PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) today said the emergency should not be used as an excuse to bully the private healthcare system in order to access its resources.
This comes in response to senior minister for security Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s statement yesterday that private hospitals which refuse to take in Category 1 or Category 2 Covid-19 patients could be fined up to RM5 million and that their management could even face jail time.
He said that they had not yet considered this option, but that it could be enforced during the state of emergency.
In a statement, MMA president Dr Subramaniam Muniandy said the group viewed these statements with “deep concern” and said the emergency could be best used to facilitate collaboration and cut red tape to speed up implementation.
“The emergency ordinance should be used responsibly and not to bully or arm-twist the private healthcare sector in order to use its resources.
“Threats and bullying are not the way to go and it will most certainly not gain the respect of the people.
“The government should instead go back to the drawing board and, for once and for all, for the sake of our beloved country and the rakyat, truly implement a ‘whole of society’ and ‘whole of government’ approach.”
He said the private sector had offered its help throughout the pandemic and welcomed collaboration with the government.
“The government should provide clear guidelines and direction in policies for the private healthcare sector instead of threatening to fine private hospitals which do not cooperate in managing the pandemic.
“They should stop playing big brother after not being able to contain the pandemic and should instead start listening to the feedback from the ground and regard private healthcare as its key partner.”
Subramaniam urged the government to make the effort to better understand the private healthcare ecosystem before making policy decisions to avoid issues arising during implementation and wasting resources.- FMT