Criminalization of doctors under Chua Soi Lek and Ismail Merican even after the PHFSA (Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act) appears unabated. The Malaysian Medical Council, without prior notice, recently instituted its own form of CTOS, the database company that displayed financial data publicly without updating them. The MMC is now making available to the public particulars of all doctors in Malaysia including complaints hurled at them – PROVEN OR NOT. Running down people and establishments is now a favorite Malaysian past-time but the MMC appear to have further refined this into a fine art form. This new CTOS (Complaints Tip Off Service) is yet another example of the convoluted thinking that exists in this Ministry.
The website itself appears rather slow and unstable but what is more alarming is it appears out of date. A recent prominent case is listed as still being processed and government doctors who have had complaints against them including the pediatrician responsible for the loss of the little baby’s arm at Klang are not listed. More disturbing is, complaints against MMC Council members given prominence in our local newspapers and complaints against MMC secretariat members are mysteriously excluded. If this sort of selective persecution and non–updating of this database is going to exist, why implement it in the first place? It will just create another CTOS furore. An ambition for first world infrastructure matched only by a third world mentality is always a recipe for disaster which has been proven time and again in Malaysia.
Now who could have been responsible for this and did the Minister know about this new implementation? The Malaysian Medical Council appears to be broadly divisioned into Council members and a general secretariat which instead of being neutral is mainly comprised of seconded MOH staff. The Council itself has only 9 members from the private sector out of 21, the rest being from the government sector.
Closer investigations reveal that the division “Amalan Perubatan” to which the secretariat is answerable to, appears to be under an officer called Noorimi Morad known for her disastrous handling of the problematic Sultanah Bahiyah Hospital in Alor Star and further responsible in terminating the services of over 200 expatriate doctors last year on the basis of they being “argumentative”. She is assisted by other doctors at the MMC secretariat who surprisingly comprise mainly graduates from Indonesia and Manipal who are based in the secretariat only because they “don’t like to do calls”. Could this disturbing feature be the reason for the lopsided implementation and non-updating of this complaints database?
If Chua Soi Lek is a party to this, then as with the PHFSA, he must think that doctors are politically expedient as long as he achieves his political goal to remain popular or even become MCA President. It is inconceivable that the Minister or his DG do not know the implications of publicly highlighting complaints, real or imagined, against innocent doctors or anyone else for that matter. Careers that took years to build will irreparably be damaged. And in what forms are these complaints registered? This can be your usual frivolous letters unhappy with service, cooked-up complaints so that patients in cahoots with lawyers can extort money off doctors or the usual “surat layang” and oh… not forgetting if a nephrologists can treat dengue or not? How does one determine which is what? Only through a proper hearing or a court of law? Now why display a name as if convicted when the trial or investigation has not even begun or still in the process?
It is exactly decisions of this nature that has brought the medical fraternity to distrust this Minister and his Ministry. The MMC appear to have forgotten the case of Mohan Rajadurai vs Majlis Perubatan Malaysia heard at the High Court Malaya, Kuala Lumpur by the Right Honorable Judge Datuk Abdul Kadir Sulaiman on 28th October 1997. Dr. Rajadurai was wrongly found guilty by the MMC and suspended. The good doctor had his reputation tarnished and dignity destroyed. He lost his practice and livelihood. In concluding his judgment Datuk Abdul Kadir stated that the MMC in Dr Rajadurai’s case, had breached the fundamental rule of natural justice in arriving at their decision of suspending him. He further admonished the MMC for overlooking such a basic tenet in law.
Because of the MMC’s callous action this doctor’s future was destroyed. To add insult to injury the MMC initially refused to compensate him for losses and then subsequently settled for a paltry sum of RM10,000 ringgit. A body such as the MMC that does this to a doctor, who spent years trying to build a career, must be a tribunal far inferior to our already troubled courts and as such its decisions cannot be binding until there is a proper hearing in an open court.
If the Minister and the MMC think that their modus operandi in trying to act against doctors is to look for scapegoats as sacrificial lambs to appease the general public then it is better for doctors and all concerned to go to court right from the start instead of the MMC. Changes to the system are far overdue and the system in place currently is a disgraceful charade. The number of council members must reflect the private sector to public sector ratio of 60:40 and it is high time that the MMC secretariat is composed of staff entirely independent and unrelated to the Ministry of Health. To continue to do so would be to apply an arbitrary bias such as this database on doctors who may not even know what the complaint is all about. The MMC and especially its secretariat with biased and vested interests is now common knowledge. They should re-examine themselves and debunk the widespread notion among doctors that they first cannot be trusted before they pass false judgment on others.