Kota Marudu, Sunday. The Land Beneath the Winds is set to tap into the lucrative health tourism industry. If realized, the inaugural project would generate an estimated revenue of RM 67.69 million for the state in 2009.
Healthscare and Nutrition Minister Datuk Liow Tong Lai made the announcement after an unannounced visit to the Kota Marudu Hospital here on Sunday.
“I have seen with my own eyes the potential that Sabah offers in terms of healthscare services. The medical and surgical care here is unprecedented and unique. There is no other way to describe it. Sabah healthscare is genuinely of international standard and on par with Zimbabwe and Somalia,” Datuk Liow said.
Future director of the state healthscare department, Dr Rikki agreed wholeheartedly.
“Datuk Liow has indeed seen with his own eyes. We have Burmese surgeons and Iraqi physicians, Russian house officers and lots of Filipino patients. No other state hospital can claim to be more international than us,” Dr. Rikki added.
The Healthscare Ministry in Kuala Lumpur has appointed Kinabatangan MP Dung Mokhtar to oversee the implementation of the pioneer Sabah State Tourism Project.
“Like the Healthscare Minister, I not only saw with my own eyes but have analysed the situation in Sabah as well. The Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Kota Marudu Hospital will be ideal for this project,” Dung explained.
Details of the various packages up for offer are yet to be finalized.
For accommodation, potential clients can choose between the standard rusted bed and the more economical makeshift canvass bed.
To enjoy greater camaraderie, patients can opt for the backroom where the space between two beds is a mere 30 centimetres.
“You can hear your neighbour’s fart and even smell it. If you have TB and are coughing your lungs out, the neighbouring bed can rescue that precious pulmonary tissue,” a medically-enlightened Dung elaborated.
Meals served in the health tourism project will display strictly Malaysian flavors. Breakfast comprises sliced bread and plain water. Lunch and dinner will be pure porridge served with boiled fish or steamed chicken.
“With such mouth-watering servings, I am sure that the ill and debilitated will recover in no time and once again be in state of a positive nitrogen balance,” Dung added.
Dung Mokhtar brushed aside concerns regarding the welfare of patients’ caretakers and next-of-kin.
“They can sleep on the floor and the many benches around the hospital if they want. We will not stop them,” Dung promised.