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Sultan to MoH: There’s still room for improvement

His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam said it is the monarch’s aspirations to continue the free provision of medical and healthcare services to the people despite the challenging economic situation, as maintaining life in accordance with Maqasid Syariah (Objective of Islamic Law) will, Insya Allah, has to be prioritised.

His Majesty said this during an unscheduled visit to the Ministry of Health (MoH) yesterday, where the monarch said the MoH, with assistance from other ministries and government agencies, proved capable of tackling COVID-19, thus the nation was less impacted by the pandemic.

“The healthcare system however still has room for improvement. As such, the government has allocated a huge budget to upgrade and maintain hospitals and centres, construct new health centres and obtain new medical equipment in place of the old ones.

“In an effort to enhance healthcare services in the country and provide more job opportunities for locals, I have consented for 996 posts to be established by the MoH, in stages, until 2027. I wish to remind all parties, especially the management at the MoH, to exhibit honesty and trustworthiness.

“Every expense must be managed prudently, carefully and free from fraud, criminal breach of trust and corruption. There should not be short-cut practices in the management when it comes to the welfare and well-being of the people.”

While upgrading works are being carried out, His Majesty said, “I wish to remind the MoH not to ignore the grievances of the public such as long wait time to seek emergency treatment, and months-long wait for follow-ups.”

ABOVE & BELOW: His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam delivers a titah; and during the visit to the Ministry of Health. PHOTO: RAFI ROSLI
PHOTO: RAFI ROSLI
ABOVE & BELOW: Photos show His Majesty during the unscheduled visit to Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha (RIPAS) Hospital. PHOTO: RAFI ROSLI
PHOTO: RAFI ROSLI
PHOTO: RAFI ROSLI
PHOTO: RAFI ROSLI
PHOTO: RAFI ROSLI

His Majesty also noted other grievances such as patients being told of the unavailability of a medicine after hours of waiting at the dispenser.

His Majesty also touched on limited parking space at Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha (RIPAS) Hospital, confusing information provided at health centres, such as changes to the services available, and turning away patients, that are not in the catchment area.

The monarch continued, “I was told hospitals and clinics warning patients against violence only to treat patients in a rude and abusive manner, including senior citizens and women who have just given birth.”

These matters, the monarch said, ”should not be taken lightly as we aspire to become a Zikir nation that practices Malay Islamic Monarchy (MIB). His Majesty also said, “I don’t wish to hear about patients being neglected and worse, receive treatment vastly different from certain individuals.”

Regarding the welfare of the MoH, His Majesty emphasised the importance of addressing issues, such as work-life balance, overtime allowances and scheduling to limit undue burden.

The monarch also highlighted the culture of passing chainletters around as a means to channel grievances, which is subversive if it is used for the purpose of spreading false information with the aim of bringing down superiors they dislike. As such, His Majesty called for the information to be verified before taking action.

The monarch concluded the titah by extending appreciation for the efforts from the MoH in strengthening public health facilities.

“Some 70 per cent of the 120 specialist and consultant posts is occupied by locals. I hope the ministry continues to produce specialists among the locals,” His Majesty said. – Azlan Othman

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