Much attention has been focused on price increases of food and petrol but, unknown to many, is an amendment to a schedule of the law that regulates fees for private healthcare services.
The amended 13th Schedule of the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act 1998 was published in the federal gazette on Dec 16, 2013, providing for across-the-board increases in fees for medical consultation and procedures.
For example, the fee cap for first consultation with a general practitioner has been RM10 to RM35 – but the new amendment increases this to RM30 to RM125.
Likewise, for specialist doctors, the fee range for first consultation, which was between RM30 and RM125, has now increased to between RM80 and RM235.
Medical procedures also saw a price hike of between 14 percent and 18 percent.
The surgeon’s fee for a lumbar puncture has been revised from RM650 to RM745, repair of bladder from RM1,875 to RM2,145 and kidney transplant from RM4,150 to RM4,750.
If the procedures require an anaesthetist, the cost for such services has similarly been increased.
The price hike also includes dental services. For example, a non-surgical permanent removal of a tooth had a price range cap of RM40 to RM250 but it is now RM45 to RM285.
‘Parliamentarians in the dark’
When contacted, MPs who are medical doctors by training, said they were in the dark over the increase as the hikes were implemented in a hush manner.
“As MP, I am not aware of this and it was certainly not highlighted in the last round of sitting in Parliament,” PKR’s Wangsa Maju MP Dr Tan Kee Kwong said.
This can be explained by Section 106(2) of the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act, which grants the health minister the power to amend prices in the 13th Schedule by way of an order published in the gazette, after consulting the ministry’s director-general.
This means the procedure does not go through Parliament and MPs need not be consulted or informed.
Elaborating on the matter, Tan (left) said the price hike in medical services would further burden the rakyat, who have already faced a slew of price increases for various goods and services.
“As a former medical practitioner, I feel this drastic price increase is not warranted… the rakyat are already suffering from all kinds of price hikes,” he said.
Meanwhile, PSM’s Sungai Siput MP Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj said he too was not aware of the medical fee hikes but noted that doctors have complained that the old fee structure was outdated and for some time have been seeking an increase.
Jeyakumar said the large number of general practitioners means that consultation fees will not increase significantly, even though they are allowed to do so under the new 13th Schedule. This is because of stiff competition among them.
However, the same will not be true for medical procedures, which are more limited and subjected to less competition, he told Malaysiakini when contacted.
‘Gov’t owns 60 percent of private hospitals’
Jeyakumar (right) reiterated PSM’s stance that quality healthcare is the responsibility of the government and should not be left to private companies that dish out expensive bills.
“There can never be a good time to increase prices of healthcare services. The government is taking the wrong policy approach by relying on the private healthcare system.
“In fact, more than 60 percent of private hospitals, by bed numbers, are owned by the government through government-linked companies such as Sime Darby, Petronas, KPJ (Kumpulan Perubatan Johor) and Pantai Holdings Berhad.
“This is a major problem we are facing in the country. There is serious conflict of interest on the part of the government,” he said.
Jeyakumar said the government should halt the expansion of the private healthcare system and focus on providing quality and affordable public healthcare.
This, Muhyiddin said, included the possibility of an increase in water tariff.
The federal government, which last week signed the memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Selangor, would focus solely on the construction of the Langat 2 water treatment plant, he added.
“The state water affairs, under the MOU, still belong to the state, so it will have to deal with the rest of the issues (arising from the MOU).
“I don’t know (about water tariff). From what has been agreed upon, we are concentrating on the Langat 2 project,” he said, adding that the water treatment plant project needed to “come first”.
Although details of the MOU have not been disclosed to the public, PKR director of strategy Rafizi Ramli earlier today warned that it could lead to a rise in water tariffs in the state.
Muhyiddin said the immediate focus would be on preparing the land needed for the water treatment plant and also to oversee the handing out of contracts to contractors for the plant.
“Our immediate priority is to ensure there is a steady supply of water for the state at all times,” he told a press conference in Kajang today.
Selangor Menteri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim had in the past vehemently opposed the Langat 2 project, and the state government did not issue a work permit for the construction work to be carried out, thus halting the project in 2012.
