KUALA LUMPUR: The Cabinet plans to continue operating the Malaysian field hospital in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh until December 2021, an extension of another two years.

Deputy Defence Minister Senator Liew Chin Tong said although the size of operation remains at 50 beds, starting next year, the Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM) would work with the Ministry of Health and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in getting the services of medical practitioners.

“Our hospitals and the ATM health division are experiencing shortage of doctors, so we need help from the Ministry of Health to enable us to continue with our operations,“ he said, when responding to a supplementary question from Wong Hon Wai (PH-Bukit Bendera) on the size of the field hospital at Cox’s Bazaar and extension of humanitarian aid, during the question-and-answer session at the Dewan Rakyat today.

The Malaysian field hospital situated in a refugee camp in Ukhia, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh was established in Dec 2017 to meet healthcare needs of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya ethnic refugees fleeing southeast Bangladesh following conflict in western Myanmar.

Earlier, the government had planned to operate the hospital until December this year.

Liew said the hospital at Cox’s Bazar had served as a training ground for the Armed Forces in improving on its preparedness for humanitarian and health assistance.

“The Malaysian field hospital not only provides medical and health assistance to Rohingya refugees but also provides services to the locals,“ he said adding that to date 81,698 cases have been treated there. — Bernama