Malaysian Health Official Refutes Claims Of Unprofessional Hospital Conduct, But Malaysian Netizens Say Otherwise
News of Singaporean Justinian Tan’s accident leading to his death sparked huge controversy after his friends complained about the “appalling” behaviour displayed by Sultanah Aminah Hospital (HSA), which caused a rift and divided Malaysians and Singaporeans on the issue.
The situation had escalated to the point that Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, Malaysia’s Director-General of Health had to issue a press statement on the matter.
Since the recent development, hundreds of netizens have chimed in on the comments section of our original article posted on 31 Aug, accounting their experiences with Malaysia’s healthcare system.
Update: We've since made changes to our original article to reflect more accurate reporting, after statements from Malaysia's Ministry Of Health. https://mustsharenews.com/malaysia-hospital-pay-first/
We here at MustShareNews have gathered several comments made in our Facebook post thread as well as online to find out the Malaysians’ point of view regarding the matter.
Against Ministry of Health’s SOP to request payment first
University Malaya Medical’s House Officer Syamsuddin Bin Faruok outright denies that the HSA could’ve requested for payment before proceeding with medical treatment.
Citing their Standard Operation Procedures (SOP), which was highlighted by Datuk Dr Noor Hisham as well, he states that all patients in critical condition are treated immediately without any deposit payment.
Sobaneshwary Jaganathan, a house officer at Hospital Tuanku Ampuan Najihah, agrees with the above statement.
However, this netizen claims that his friends from Malaysia have confirmed the treatment received as originally reported to be true. He adds on that as a result, they have a preference to private hospitals instead.
Mr Phua backs up this statement by recounting a similar incident which occurred to his Malaysian cousin staying in Johor Bahru, where a hospital staff insisted on receiving payment prior.
Likewise, Kanchana Munusamy expresses that such treatment is common even for the locals.
In spite of this, Mr Syamsuddin insists that such a practice does not exist within Malaysia.
Ms Khairul Annisah Ibrahim, who claims to be a doctor working in the emergency department, reveals that requesting payment from foreigners before providing treatment is simply part of the law.
Could what she said have been true?
Analyzing the SOP
Let’s take a look at the SOP provided by Datuk Dr Noor Hisham in his press statement.
Looking at point 3, it appears to state that “Foreign patients are required to pay a deposit to be admitted, except for foreign workers who are covered by the Health Insurance Scheme Foreign Workers (SPIKPA)”.
However it continues that “foreign patients are not denied treatment in the event of emergency cases without a deposit or treatment charges”.
Was the statement damage control?
When presented with Datuk Dr Noor Hisham’s comments, Mr Gary Goh accuses it of simply being “damage control” by questioning the legitimacy of Malaysia’s government.
However, Amirul Amzar, a graduate of Universiti Malaya in Medical Bachelor and Bachelor of Surgery explains that the Director-General’s statements are based on documentations and records, which can even be used as evidence in court.
Despite this, Mr Howard Lin makes reference to corruption in Malaysia and suggests that the comments could perhaps be simply a cover-up.
Ambulance service taking their time
On the other hand, Mr Siddiq Rafee was unsurprised by HSA’s slow response despite Dr Hisham’s claims that it took only 13 minutes instead, while also believing that the SOP was followed to avoid legal trouble for themselves.
Ms Shu Qi, however, asserts that Malaysian healthcare employees do not possess a sense of urgency and choose to “take their time” instead.
“Better” employees in Johor scooped up by Singapore
Ms Serene Lee suggests that the quality of treatment from HSA could be due to the “better” employees heading to Singapore for work instead.
Ms Cynthia Jezz backs up her claim by recounting her negative experience at HSA.
Controversy due to language barrier?
Joshua De Rozario, the friend of the deceased who originally spoke to the media, has since backtracked on his comments.
Perhaps the statements made then was due to his emotional state as he had just witnessed his friend pass away.
Could the hullabaloo have started because of the language barriers between Joshua and the medical personnel? It is impossible for sure to say, perhaps all we can do now is wait for the results of the investigation.