E-kesihatan – another parasitic rent-seeking monopoly?

The medical profession is up in arms against the latest e-Kesihatan scheme which was officially announced by the Road Transport Department (JPJ) deputy director-general Solah Mat Hassan yesterday, requiring drivers of commercial vehicles from next month to pass a medical test done at clinics appointed by an associate company of Fomema Sdn. Bhd, Supremme Systems Sdn Bhd.

Supremme Systems Sdn. Bhd has been awarded a monopoly to carry out such medical tests which would enable it to make profits in the region of hundreds of millions of ringgit in the 15-year monopoly awarded by the Transport Ministry.

This appears to be the latest example of a parasitic rent-seeking rip-off at the expense of the public as there is already a system in place to provide medical tests for commercial drivers involving medical practitioners with the JPJ directly, which can be further improved to deal with abuses or weaknesses instead of creating a new system which is more rent-seeking in nature than entrepreneurial.

I have received an email from an infuriated medical practitioner on the letter of registration sent by Supremme Systems Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Pantai Holding Sdn Bhd to primarycare doctors in the Klang Valley to pay RM100.00 as registration fee and requesting particulars of each clinic.

The letter states that to participate in the medical examination of Goods Drivers Licence (GDL) and Public Service Vehicle (PSC) licence renewal annually by commercial vehicle drivers, the private doctors must use their ICT. This letter demands reply and payment within 10 days.

The email continued:

“This company is a monopoly and has infringed on patients confidentiality and also on the security of this data.

“Currently, the annual renewal is done using a gateway which is linked to ekesihatan of JPJ. A user friendly gateway system was proposed to Ministry of Transport.This gateway which protects the Malaysian citizens of their confidentiality and the doctors Hippoctaes Oath of secrecy and only payment of Ringgit Two is traffic charge to transmit the medical certification with a encription code used by each doctor to JPJ via the gateway. There is a breach of medical confidentiality of patients medical records to third parties when Pantai Supremme becomes a third party to collect the data and there is a breach of the Malaysian citizens human right.

“The proposed system demands payment of RM80 at the post office by the driver. Pantai Supremme charges a service fee of RM 30 per driver, Laboratory test for urine cannibinoids, ATS and Oppiates RM20. Payment to doctors for medical examination RM 30.00 after 90 days.

“There are 1,200,000 commercial vehicle drivers and the active drivers are approximately 1,000,000 in number. Pantai Supremme will be entitled to siphon off RM28 million per year after deducting RM2 Ringgit per driver as their overhead cost expenses.

“We are perturbed about the status of the drivers vis a vis the laboratory report.The verification of these results and the poor standards of batch entry and quality control used by laboratories to conduct the urine for substance abuse test is questionable.The laboratories use this method to save cost. Is there a mechanism to rehabilitate these driver and how long will these drivers be suspended and what is the grievance mechanism?”

At present, commercial drivers have to pay RM50 for new applications and RM20 for renewals for medical tests, which will now go up RM80 for renewals under the Supremme Systems monopoly.

I understand that Koperasi Doktor Malaysia Bhd had submitted a comprehensive proposal to the ministry last year with two scales of fees, much lower than the Supremme Systems monopoly.

Instead of giving the Koperasi Doktor Malaysia Bhd proposal serious consideration, the Supremme Systems has come into the picture and been awarded a monopoly, which seems to be institutionalizing a system of rent-seeking middle-men system to add to the costs of doing business and making a living in the country.

I call for the suspension of JPJ’s 15-year e-Kesihatan monopoly concession to Supremme Systems Sdn. Bhd to conduct annual medical tests for commercial drivers to ensure that it is not the latest example of parasitic rent-seeking rip-off in the region of hundreds of millions of ringgit at public expense to the benefit of a handful of cronies of the present government system.

(Speech 3 on 2008 Budget in Dewan Rakyat on September 11, 2007)

  1. #1 by sotong on Tuesday, 11 September 2007 - 3:40 pm

    When the government is being used to raise revenue to enrich a few, it has totally lost its credibility and integrity to govern in the best interest of the country.

