• Malay Mail

S'gor reps Wong Chen, Michelle Ng, question govt’s decision to axe RM45m USJ health clinic projec

By Yiswaree Palansamy (31 March 2022) KUALA LUMPUR, March 31 - Two Selangor lawmakers today questioned the government’s decision to cancel a health clinic project in USJ1, Subang Jaya with an original RM45 million budget, citing high cost after the project was valued at RM67.8 million instead. In separate statements today, Subang MP Wong Chen and Subang Jaya state assemblywoman Michelle Ng said that the project was already approved under the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) with an RM45 million allocation.

“I have received a written reply from the Minister of Health on the status of the Klinik Kesihatan USJ1. The minister, in his reply, stated that while the project was approved under the 12th Malaysian Plan, the project has since been cancelled by the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) on August 4, 2021. The EPU is under the Prime Minister’s Department. The reason given by the EPU is that the project cost is too high at RM67.8 million. The reply also noted that the original budget for the project under RMK-12 was RM45 million.

“The reasoning given by the EPU in cancelling the project is unacceptable. If the project was originally approved for RM45 million, then the EPU must continue the project on the original cost of RM45 million. The higher budget of RM67.8 million requested by the Ministry of Health (MoH), should not be an excuse to cancel the project completely,” Wong said. He also urged the MoH to explain why it requested for a higher budget than the original RM45 million, and why didn't the ministry insist on getting the project going as per the original RM45 million cost. “The excuse used to justify the cancellation of the project makes a complete mockery of the government budgetary process. It is also contradictory to the promises made by the prime minister under the 12MP, rendering the national MP masterplan a document of little importance and consequence,” he added.

Wong lamented that the inability of both the MoH and EPU to resolve the matter logically and to get the project going at the original RM45 million only displays a complete breakdown of communication and cooperation between the two ministries, adding that the clinic has been requested by the people of Subang for over a decade. “I want to remind the government that in the latest census of 2020, the total population of Subang parliamentary constituency stood at 478,000 people and there is not one single government hospital or health clinic within the constituency,” he said.

He also urged Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob to personally intervene and resolve the issue.

Ng also flagged the reasoning that the project is too costly as inappropriate and a “waste of the entire 12MP”.

She said there is no point in spending much time and financial resources on engagement sessions and meetings, only to have the government scrap the plan.

Ng added that such important decisions should not be made by the administrative arm alone. “10 per cent of the population of Subang Jaya consists of the urban poor. The municipality also has an aging population. By 2025, 10 per cent of Subang Jaya's population will be senior citizens. This number is expected to increase over time. With a population of 480,000, these groups comprise about 96,000 inhabitants. Therefore, it is clear from this figure that Subang Jaya is eligible to enjoy the facilities of the planned Type 3 Health Clinic, which is designed to serve a coverage area of over 30,000 to 50,000 people,” she added.

Ng said that the urban poor and the elderly in the area are in dire need of government medical facilities, given the financial status of their entire household, challenges in terms of mobility and health conditions which require more attention.

“Our health system is very overloaded. Therefore, more government medical facilities are urgently needed to provide quality health services. The nearest health clinics for Subang Jaya residents are Kelana Jaya Health Clinic and Batu 14 Puchong Health Clinic. Both of these Health Clinics are Type 3 Clinics designed to accommodate a maximum of 500 patients per day. However, both clinics now serve 1000 patients a day, which is twice the original maximum capacity,” she added.