Materia Medica Malaysiana

September 20, 2007

Cabinet postpones eKesihatan scheme

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:25 am

NST: KUALA LUMPUR: The cabinet has stepped in to postpone the controversial eKesihatan scheme.
The programme of mandatory medical check-ups for all commercial vehicle drivers was slated to be implemented on Oct 1.
Road Transport Department director-general Datuk Ahmad Mustapha Abdul Rashid said he received the directive from the Transport Ministry yesterday but he did not know the reason for the postponement.
“I was only told that the implementation of the system has been postponed to a date which the government will decide later.”
Under the eKesihatan system, all commercial vehicle drivers have to undergo a comprehensive medical check-up, including urine tests, at appointed panel clinics. It was announced last Saturday by Transport Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy.
Several parties – including taxi drivers, the Selangor and Kuala Lumpur Lorry Operators Association and the Malaysian Medical Council – have strongly objected to the programme.
They were not convinced by the claims of Supremme Systems Sdn Bhd, the company contracted to run the system and appoint the panel clinics, that it would benefit commercial drivers.
Supremme Systems executive director Datuk Nordin Yahaya also failed to address why there was a need for a middleman to run the system and the high price of the check-ups, which at RM80 a time would burden the drivers, many of whom have low, unsteady incomes.
Even if they opted to go to a government clinic where they can get a medical examination for RM1, they would still have to pay the full fee.
“Government clinics will have to go through us as we will keep the database.
“It is in our contract with the RTD that we are the main gatekeeper for medical tests for commercial drivers,” he said.
He claimed that RM80 was a reasonable fee and that his company would only make RM10 off each driver.
But it was pointed out that the sums don’t quite add up.
The panel clinics will charge between RM35 and RM45 per driver, while between RM25 and RM30 will be paid to the laboratories for urine and other tests.
He also denied newspaper reports that the company stands to make profits of RM400 million over 15 years. He said the estimated gross profit was more like RM5 million.
The scheme was introduced after a spate of fatal bus crashes blamed on the drivers.
At least one million taxi, stage bus and express bus drivers will be affected by the scheme.

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