Reports by MARTIN CARVALHO and HEMANANTHANI SIVANANDAM
THE Poisons (amendment) Bill that will make it a jailable offence for doctors who refuse to issue prescriptions upon request has had its second reading deferred to next year, says Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad.
The Bill, which was listed as the first item on Parliament’s Order Paper, was to have been debated before being passed yesterday.
The Health Minister told the Dewan Rakyat that the Bill will be postponed to the next Parliament meeting in March.
The Bill was tabled on Nov 25 but drew flak from various national medical and dental organisations.
The Malaysian Medical Association objected to the proposed amendments.
The proposed amendments sought to criminalise private doctors, dental surgeons and veterinarians with a maximum fine of RM50,000 or up to five years’ jail or both, should they refuse to provide prescription slips.
The association was also against the amendment to include the use of an e-prescription, signed with a digital signature, in the absence of safeguard measures for patients.
Another amendment will permit any civil servant or officer of statutory bodies to grow ketum plants for research, education and medication purposes.
When met at the lobby, Dr Dzulkefly said the deferment was to allow more input for improvements to the Bill.
Dewan Rakyat adjourned sine die yesterday after sitting for 36 days.