawak is being viewed with scepticism.
Although the idea is laudable, Parti Rakyat Sarawak president James Masing is concerned about the sustainability of Najib's plan to set up a hybrid mobile boat clinic to cater to villages connected by rivers in Sabah and Sarawak.
“Such a clinic is a good idea as it will help provide health services to the rural people, but can it be sustained?” he asked.
Announcing the proposal last Tuesday, Najib said the mobile boat clinic would enable people to enjoy better health and receive medical check-ups, medicine and advice.
“I hope the announcement by the prime minister should not become a mere slogan, which will soon evaporate if it does not get proper manpower.
“Our greatest problem in the rural areas is not the setting up of such facilities but rather getting good manpower.
“Do we have the manpower to do it in the long run?” asked Masing, who is also the State Land Development Minister.
He said that in Baleh alone there are six tributaries, adding that Sarawak is known as the land of many rivers.
Meanwhile, Hulu Rajang MP Billy Abit Joo said that Najib's plan is “timely” as the people in the rural areas urgently needed medical attention.
“It is practical as most villages and longhouses can only be reached by boat.”
Currently, the medical needs of the Sarawak rural areas are being served by flying doctor services and rural clinics.