PETALING JAYA: A resounding “no” – that is the response from employers to the move to charge foreigners more at public hospitals from next year.
The Government, they said, should reconsider its decision or risk scaring off investors and foreign workers.
Malaysian Employers Federation executive director Shamsuddin Bardan said this move would make Malaysia unpopular and was not good for the country.
“When foreign workers are involved, higher medical fees translate into an increase in business costs, which means reducing Malaysia’s competitiveness,” he said yesterday.
On Saturday, Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek made the announcement, which will lead to charges for foreigners at public hospitals being increased based on the Malaysian Medical Association’s (MMA) schedule of fees for private practitioners.
Foreigners now pay first-class rates at public hospitals.
The Malaysian Indian Restaurant Owners Association said the move would scare off foreign workers.
President Datuk R. Ramalingam said foreign workers also paid levies when they entered the country and the Government had a responsibility to look after them.
“Where would this country be without the large number of foreign workers that has helped it progress?” he asked.
Malaysian Trade Union Congress president Syed Shahir Syed Mohamud said: “It is the employers who should be footing the bill.”
However, MMA president Datuk Dr Teoh Siang Chin said the body supported the move, which would result in some cost-recovery for the Government.
“The MMA’s schedule of fees is a set of fees that is the closest to cost-recovery for a hospital,” he said.
Dr Teoh added that the announcement was fair, as Malaysians should not have to subsidise foreigners.
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