PAKATAN Harapan assemblymen took a swing at private hospitals in Penang for charging high medical treatment fees.
R.S.N Rayer (DAP-Seri Delima) posed a supplementary question to state Tourism Development Committee chairman Danny Law Heng Kiang (DAP-Batu Lanchang) whether the state had received complaints about the high fees charged and the ‘special treatment’ given to foreign patients byprivate hospitals.
“Is it true that Malaysian patients arepaying higher fees compared to foreign patients who are receiving treatment inprivate hospitals in Penang?” he asked at the state assembly yesterday.
Law denied this and said that treatment fees at the private hospitals are increasing year after year.
“This is probably because the private hospitals are buying better medical equipment
“The fees charged are still reasonable and lower if we compare with the medical fees in countries like Singapore, Australia, Thailand, Hong Kong and the European countries,” Law explained.
Dr T. Jayabalan (PKR-Batu Uban) inhis supplementary question, asked ifmedical tourism was good when it ‘denies access to locals’.
“Private hospitals are making huge profits. Now, an operation to treat appendicitis would cost about RM9,000 per patient inprivate hospitals.
“Even to apply for welfare arrangements in private hospitals is not easy.
“You have to prove that you deserve the welfare aid.
“This actually denies access to locals,” Dr Jayabalan said.
Law replied that those who could not afford private hospitals were encouraged to seek treatment in government hospitals.
“There are also proper medical facilities and treatment in government hospitals,” he added.
Earlier, Law said a total of RM390,313,941 was obtained from medical tourism in Penang last year.
“A total of 301,810 foreign patients came to the state last year,” he said in reply to an oral question by A. Tanasekharan (DAP-Bagan Dalam).
Tanasekharan had questioned the total revenue obtained by the state government from medical tourism.