GEORGE TOWN, Sept 8 — DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng has called on the federal government to pour resources and manpower into the Penang General Hospital (GH) to protect its staff and patients.
The Bagan MP also said the state government, especially the health state exco Norlela Ariffin, can no longer “blindly follow the wishes of the federal government” at the expense of the lives of Penangites.
“Penangites want to see a concerted effort by the state government to make up for the defects, failures and weaknesses of the federal government,” he said.
He told the state that it should no longer trust the false promises by the federal government.
“I wish to remind state government leaders who defend the policy of blindly following the failed federal government, that such inaction is a gross disservice to the lives and livelihoods of the people of Penang that we have committed to protect,” he said.
The Air Putih assemblyman was responding to a Malay Mail report quoting a surgeon that the Penang GH is at a breaking point where the staff and non-Covid-19 patients are placed at risk.
Lim said Penang has the highest daily Covid-19 infections per capita among all states in the country with 2,474 cases today.
“Unlike those leaders adopting an ostrich in the sand approach, Penang is not doing well either in containing the surge of Covid-19 cases or treating Covid-19 patients,” he said.
He said the lack of space for a hybrid hospital like Penang GH meant that physical distancing cannot be maintained which resulted in a surge of Covid-19 infections among staff.
“What is tragic is that non-Covid patients coming for surgery in the Penang GH end up getting Covid-19, some even die from Covid-19,” he said.
He also said there was a lack of response from Covid-19 Assessment Centres especially when Covid-19 patients called to seek assistance or ambulances.
“The basic complaint is that there is no one answering the telephone hotlines, or delivering on their request for ambulances or promises for help,” he said.
He added that this meant that some just die while waiting.
“Can the state government not send in our own personnel to assist by at least manning telephone lines or provide ambulances?” he asked.
He called on Norlela to revamp the whole passive approach to a more direct and proactive initiative that can make a difference to save lives.