Putting people’s health first

Khoo (in blue) cradling her grandson Jayden Ooi, three, as she shares a light moment with (from left) her husband Ooi Beng Oo, 70, Gan and Ah Ling at their residence in Magazine Road, George Town. — Photos: LIM BENG TATT/The Star

RECYCLING shop owner S. Prem Murughan is looking forward to better facilities at public hospitals in Penang.

“I have a medical card and used to go to private facilities, but I can’t afford medical cards for my two children aged 17 and eight.

“I will still go to government hospitals hoping that the facilities will improve, as private medical care is becoming very expensive.

“The government should spend more money on the upkeep and maintenance of hospitals to create a better environment for patients, ” said Prem Murughan, who operates his shop in Jalan Mesjid Kapitan Keling in George Town.

In Budget 2020, the government has allocated RM1.6bil for building new hospitals and upgrading work as well as expanding current hospitals, with another RM319mil to build and upgrade health and dental clinics as well as quarters, RM227mil for medical equipments and RM95mil for renovation of medical infrastructure facilities.

Prem Murughan, 45, is also glad that the toll at the Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah Bridge had been reduced to RM7.

“I travel to Batu Kawan to collect recycled items and the toll reduction is good news as I will only have to pay RM7 compared to RM8.50 previously.

“I can save a lot as there are times when we have to make several trips in a day, ” he said.

He also welcomed the reduction in broadband charges by as much as 49% that came with a higher speed.

“My 17-year-old son is on the Internet most of the time, with school assignments now being done online.

“The increase in speed and lower charges is great news as it gives value for money as my son has been complaining of spending more time to do his work due to slow connectivity.”

In Budget 2020, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said under regulatory reform by Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), the Mandatory Standard Access Pricing (MSAP) has successfully decreased the prices of broadband services as much as 49% with a higher Internet speed.

Paper craftsman Khoo Lai Mooi, 62, said she was grateful for some of the initiatives but hoped for more benefits for the future generations.

“I’m thankful for the fuel subsidy scheme but it seemed to be too little for a car.

“With RM30 subsidy a month, we are only entitled to RM1 of subsidy a day, which is not enough for our daily usage.

“We are also told that the price of RON95 petrol will be floated according to market prices beginning next year, ” she said when met at her premises Ah Bin & Sons Paper Products in Magazine Road on Friday.

Khoo’s grandson Eric Gan, 22, a university undergraduate, said he was happy that the government would reduce the price of broadband services by as much as 49% with a higher speed.

“This is indeed great news as we use the Internet daily, be it for assignments or entertainment.

“Besides, my family also uses the Internet to communicate with each other.

“With an affordable Internet plan, it will lessen my parents’ burden, ” he said.

Khoo’s daughter, who wished to be known as Ah Ling, 46, said she was happy as there would be allocation to expand and upgrade existing hospitals.

“The queue at government hospitals is very long now and we don’t have time to wait due to work commitment.

“With this allocation, we hope that the waiting time will be shorter.

“It will definitely benefit us as the treatment fee at government hospitals is cheaper than private hospitals, ” she said.

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