MTUC: Socso influencing medical panels


  • Nation
  • Sunday, 20 Apr 2003

BY M. KRISHNAMOORTHY

KUALA LUMPUR: Socso officials should not assist the independent primary and appellate medical panels when evaluating disability claims because the practice goes against natural justice, said the MTUC. 

Its financial secretary A. Sivanathan said it would be tantamount to “playing judge and jury” because the officials could influence decisions by the medical panels on disability claims by members. 

He said this would lead to a conflict of interest, adding that the Socso constitution did not allow for its officials to sit on the panels or assist them. 

“The medical panels must be independent and Socso officials must not influence qualified doctors and specialists who sit on the board. 

“We have proof of Socso officials’ presence in the panels when applicants are screened by medical specialists. In some instances, these administrators disapprove specialists’ decisions at the head office level,” he said. 

Sivanathan was commenting on several cases which were rejected recently by Socso even after the panels had decided that the members were unfit to continue working. 

“The number of rejections has increased tremendously in the past two years. The MTUC feels that genuine cases were being rejected, causing much suffering,” he said, alleging that delays in many cases were also causing problems for some applicants. 

If a case is rejected, an appeal can be made within 90 days to the appellate medical board, subject to recommendation by Socso. 

Socso’s head of medical unit Dr Azman Aziz said the organisation was responsible for protecting the money of more than nine million contributors. 

He said it would not allow fit and healthy workers to make fraudulent Socso claims. 

“We have a duty to protect the majority who do not claim and the minority who claim.  

“My duty is to study all reports and claims and see if they are justified. We have been entrusted by the members to protect their money and we will do that at any cost,” Dr Azman added. 

On MTUC allegations on the conflict of interest, he said Socso officials only provided administrative support to medical panels and they could not be present when the panel met. 


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