( Story & Photo from "The Nation")
The much-awaited sea ambulance has finally arrived in Langkawi. The sea ambulance is a ferry which has been equipped with the latest medical equipment. It also has a room for patients and a medical team to accompany them during the journey. Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said the ferry would be used to send patients to the mainland for treatment and for sea rescue.
The people in Langkawi had been asking for such an ambulance and now the Government has fulfilled its promise to get one.

Emergency ship: Liow, Ong and Dr Mahathir viewing the sickbay of the sea ambulance ‘Suhail’ at Perdana Quay in Langkawi yesterday. With them are (from left) the director-general of the marine Department Datuk Kapt. Ahmad Othman, Hospital Langkawi director Dr Selahudden Abdul Aziz and Langkawi MP Datuk Abu Bakar Taib.





“Patients from Langkawi previously were transferred using the normal ferry or a chartered ferry,” he told reporters after jointly launching the sea ambulance with Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat at Telaga Harbour Park here yesterday.

Liow said the ministry spent about RM500,000 last year to charter ferries to send patients with chronic illnesses to the mainland, adding that with this sea ambulance, the ministry was able to reduce costs and dependency on such ferries.

“In 2007/ 2008, 154 and 142 patients respectively were sent to mainland hospitals using these ferries.” During the same press conference, Ong said the sea ambulance in Langkawi was among seven approved under the Eighth and Ninth Malaysia Plan. “The other six sea ambulances were placed in Port Klang, Mersing, Pulau Tioman, Pulau Pangkor, Kuala Terengganu and Labuan. The ambulances cost RM56mil.”