This was later used as a concession in the water restructuring deal, where the federal government in return would allow the state to takeover all four water concessionaires in Selangor after the state agreed to allow the Langat 2 plant to proceed.
There have been criticism that the deal, made under the MOU, would not be observed by the federal government, while Rafizi also said earlier today that the deal seemed to only be legally-binding over the Langat 2 project.
The DAP has warned that the infighting in Pakatan Rakyat may cost the coalition victory in the upcoming Kajang by-election.
Its advisor Lim Kit Siang (pic) said it is imperative that the three Pakatan Rakyat parties of PKR, PAS and DAP take immediate measures to close ranks.
“We must put aside our differences, ensure that we do not shoot ourselves in the foot and deny our children and children’s children the one chance in more than half-a-century for political change in Putrajaya,” Lim said in a statement today.
Lim warned that in the by-election, Pakatan could only suffer defeat and setbacks through its own making.
“At stake in the Kajang by-election is not just Anwar’s personal political future, but the future of Pakatan Rakyat, three million Selangorians and 30 million Malaysians,” he warned.
“We must never forget what Abraham Lincoln said: A house divided against itself cannot stand,” he said.
Lim’s warning comes as PKR continued to snipe at Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim over the water MoU he had signed with Putrajaya.
Selangor PAS had also complained publicly about Anwar’s purported plan to take over the Selangor government should he win the by-election.
Adding to the uncertainty is Khalid’s repeated insistence that there was not going to be a change to the state leadership, and talk that the Menteri Besar was planning to mount a challenge for the PKR deputy president’s post.
Lim said against this scenario it was likely that the pact could be defeated at the ballot.
He said Anwar’s real enemies in the Kajang by-election were not the independent candidates, MCA or even UMNO, but PR/PKR internal feuds and in-fighting.
“Let us face up to the harsh reality that a defeat in the Kajang by-election – in failing to achieve a resounding and historic victory – cannot be ruled out,” the Gelang Patah MP said.
Lim said the Kajang by-election promises to be the “by-election of the century” in Malaysia, deciding not only on who will be the elected representative of the Selangor state assembly seat of Kajang, the political leadership in Selangor, but most important of all, the political configuration of the federal centre of power in Putrajaya in the immediate future.
“All the three Pakatan Rakyat parties of PKR, PAS and DAP must be fully united and inspired by the common goal of creating a new Malaysia where all her citizenry, regardless of race, religion or region, are united with one common vision for an united, harmonious, free, democratic, just, competitive, progressive and prosperous Malaysia.”
Lim said for this reason, the three Pakatan Rakyat parties must not only ensure Anwar wins in the Kajang by-election on March 23, but wins with a resounding and thunderous majority which will immediately send out a message to all nooks and corners of Malaysia that Putrajaya awaits change in the 14th general election.
“Just a simple victory in Kajang is a defeat,” he said.
The Kajang seat fell vacant after its incumbent, Lee Chin Cheh from PKR, resigned on January 27.
The EC has fixed March 11 for nomination and polling on March 23.
Barisan Nasional has named MCA vice-president Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun as its candidate, while PKR has announced that it will be fielding its adviser, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who is also Opposition Leader.
The state seat comprises 38,965 registered voters. At the last general election in May, 2013, the seat saw a voter turnout of 87.9% with 541 spoilt votes. It has 48% Malay voters, Chinese 41%, Indian 10% and others 1%.
In the 2013 general election, PKR’s Lee garnered 19,571 votes followed by Lee Ban Seng (Barisan Nasional-MCA) with 12,747 votes and Mohamad Ismail (Berjasa) 1,014 votes. The three independent candidates who contested the seat were Mohd Iwan Jefrey Abdul Majib (249 votes), Ong Yan Foo (85 votes) and Mohd Khalid Kassim (83 votes).
Lee won the seat with a comfortable 6,824 vote majority. Except for the MCA candidate, all other aspirants lost their deposits in the polls. — The Malaysian Insider, February 28, 2014.
Hafiz Yatim 2:27PM Feb 28, 2014 (MKini)
PAS central committee member Dzulkefly Ahmad has urged the Federal and Selangor governments to reveal the terms of the water memorandum to conclude whether it was the best resolution achieved.
