KOTA KINABALU, Oct 12 — The call to appoint a state health minister for Sabah, like the one in the previous Warisan-led government, is unnecessary as it will only bring about duplication of duties, says Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president, Datuk Yong Teck Lee (pic).
He said the Sabah Local Government Ministry has always been responsible for public health under the Public Health Ordinance 1960 and the Local Government Ordinance 1961, hence it has the powers to enforce rules and fine offenders who flout the law in containing the spread of infectious diseases.
Yong said in a statement here today that the recent appointment of Sabah Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun as the state government’s official spokesperson on COVID-19 was fitting as he heads the ministry involved.
“There is no need for the so-called ‘state health minister’ like the Federal Health Minister responsible for medical services and hospitals et cetera. The so-called ‘Sabah Minister of Health’ has no clinics, no hospitals, no doctors or any medical personnel under the ministry,” he added.
On Oct 7, former state health and people’s well-being minister Frankie Poon, who is also Sabah DAP chairman, said the new Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) state government should immediately appoint a minister to take care of health-related matters due to the sharp increase in COVID-19 cases in Sabah.
Yong said a COVID-19 Disaster Management Committee had been set on Oct 1 and this committee chaired by Sabah State Secretary, Datuk Safar Untong also included the Federal Department of Medical Services and other public health agencies.