Materia Medica Malaysiana

February 26, 2004


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 8:05 pm

Chua disputes claims of red tape in aid distribution untrue

UTUSAN Malaysia and Health Minister Datuk Chua Jui Meng have been engaged in a battle of words in the past few days over the distribution of financial aid to chronic patients.

It began with the paper carrying Chua’s statement denying that bureaucracy was causing problems in the distribution of aid from the RM5.4mil National Health Welfare Fund and the RM100mil Special Chronic Diseases Fund.

The paper then carried a report the following day disputing Chua’s statement, quoting parents of patients with liver diseases who had encountered many problems in applying for the aid.

It said Abdul Halim Othman, 37, whose 15-month-old son Aliff Hambali suffers from the disease, had to make follow-up calls almost daily for nearly a month to the ministry to check the status of his application.

Abdul Halim had said that the secretariat would always tell him that his application was incomplete before finally telling him that he was not eligible for the fund since he was a civil servant.

It also said that Mohd Ezani Yaacob, whose daughter Nurnesa Uzma suffers from a critical liver disease, faced problems in submitting his application since the doctors and staff of the Kuala Terengganu hospital did not know the procedure of applying for the aid.

The paper said that despite Mohd Ezani having submitted the forms personally and having been given an acknowledgement slip, the secretariat told Mohd Ezani on Jan 19 that they had not received his application.

In a Bernama report carried by the paper yesterday, Chua said that his statement was misconstrued.

“Utusan Malaysia has an agenda because it keeps raising untrue reports like this. This is not responsible journalism,” the report quoted Chua as saying.

Chua said it was the paper and not the patients’ parents who criticised the Health Minister, adding that in his meeting with the paper in Muar, he did not comment on alleged problems caused by red tape in the aid distribution to chronic patients at all.

He also said that the paper did not give a true picture of the situation to the public and portrayed the ministry as cold towards the plight of the public.

“The ministry takes care of 50 million patients each year at its hospitals and clinics while charging the lowest cost in the world and giving high quality professional service,” said Chua.

He, however, admitted that there was a delay in Nurnesa Uzma’s case and it was being investigated.

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