Describing the signing of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Selangor Menteri besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim and the federal government led by Energy, Water and Green Technology Minister Maximus Ongkili, as a shock, he said that what is needed is transparency in the matter.
“I was made to know the negotiations failed initially on Monday. However, on Tuesday, the officers were required to attend the signing of the MOU,” he said.
“I then urged that the Selangor and Federal government reveal the details of the deal to the Selangor exco and Pakatan Rakyat leaders in the interests of transparency,” he said.
Dzulkefly who is also former Kuala Selangor MP said the settlement of the water deal has been a long awaited one.
However, he said the hurried manner in which it was concluded raises questions.
Earlier, PKR de-facto leader Anwar Ibrahim (right) who is also Selangor economic advisor had claimed to be in the dark over the deal.
It was reported on Tuesday that with the MOU, Selangor has agreed to the takeover of all four water companies, which will receive compensation of RM9.65 billion while Putrajaya will inject RM2 billion into the deal to help the state acquire the shares of the companies.
Tawaran Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary untuk membawa Padiberas Nasional Berhad (Bernas) keluar daripada Bursa Malaysia atau “penyahsenaraian” dibuat untuk kali kedua pada 4 Februari lalu. Cubaan pertama dibuat tokoh korporat ini pada bulan Mac 2013.
Peguam Ilustrasi Hikmat, syarikat pemegang saham minoriti yang menyaman Syed Mokhtar, Bernas dan Tradewinds (M) Berhad, mendakwa wujud bukti dalam terma-terma penswastaan serta perjanjian antara kerajaan dan pemilik Bernas asal yang tidak mengizinkan Bernas dimiliki oleh “satu” individu.
Peguam Ilustrasi Hikmat membuat rayuan ke Mahkamah Rayuan setelah kalah di Mahkamah Tinggi, Kuala Lumpur pada 27 November, 2013. Ekoran itu, syarikat ini mendapat penangguhan perbicaraan atau “stay of proceeding” atas perbicaraan rayuan mereka Disember lalu.
Mereka juga memohon untuk memberikan bukti-bukti baru dalam rayuan dan Mahkamah Rayuan menetapkan 30 April depan bagi mendengar pengurusan kes atau “case management”.
Ini pastinya akan mengendalakan Bernas untuk dibawa keluar daripada bursa. Andainya kemenangan berpihak kepada Ilustrasi Hikmat, ini akan menggagalkan sama sekali harapan Syed Mokhtar untuk menjadikan Bernas miliknya. Perhatian para penganalisis rata-rata menumpu kes membabitkan usaha tokoh korporat ini menambah penguasaan empayarnya.
Dalam waktu keghairahan usaha ini wujud satu kepelikan. Setelah gagal meyakinkan pemegang saham menjual saham mereka pada harga RM3.70 seunit Mac lalu, mengapa tokoh koroporat ini masih menawarkan harga yang sama pada cubaan kedua?
- Feb 27, 2014
Menurut Ahli jawatankuasa PAS Pusat, Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, oleh kerana MoU berhubung penstrukturan semula industri air Selangor itu berlaku agak mengejut, adalah menjadi kewajipan kepada Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim menghuraikan beberapa persoalan yang timbul daripada langkah tersebut.
MoU yang ditandatangani Abdul Khalid dan Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili itu turut disaksi Perdana Menteri dan Timbalan Perdana Menteri bertujuan memuktamadkan penstrukturan semula industri air di Selangor dan Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur dan Putrajaya.
Dr Dzulkefly menambah, penyelesaian terhadap isu air di Selangor yang berlarutan sejak 2009 memang ditunggu rakyat namun kerajaan negeri khususnya Menteri Besar perlu menjelaskan beberapa persoalan yang timbul.
Siasatan selama enam bulan yang dijalankan terhadap 60 pegawai polis yang disyaki terlibat dalam rasuah dan menggelapkan wang membongkar sesuatu yang mengejutkan – seorang pegawai kanannya mempunyai RM20 juta dalam beberapa akaun banknya, kata seorang pegawai kanan Suruhanjaya Pencegahan Rasuah Malaysia (SPRM).
