15th April 2018
MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS FOR THE PROPOSED CONSTRUCTION OF A MILITARY VETERANS’ HOSPITAL IN IPOH.
We wish to refer to the announcement made by Defence Minister Hishamuddin Hussein regarding the construction of a Military Veteran Hospital costing RM500 million at Camp Gua Permai, Ipoh, Perak. The announcement was reported by New Straits Times dated 3 February 2018.
There have been rumours speculating that the Military Veterans’ Hospital is to be constructed via a land swap that will end with the Malaysian Armed Forces losing Camp Gua Permai, and finally not owning the hospital. Patriot takes a serious view to the rumours surrounding this veterans’ hospital issue, and seeks answers from the caretaker Defence Minister and the Ministry of Defence to the following questions:
1. Is it true that the projected Military Veterans Hospital in Ipoh is to be constructed via a land swap?
2. If it is true, would this mean that 28,500 square meter of land at Camp Gua Permai upon which the hospital is to be built, would no longer be owned by the Armed Forces?
3. Is it true that the Defence Ministry will not bear the cost of construction? Rather the entire construction cost will be borne by a company that will eventually take ownership of the hospital when it is ready?
4. If it is true that the ownership of the hospital does not belong to the Armed Forces, but rather to the company that builds the hospital, how then could the hospital be designated a Military Veterans Hospital?
5. Is it true that the hospital will be turned into a private-owned hospital where a portion of the hospital is reserved for Armed Forces veterans? If this is true, who then manages and administers the portion reserved for Armed Forces veterans?
6. Is it true that the hospital will not bear or subsidies the cost of medical treatment for veterans?
7. Currently, Camp Gua Permai is home to a battalion of the Royal Malay Regiment. Where will the battalion be relocated? Will the battalion be relocated to a newly built camp or in a temporary camp?
The Defence Minister and the Armed Forces ought to be aware that there are also voices of discontent spreading among soldiers and their families who have been posted out to new camps that are not fully ready for occupation. Such a move is a disruption to their lives, especially for families that have school going children.
Patriot urges the caretaker Defence Minister and the Armed Forces to address the above issues as a matter of urgency because such rumours, if it is found to be true do not auger well for the Defence Ministry and the Armed Forces. Patriot also wishes to reiterate our suggestion in our statement made on 6 Feb 18, that with the RM 500 million funds available, it is better to have a veterans and retired police medical unit in every general hospital in our country. As veterans and retired police reside in various parts of the country, having decentralized medical units, rather than a centralised one in Ipoh, is the best way forward.
BG Dato Mohamed Arshad Raji (Rtd)
President, Persatuan Patriot Kebangsaan