Malaysia's armed forces to build six more field hospitals amid Covid-19 surge

KUALA LUMPUR – The Malaysian armed forces (MAF) will build six more field hospitals to add to the three similar facilities built earlier in the battle against the Covid-19 coronavirus.

Senior Minister for Security Ismail Sabri Yaakob said on Thursday (June 3) that funds from a RM1 billion (S$320 million) supplementary budget will be used to raise these hospitals and strengthen public healthcare, Bernama news agency reported. He did not say where these would be built.

The three MAF field hospitals in operation are in Tawau in Sabah state, Kapit in Sarawak and Kepala Batas in Penang.

“The allocation will be used to boost manpower like doctors, paramedics, health equipment and others. That means we will have eight field hospitals (including two announced earlier) with this new allocation,” he told a news conference on Thursday after attending an event to launch the building of an MAF Covid-19 modular hospital in Kuala Lumpur.

“What is being done by MAF can help the government address the Covid-19 pandemic, including the issue of (administering) vaccines,” he was quoted as saying by Bernama.

Malaysia is facing a resurgent third wave of Covid-19, hitting a record 9,020 cases in a day last Saturday and record daily deaths of 126 people on Wednesday.

Malaysia on Thursday logged 8,209 new cases of Covid-19 and 103 deaths.

The RM1 billion allocation under the Supplementary Strategic Programme to Empower the People and Economy, or Pemerkasa Plus, includes RM450 million to increase bed capacity and equipment for intensive care units for Covid-19 treatment in public hospitals, the teaching hospitals of public universities as well as MAF field hospitals.

The remaining RM550 million allocation will be used for the increase in operation and management costs to handle the health crisis, the news agency said, including buying medicines, acquiring reagents for screening tests and hiring officers on contract.

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