Public engagement meet on healthcare system a letdown

Dr Steven KW Chow | Apr 5, 2012

The title of the Event was ‘Pelancaran Siri Jejalah Public Engagement – Kajian Sistem Kesihatan Malaysia’ but what really happened was a paradox.

As a media event it was well organised.

The members of most of the mainstream media were at hand.

They, together with the large number of government servant attendees still in their uniforms or with their name tags, virtually made up the bulk of the crowd.

The robust public presence that was supposed to be the objective of this engagement was clearly missing.

Thus it was not surprising that the discussion was devoid of substance and spirit.

Firstly, the announcement was only made known a mere three days prior to the event.

Insufficient notice and the choice of a busy Saturday morning hours for the event was effective in excluding many doctors and members of the public who were genuinely interested in providing some useful feedback.

Secondly, the time allocated for actual public engagement speaks well for itself and reflects on the sincerity of the call for meaningful public discussion.

The minister’s speech alone took 30 minutes. The three invited panelists took more than 30 minutes and the Chairman took another 10 minutes in introduction and comments. Then the panelists’ rebuttal before closing took another 20 minutes.

So what was merely left for the public questions and comments was less than 30 minutes. That was the level of the public engagement and discussion for this much touted event.

Thirdly, the call for transparency and how this would avoid the politicizing of the issue was loud and clear.

One would have expected the minister to lay out clearly on the table the details of the 2nd 1Care Paper (which is the follow-up of the first Concept Paper) for public knowledge and debate.

Revealing details of this would have gone a long way to reassure the public that the Health Ministry was indeed on the path of meaningful public engagement for its program to reform, evolve or transform (or call it whatever) the national healthcare system for the betterment of the rakyat.

Instead valuable time and effort was used spinning old yarns and overused rhetoric that we have heard over the past four months.

The usual menu of “denials, things are too early, nothing is decided, still in concept stage/option stage, profiling of critics etc,” were repeated for the benefit of the Press.

It was clear that the strategy was to avoid talking about the details.

To make things even more patronising, a member of the panel (a GP) and a similar-minded speaker from the floor(another GP) were going on and on about how terrible life as a GP is today, i.e. long working hours, falling patient load and how 1Care would make it better for GPs for themselves, their income, shorter working hours and their judicious use of power as gatekeepers for patients.

The ultimate important question on how much more would the already over-burdened 1.5 million or so taxpayers are expected to pay for the new healthcare delivery system was left silent and untouched.

Equally noticeable too was the absence of the mention of 1Care in the minister’s speech which made someone to quip whether the Health Ministry itself “pun Tak nak 1Care”. (does not want ICare).

In conclusion, the Health Ministry road show did not kick off with a healthy start but on the wrong foot.

This was a golden opportunity to show the rakyat that the Health Minister was willing to walk the talk and confidently lay down the latest details of the 2nd 1Care paper for valuable public scrutiny and debate.

This was the transparency that a distinguished panelist Dr Chandran Muzaffar was calling for.

Without this transparency, the public will continue to question the ministry’s proposal especially if it is not supported with adequate and meaningful public and stakeholder feedback.

Surely the trust of the public for the ministry and vice versa could not have fallen so low?

Dr Steven KW Chow is the president of Federation of Private Medical Practitioner’s Association, Malaysia (FPMPAM).

  1. #1 by monsterball on Friday, 6 April 2012 - 3:03 am

    The Health Minister cares more about his MCA party’s health than Malaysians…which is very unhealthy now.
    He is “sick”…cannot attend.
    If this event have vast majority Malaysian Chinese attendance..then he will attend to fish votes.

  2. #2 by k1980 on Friday, 6 April 2012 - 7:48 am

    This is not 1Care, it is 1Sapu— from your pockets to theirs.

  3. #3 by drngsc on Friday, 6 April 2012 - 8:05 am

    It is terrible when the government dare not openly engaged his people. What has the country come to. He calls it a public forum, but it is so heavily orchestrated that it looks more like a Chinese NPCC congress. Dates, venue, speakers, invited “guests”, time for discussion, moderators. All hand pick to hear his own voice.
    Looks like this government is afraid of his own people.

    We need to change the tenant at Putrajaya. GE 13 is coming, and so is BERSIH 3.0. We need a clean, free and fair election, to be fair. Please let us all sit down at 2pm at Dataran merdeka on 28th April 2012.
    For a better Malaysia.
    Change we must. Change we can. Change we will.

  4. #4 by dagen wanna "ABU" on Friday, 6 April 2012 - 8:38 am

    Looks like another of umno’s well known public orgy.

  5. #5 by cintanegara on Friday, 6 April 2012 - 9:20 am

    This program is far better than those organized by Penang state government…

  6. #6 by Cinapek on Friday, 6 April 2012 - 10:40 am

    This forum, like the PSC on elections, the RCI on the IPCMC etc are all typical BN smokescreen designed to hoodwink the public.

    There is never any sincerity in genuinely holding the forum and getting the desired results to arrive at the correct solution because the real decision has already been made. Such farcical forums are set up to defuse public anger and hope that by putting on this charade, the Govt. hopes to convince the people that it has listened to the them – and indeed would go to town with this claim loud and clear. But the end result is the same.

    It is even harder to believe a minister whose credibility has hit rock bottom with the Tung Shin Hospital incident. Until today he has not apologised for trying to protect a guilty PDRM and pull the wool over the public’s eyes over firing of smoke bombs and water cannon sprays into the hospital compound.

  7. #7 by Winston on Friday, 6 April 2012 - 10:57 am

    Another scam to scalp the public!
    Only the insane, brain dead, cronies and masochistic will be happy to have the corrupted, cheating, lying and scam ridden UMNO/BN for their government!
    UMNO/BN has been given five over decades to rule (ruin??) the country!
    And have gone from bad to worse to worst!
    Time to give PR a chance!

  8. #8 by rockdaboat on Saturday, 7 April 2012 - 1:41 pm

    The health minister’s face make me throw up.
    It kills all the mood to ask any question.

    BTW, cintanegara, what’s that brown smelly substance just discharged from you mouth?
    It looks like and smells like something in the toilet bowl.

    Yes indeed, it is.

You must be logged in to post a comment.