PUTRAJAYA: Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) has handed over a memorandum to the Finance Ministry, highlighting its concerns on the health protection fund for the B40 low-income group.
PSM central committee member Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj handed the memorandum over to the ministry’s Corporate Strategy and Communications Division deputy secretary Tajol Azhar at the Finance Ministry lobby here at 10.40am on Thursday (Jan 24).
This came about an hour after Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad officially launched the fund, the mySalam National Protection Scheme.
Tajol, who accepted the PSM memo on behalf of Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, said that he would hand over the memorandum to his officers, as Lim had already left for a Cabinet meeting.
Dr Jeyakumar, who is former Sungai Siput MP, said he was disappointed that the finance minister had not replied to PSM's request for a meeting on the health protection fund, despite sending letters to him on Nov 25 and Dec 17 last year, requesting a discussion on matters relating to the fund.
The memorandum, which highlighted PSM’s concerns, also requested for a meeting with the minister.
Dr Jeyakumar said that while he welcomed the support for the low-income group, he hoped the RM8,000 one-off payment for critical illness could be used for implants too, when patients seek treatment in government hospitals.
He said many poor patients could not afford expensive implants or medical devices.
“We hope that the funds are used exclusively for treatment in government hospitals,” he said.
He also expressed concern about the involvement of private insurance and wants the minister to come clean on the details.
The memorandum, among others, urged the government to avoid expanding the private insurance system, because the bottomline for the private sector is based on profit, is risk-rated, and incurs high administrative costs.
If it should decide to use the insurance method, then it should be made to represent a social health insurance scheme.
The PSM memo noted that the income of the B40 group is low, and salary deductions for any insurance plan would pose a burden to them.