An accusation that the Johor General Hospital had turned away a Sarawakian supposedly because she was “not Johorean” has sparked outrage amongst the 250,000 East Malaysians working in the southern Peninsular state.
Activist Wan Zain Syed Mokthar’s postings on Facebook regarding the disclosure of the incident involving a female student from Sibu has been nothing short of bitter.
Some Sarawakian netizens identified the action by the hospital as a sign that the authorities in Johor considered Sarawakians as ‘illegal immigrants’. Others blamed it on the weak education system and said that Malaysians “failed to know where Sarawak and Sabah are”.
“To deny a Sarawakian admission and treatment in any public hospital in Malaysia (is) tantamount to equating her to an illegal immigrant , an alien in her own country – a crying shame indeed,” commented Facebook user, Daniel Matthew.
On Sunday, January 12th 2014, Wan Zaid reportedly said that a female student named Norhaironiza Hasim, who was involved in an accident was sent to JGH for treatment but was denied admission by the hospital.
The activist said that the hospital had refused to admit the student “ because the victim was not a Johorean, although the patient needed medical attention due to a bone fracture impacted from the accident”.
She was eventually referred to Muar General Hospital, where she underwent an operation there, and she has since been transferred to Sibu Hospital for further treatment.
Despite the college confirming Norhaironiza’s status as one of their students from Sarawak, JGH still refused to receive her as a patient.
“It is weird that a Malaysian citizen was refused admission to receive medical treatment at a government hospital just because she originated from Sarawak,” Wan Zain said.
Founder of the Sarawak Sovereignty Movement (SSM), Morshidi Abdul Rahman added, “The treatment of Sabah and Sarawak people is one of a colonial mentality where they view us as still living on trees and backward. We cannot expect anything better.”
Meanwhile, Sarawakian netizens are deciding over what action they should take in relation to the matter. While some have suggested that protests should be held over the treatment towards Sarawakians living in Johor, others are talking about filing police reports.
The Johor General Hospital has not offered an official explanation to this matter.