KUALA LUMPUR: The claim by the Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) that Socso has denied invalidity pension to a group of workers saw a new twist when the Appellate Medical Board ruled that 10 of them are not eligible for such benefits.
The Primary Medical Board, comprising government doctors, had initially approved invalidity pension payments for the 10, of whom seven reportedly suffered from neck and back pains.
Socso medical and rehabilitation manager Dr Mohammed Azman Aziz Mohammed said that in three other cases the appellate board, comprising government specialist doctors, also found discrepancies in the awards and assessments made by the primary board.
In one case, the appellate board reduced the primary boards compensation award to a 20-year-old worker with knee and head injuries by half.
In the other two cases, it struck out the constant attendance allowance and permanent disablement benefits of two workers, he said in an interview yesterday.
Earlier this week, MTUC financial secretary A. Sivananthan claimed that about 30 workers had sought MTUCs help on the denial of compensation claims by Socso.
Dr Mohammad Azman, however, said only 20 names were referred to Socso.
Stressing that Socso had no influence over the assessment done by the primary and appellate boards, he said seven from among the 20 did not turn up for the appellate boards assessment although reminders were sent out.
He also said 187 of those placed under the invalidity pension scheme were recently found to be gainfully employed.
Socso chief executive Datuk Ng Teck said that between January and last month, Socso only appealed against 3.29% of the 18,000 decisions made by the primary board.
And to make it more transparent, the decision to appeal against workers compensations or benefits is handled by a special review committee comprising Socso officials and representatives for workers and employees, he said.
Socso, he added, had no intention of denying eligible workers benefits or compensation.
Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr Fong Chan Onn, who said there could have been a misunderstanding between MTUC and Socso, called on the two parties to meet and discuss the issue.