    A clear case of gross abuse of power and public office for personal or vested interests.

    Everyone wants to get into politics to make quick, big and easy money…….nobody wants to work very hard for 20 years to build a decent career or business.

    Decades of bad leadership and governance of the country had done enormous damage to the country and its effects are permanent, long term and far reaching….our country has lost its direction and purpose.

  2. #2 by madmix on Tuesday, 11 September 2007 - 4:46 pm

    This is the third instance for this: First was Fomema for foreign workers; second was the security hologram stickers for all medicines. What will they think of next. i can give some ideas:
    1. e-marriage. Couples must enroll in monopoly school of marraige and get certificate before they can get married.
    2. e-births. parents must get hologram sticker before applying for birth cert.
    3. hologram stickers for all manufactured foods.

  3. #3 by k1980 on Tuesday, 11 September 2007 - 5:06 pm

    By its own projections, Supremme Systems Sdn Bhd – the company awarded the concession by the Transport Ministry – will make RM92 million over 15 years. But those in the know argue that this figure is grossly under-estimated, claiming that RM400 million would be a more accurate number, based on 800,000 drivers. However, working on 1.2 million drivers – the company’s projection – the figure would cross the RM500 million mark.

    What makes this venture stink of another money-making scheme involving a chosen few, is that Supremme Systems will not conduct the tests. Instead, it will be carried out by a panel of doctors selected by the company, who will be paid less than half the proposed RM85 fee – RM30; with RM20 going for laboratory tests. The remainder – about RM35 – will go to the company.

    “They are getting paid for doing nothing. Any monitoring must be conducted by the RTD,” said one doctor, adding that fees can be kept low if such middlemen were eliminated. “It seems that the main agenda here is to make money and not to have more competent drivers on our roads,’’ said the doctor.

    Source: http://howsy.blogspot.com/

  4. #4 by Godfather on Tuesday, 11 September 2007 - 5:23 pm

    Another scheme concocted by the thieves of Bolehland.

  5. #5 by LittleBird on Tuesday, 11 September 2007 - 6:28 pm

    As I always mentioned before, any law that requires one to allow someone else to dictate who can conduct test on your body is wrong. Be it e-kesihatan or panel clinics. The choice of medical treatment or medical examiniation should always be the right of the patient.

  6. #6 by ktteokt on Tuesday, 11 September 2007 - 7:04 pm

    Just wait till they come up with “e-udara” where everyone has to pay to breathe!

  7. #7 by wtf2 on Tuesday, 11 September 2007 - 8:58 pm

    the core of these sort of hare brained problems is the person(s) coming up with these ideas. If you search long and deep enuff most of the dummies behind the scenes are probably mostly equipped with just SPM qualifications. That’s why all these get rich schemes come up.

    So the fix is certainly not easy – that is to kick the non-qualified dummies from making policies. How? Can’t figure out yet.

  8. #8 by unknowngrouse on Tuesday, 11 September 2007 - 9:51 pm

    The MMA, as a professional body with integrity and responsibility, should instruct all its members to boycott this scheme to line the pocket of rent-seeking cronies. Enough of projects going through useless CON SULTANS whose only ‘expertise’ is to rip of the people. About time we teach our servants i.e. the Ministers a lesson.

  9. #9 by karaoke singer on Tuesday, 11 September 2007 - 9:54 pm

    If the government wants the tests to be carried out on the drivers, they should have them sent to government clinics and hospitals. Appoint just one clinic to specialise in doing the tests. The results would be more credible. How can health facilities be considered cemerlang, gemilang and terbilang if there is no money to buy the best health items to be used for the clients ? If this is such a case, then it is the private sector which should be considered cemerlang, gemilang and terbilang. So gone is the face of the government and all that belongs to it. But it is still nice and entertaining to sing the cemerlang, gemilang and terbilang song.

