Repeal draconian private healthcare Act

Repeal draconian private healthcare Act

ZARIM KAMARUL’s letter in the Star Online_

I REFER to Dr John Teo’s letter, “Act unfair to doctors” (The Star, March 28).

The PHFSA (Private Healthcare and Facilities Act) was created in 1993 at the urging of consumer associations as they claimed they often handled complaints from the public on poor services provided by private hospitals and clinics.

But they were told that the Health Ministry’s hands were tied.

This is untrue.

The Medical Act 1971 is very clear, especially in trying to apprehend bogus doctors.

Doctors wanting to practise in Malaysia must have graduated from a recognised university, must have registration with the Malaysian Medical Council and must posses a valid Annual Practicing Certificate.

Anyone not complying is a fraudulent or unlicensed doctor and is liable for a fine or jail term of two years or more.

The Medical Act 1971 is in itself comprehensive.

But what was absent was enforcement.

One of the bizarre edicts of the new law was that it applied only to private doctors but not to government ones.

Among others, private practitioners will need to work in specified clinic conditions, pay a suspicious registration fee of RM1,500 and buy medical equipment they may never use.

The Act was passed in parliament despite the objections by MMA presidents.

The recent elections have shown that the Government must pay attention if unfair laws are proposed or are being promulgated.

This country must not exchange democracy for the rule of little Napoleans as the de facto method of governance in the civil service.

The PHFSA must be repealed.

ZARIM KAMARUL,
Shah Alam.

Act unfair to doctors

DR JOHN TEO’s letter in Star Online

AS our Prime Minister announced his new Cabinet and as the unprecedented general election results unfolded before our eyes, what was clear to all Malaysians, regardless of race, gender, religion and profession, was that our destiny and objectives are the same. That is: equality, fairness and the ability to share and prosper together as one race in this great nation of ours. 

One of the very important tasks ahead for the new Health Minister and the Cabinet to look at is the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act 1998 which came into force last year amid an outcry by private doctors throughout the country. 

With the usual government modus operandi of implementation of similar regulations like the introduction of Fomema to monitor foreign workers’ health and the proposed E-kesihatan to monitor transport workers’ health which was later scrapped, the stakeholders i.e. the private doctors and even patients do not play any major part in its formation.  

The threat of a RM300,000 fine for not registering is enough to send all private doctors scurrying for the registration forms. The concession was that the authorities will not use the Act without due care and disregard to the private practitioners and that its main objective is to weed out bogus doctors and unqualified practitioners. 

It is now necessary to ask why is a fully qualified doctor from a local university with a valid annual practising certificate that qualifies him to practise professionally in this country as in the case of Dr Basmullah Yusom languishing in jail because of the PFHSA?  

His only crime is of course failing to register his clinic as he is planning to move to another locality soon. 

I speak for myself, but I also believe that I speak for a big majority of private doctors in this country, that the PFHSA should be repealed. 

Most doctors, whether in government service or the private sector, have only one main objective in mind and that is only their patients’ welfare and health first and foremost. 

I am not suggesting that errant doctors or practices should not be regulated. But there are many Acts in place already to do that and the fact remains that the PFHSA has too many regulations that can be yielded and enforced in so many forms that many doctors are objecting too. 

In all fairness, the PFHSA should also be renamed and revamped as the Facilities and Health Services Act without the word “private” as I believe that the same high standards should be demanded for all health facilities and services, be it private or government, as all Malaysians are equal under the law in this great nation of ours. 

It is the fervent wish and hope of many doctors that this great injustice called the PFHSA is corrected swiftly and effectively by the new Cabinet in this dawn of a new era in Malaysian history. 

DR JOHN TEO,
Kota Kinabalu.
 

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