Since 2009, University Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) has been fighting to get its own hospital. Yet even after producing at least a thousand medical graduates, this remains a dream. The university has long been proposing a research and teaching hospital to complement the university for students enrolled in health sciences.

The plan was recently revisited during the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement between Unimas and Kenyalang Medical Foundation for scholarship grants to medical students.

Vice chancellor Professor Datuk Dr Mohd Kadim Suaidi expressed hopes the project will begin construction soon. He said they have been looking at options on how to put up the teaching hospital.

In fact, the university has already earmarked an area near the campus’ main entrance as the hospital site.

A teaching hospital would be used for both research and practice to better serve the healthcare needs of the people, while serving as “classroom” for aspiring physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals.

One benefit of a teaching hospital is being able to develop local training specialists from Sarawak while expanding post-graduate programmes.

KMF chairman Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian has expressed support for the proposed hospital construction and suggested that the university work with the Health Ministry to help plan for the future healthcare needs of the people.

Apart from the proposed hospital, both institutions, Unimas and KMF, are also looking at other ways to further improve healthcare education. The MoA signed by both parties would pave the way for an allocation of RM50,000 for the next five years to fund scholarships of students from Unimas’ medical and health sciences.

The foundation also announced a new award category where a student who excels in arts, sports, and community service, along with academic performance will get a “Most Outstanding Medical Student Award.” The foundation has given out over 70 excellence awards ever since 2005. MIMS