    Not only do you all have to question this e kesihatan scheme, you also have to ask JPJ itself hard questions for example why is there still such black fumes coming out from the exhaust pipes of buses, lorries, motorbikes and cars ? This fume causes air pollution which also cause breathing problems.

    The drivers may not be drunk or drugged. But to have drivers who constantly suffer from breathing problems, seeing the doctor and having his sick leave is amounting to being unproductive. It is a waste of money paying someone who does not work according to the amount of salary he is paid. That is how the public’s money strangely and quietly disappears itself. Remember the government’s money is the public’s money. The government is the custodian to our money and therefore we are the ones who should make sure our money is spent wisely.

  10. #10 by the archer on Tuesday, 11 September 2007 - 10:08 pm

    this is becoming so very e-erie…i suppose the monopoly is not just for the fifteen years of sure income…there is also the under table income for budding and existing drivers to pass the e-health test, get their e-licence and then drive on the e-buses who have the e-permits specially issued to them by e-ministries for e-monopoly…and for everything else, there is the dasar e-baru(deb) otherwise known as new e-policy (nep)..as i said it is getting all so e-erie (eerie)..

  11. #11 by Cinapek on Tuesday, 11 September 2007 - 10:21 pm

    These bastard blood suckers. They use every tragedy as an excuse to enrich themselves. If they have any decency left, they should go and face the families of those who had lost loved ones in bus accidents and apologise for their failings in prosecuting those drivers who had bad driving records and bus companies with faulty buses on the roads instead of thinking of exploiting these tragic deaths to devise devious schemes to suck more blood from the people – because ultimately thats where all these cost will be passed to.

    Any where else in the world these leeches will be hung, drawn and quartered. In Malaysia Bolehland they are lauded as NEP heroes.

  12. #12 by pwcheng on Wednesday, 12 September 2007 - 2:09 am

    This “rent seeking money making” tactics by UMNO without a drop of sweat has been going on far too long. It has spread from construction contracts which made us all famous for the falling ceilings, leaking roofs, cracking walls and many more.

    Next comes the Medical contracts which are just as delicious judging from the millions they are making from “fomema”. Well many more ideas are in the pipeline. They are just waiting for a crisis and the right time to trigger it. As the saying goes” whenever there is a crisis there is an opportunity” and UMNO or its cronies will never miss these opportunities even though they can look sleepy and the beauty is that they can act on these very fast.

    So who says the government is always very slow in responding to the public needs? I think Namewee will have to change some of the lyrics in his Negara kuku.

  13. #13 by undergrad2 on Wednesday, 12 September 2007 - 11:14 am

    “The government is the custodian to our money and therefore we are the ones who should make sure our money is spent wisely.”

    Government? Make that UMNO.

    “We are the ones who should…?” They are the ones who spend our money. Wisdom is theirs to define.

  14. #14 by Jeffrey on Wednesday, 12 September 2007 - 2:18 pm

    “….//….They are the ones who spend our money. Wisdom is theirs to define….//….” – Undergrad2

    Yeah, according to your two other picturesque postings on the nature of this ‘wisdom’:

    · “they were cash cows for UMNO and their cronies. They milked these cows until their tits could no longer take the abuse;”

    · “Malaysia is like a 50-yr old virgin helplessly pinned to the ground while members of an unruly mob (UMNO, MCA, MIC and their side kicks) raped her so many times that she lost count and could no longer identify who the rapists are”…

    Careful, people will consider your analogy ‘sexist’ in likening our national cash/coffers consistently to a woman. :)

  15. #15 by wizzerd on Thursday, 13 September 2007 - 1:41 pm

    Having said that, the general public are oblivous of the daylight robbery because it is not reported in the mainstream newspaper.
    My dad, an avid reader himself, with the mainstream newspapers as his daily diet of news is not even aware of the PKFZ scandal.
    Something has to be done to educate the public..

    How about distributing the news here in print to be given to our relatives and friends.

    Gotta act fast before the conmen and swindling bastards milk us dry!!

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