Media Statement by Johore DAP Policy Director and Senai State Assemblyperson Wong Shu Qi on 24th March 2014 (Monday):
The interest of lower-middle class will be jeopardized further if government keeps investing in private medical industry while inadequate resources allocated for public hospitals.
It is good to know that the pre-taxed profit of Johor Corporation (JCorp) in 2013 has doubled and reached RM1.4 billion for the first time. However, the successful investment model might be at the expense of 60% Malaysian household in the long run.
We congratulate Datuk Kamaruzzaman Abu Kassim, the president and CEO of JCorp, on the achievements of last year.
However, the profit gained by the GLC is at the expense of the wellbeing of 60% Malaysian household who earn less than RM3,000 a month as the government-linked company is crowding out the resources that would have instead been spent in improving the public healthcare system.
It is known that KPJ, which is owned by government-linked conglomerate and branded as one of the Malaysian leading private healthcare providers, operates 24 hospitals and healthcare centres within Malaysia and 2 hospitals in Indonesia.
Firstly, it is not a right policy for the government to provide private healthcare while government is supposed to be fully in charge of public healthcare system. How can a government in one hand provide a deteriorating medical service to the masses while it operates a profit-oriented private healthcare business at the same time.
In the answer provided by Ministry of Health to the Parliament, 81.67% of Malaysian patients are using government hospitals and clinics while there are 67.56% doctors (including house officers) and nurses in Malaysia working in government hospitals. If we take out the number of house officers, what will be left is only 60% of doctors working in government hospital and around 40% doctors working in the private sector.
The disparity between demand and supply forces the middle-class households go for more expensive private medical centres although they might actually not be able to afford it.
Meanwhile, lower-middle income group has no choice but to stick with government healthcare system, which has fewer resources if compared to the government-owned but private hospitals.
While both the number of doctors and nurses working in government and private hospital are increasing dramatically in the last decade, there are only 18.33% patients treated by private hospitals in 2012.
The higher numbers for both in-patients and outpatients in government hospitals show that most Malaysian households are heavily reliant on public healthcare managed by the government.
Healthcare is an important welfare sector that all governments should be taking care of. The responsibility of the government is to provide quality healthcare and improve the wellbeing of its people. To allow government-linked companies to be involved in profit-oriented healthcare system does not just sound wrong, but it also proves that the Barisan Nasional has already misplaced their priority as a government.
A similar example is the deteriorating public transportation and our national automobile industry, which is also promoted by the government.
The interest of the lower-middle class will be jeopardized further if the government keeps investing in private medical industry while inadequate resources are allocated for public hospitals. We must alter this policy before it is too late and costing the lives of our people.
Wong Shu Qi