Dengan syarat namanya tidak disiarkan, pegawai itu memberitahu The Malaysian Insider bahawa pegawai kanan tersebut tidak dapat menjawab dari mana datangnya wang dalam banknya itu.
“Siasatan masih dijalankan. Akan ada lagi beberapa pendedahan dalam minggu-minggu akan datang,” kata sumber itu.
Sumber juga berkata, tidak mustahil ada ramai lagi pegawai polis yang mengumpul harta boleh pindah atau tidak boleh pindah yang bernilai jutaan ringgit.
“Penyiasat juga terkejut dengan jumlah wang yang ada pada pegawai kanan ini, tetapi kami percaya banyak lagi yang akan kami temui,” katanya.
Semua 60 pegawai polis itu, angka paling besar yang pernah disiasat SPRM serentak, kebanyakannya pegawai kanan yang bertugas di seluruh negara.
The Malaysian Insider difahamkan bahawa pasukan yang merangkumi pegawai kanan daripada SPRM, Bank Negara, Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri, Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara, Jabatan Imigresen, Jabatan Kastam, Suruhanjaya Sekuriti dan polis telibat dalam penyiasatan ini.
Pasukan ini diketuai oleh Peguam Negara, Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail. Disebabkan masalah teknikal yang muncul baru-baru ini, pasukan penyisatan ini dibesarkan.
Sumber berkata, pasukan tersebut akan bertanggungjawab terus kepada Gani yang mengetuai siasatan bagi memastikan bukti sahih dapat dikumpul untuk menjamin pendakwaan yang kukuh dalam mahkamah.
Pada 25 Januari lalu, The Malaysian Insider melaporkan seorang pegawai kanan polis, salah seorang daripada 60 pegawai yang di bawah penyiasatan, merupakan antara polis yang menjadi orang tengah dengan SPRM untuk membantu mengenalpasti polis yang korup dengan janji diberi imuniti.
Dilaporkan pegawai polis kanan itu bersetuju untuk menamakan beberapa lagi pegawai kanan polis untuk menjaga kepentingan dirinya.
“Siasatan sudah berjalan untuk beberapa bulan, dan penyiasat mendapati kira-kira 30 pegawai polis sedang hidup lebih daripada kemampuan mereka.
“Ramai daripada pegawai kanan ini ditugaskan di serata negara, dan dijumpai dengan paling kurang RM1 juta atau lebih dalam akaun bank masing-masing.
“Pegawai ini tidak cuba pun untuk menyembunyikan kekayaan mereka,” kata pegawai itu.
Dalam laporan awal, The Malaysian Insider melaporkan aduan daripada seorang pegawai polis yang tidak berpuas hati kepada SPRM yang memulakan siasatan mengakibatkan 60 pegawai polis disyaki.
Pegawai ini didakwa mengumpul rasuah daripada pengendali perniagaan haram di ibu negara. Perniagaan ini termasuk kafe siber haram dan rumah urut serta sarang pelacuran.
Bergantung kepada jenis perniagaan, setiap pengendali membayar antara RM10,000 hingga RM50,000 sebulan kepada polis untuk mengelak diserbu dan diganggu.
Oleh kerana siasatan SPRM ini, seorang pegawai bergelar ‘Datuk’ dipindahkan ke sekretariat polis di Bukit Aman.
SPRM menjumpai RM6 juta dalam akaun bank ‘Datuk’ yang disoal oleh SPRM itu.
Bagaimanapun, pegawai SPRM itu memberitahu The Malaysian Insider bahawa RM6 juta itu hanyalah permulaan sahaja.
Sementara siasatan semakin giat dijalankan, SPRM juga merampas kereta mewah seperti Range Rover Evoque (bernilai RM400,000), Nissan Skyline (RM388,000) Toyota Vellfire (RM450,000), BMW 7-siri (RM800,000) dan Mercedes Benz E-class (RM400,000) daripada suspek.
Selain daripada hartanah dan kereta mewah, polis juga merampas sejumlah wang yang banyak, barang kemas dan emas daripada beberapa anggota polis itu. – 23 Februari, 2014.