Sabah’s overwhelmed Covid-19 test facilities need more than RM1.46m, says ex-deputy CM

A healthcare worker collects swab samples to test for Covid-19 at BP Healthcare in Klang October 27, 2020. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
A healthcare worker collects swab samples to test for Covid-19 at BP Healthcare in Klang October 27, 2020. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 26 — A Sabah Opposition MP has urged the government to do more for the state’s overwhelmed Covid-19 test facilities.

Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius, who is the Tuaran MP and former Sabah deputy chief minister, said the allocation of RM1.46 million is insufficient to meet the daily demands of the current sample testing traffic.

“The current testing capacity is only 2,000 a day, but on a daily basis, the labs receive 3,000 to 7,000 samples.

“The excess is sent to the peninsula and that requires a high cost to cover.

“To ensure that Sabah can do its own sample testing, the allocation has to be increased,” Wilfred said.

He interjected Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba during the latter’s winding-up speech on Budget 2021 in Parliament today.

Wilfred also claimed that the estimated cost of acquiring Covid-19 testing assets, for example, testing facilities, is about RM10 million.

“What are the steps being taken by the Health Ministry to test samples in Sabah so that there is no need to send the samples to the peninsula?

“It seems as though nothing is being done to remedy the situation. This has been going on since March.

“Why is there no specific allocation in the Budget for this?” he asked.

Dr Adham however said the Covid-19 situation is unprecedented but will be addressed in due course while insisting that allocations have been set aside.

The health minister had earlier said that his ministry is committed to improving medical facilities and has allocated RM1.46 million to upgrading the health lab in Kota Kinabalu, as well as modifying the molecular pathology lab in Tawau Hospital and molecular modular mobile lab in Lahad Datu.

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