The Prostitution of the Malaysian Medical Council

By Reuben Sher

There is a circular doing the rounds at the Ministry of Health that states that all doctors must sign documents and follow this up with a stamp that include their name and APC (Annual Practicing Certificate) numbers. The circular, signed by the DG of Health, states that this is necessary to protect our naive, somewhat ignorant public that doesn’t know the difference between a PhD holder, Dentist and a Veterinarian! (Press Release Circular Malaysian Medical Council, 13th November 2008)

In the likely event that our gullible Malaysian public still fall for charlatans who continue to treat patients in their bedrooms with sex as part of the therapy, and sign themselves off as doctors complete with their APC numbers, real or conjured, the Ministry of Health under this DG may insist then that all documents must be signed, stamped with APC numbers and additionally thumb printed by the doctor’s concerned who must then carry their own portable ink pads. These ink pads, possibly made in India, must of course then be bought from a RM2 dollar company whose directors will ultimately be Health Ministry cronies.

Such are the minds that drive the Ministry of Health in Malaysia . Is there any wonder why this country is in the throngs of its worst dengue and chikunkunya epidemic in its history?

The DG’s solution to this deadly virus has been to blame the public. (D-G: Those living in dengue hotspots 'not doing enough', The Star Jan 31st 2009) Prioritization in this Ministry which apparently has the highest number of complaints by the Malaysian public appears to bear no logic any longer. (Public unhappy with govt medical services, The Star Feb 23rd 2009)

In the aftermath of the horrific death of A. Kugan when he was in police custody, Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai reportedly asked the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) to examine the two post-mortem re­­ports on the car theft suspect. He said this in view of a complaint lodged by Kugan’s mother N. Indra with the MMC. (MMC to check Kugan reports The Star 16th March 2009).

The very next day almost in knee jerk fashion, the UMNO appointed DG over whom the MCA Minister has zero control, stated that the Malaysian Medical Council has acted against 13 doctors — including striking the names of two of them off the medical register — for various offences last year. (MMC acts against 13 doctors for various offences The Star 17th March 2009).

Merican seems to have taken this slur rather personally. MMC inquiries go on for ages. Why make a statement regarding their status within 24 hours after Liow’s well-intentioned statement. The DG either appears to have taken this as an affront to whatever credibility he has left and even went ahead and published the names of these “errant” doctors for the public to view. Or maybe he just wanted to show Liow, who really is the boss. That DG Merican is an UMNO stooge there is little doubt.

Mohd Saiful Burkhart Azlan is eternally grateful that Merican was a staunch guardian of his pristine anus when he came to his defense by first threatening to use the MMC against Dr Mohamed Osman Abdul Hamid, the Burmese doctor who stood his ground saying Saiful’s anus has seen no recent railroading and subsequently by threatening to use the Private Healthcare, Facilities and Services Act (PHFSA) against the PUSRAWI Hospital when the hospital refused to play ball with him.

DG Merican’s machiavellian conduct was exposed further when he insisted action be taken against an “errant doctor” who “botched” a surgical procedure on Datin Fatimah Wan Chik, wife of former Labuan MP Datuk Suhaili Abdul Rahman. The MP, knowing very well that doctor’s there tried their level best to revive her and did their utmost to move her to a better facility was grateful and refused to lodge a complaint despite Merican instigating Suhaili unendingly to lodge one.

But Merican coming to the defence of the beleaguered Indonesian pathologist, Karim Tajuddin whilst running down University Malaya’s expatriate pathologist Prashant N. Samberkar even as the MMC hearing is ongoing is nothing short of disgraceful. (Kugan died of Fluid in the Lungs, The Star 6th April 2009). His statement, timed, just one day before three key by-elections, demonstrates just how low this “doctor” would stoop to please his masters.

His media statement on the pathological features that caused Kugan’s death is clearly designed to get the Indonesian and by extension the government off the hook by trying to hoodwink the very public whom he thinks can be fooled, by rehashing and recategorizing the quantum and extent of the battered boy’s injuries.

He blatantly tries to cover up the cause of death by shifting the primary etiology of trauma as the precipitating factor causing Kugan’s death to underlying acute myocarditis as the predisposing factor that hastened the boy’s eventual renal shutdown and ultimate pulmonary edema (“water in the lungs”). Malaysia ’s DG of Health has now infamously sold Malaysian medical ethics to its political powers to curry favour and perhaps to keep his job to prevent his own prosecution in lieu of the Ninebios Scandal.

The timing of the Kugan statement means that the Director General of Health sees it convenient to use the supposedly independent Malaysian Medical Council of which he is puzzlingly President, to further his own personal gains.

With a delinquent DG more interested in playing politics, is there any wonder why we have a relentless mosquito borne epidemic with almost half of this country’s population hypertensive and diabetic?

Forget about Sabahans in Kota Kinabalu who don’t even have a General Hospital anymore.

With this DG’s reckless disregard for medical ethics compounded further by his lack of attention in providing quality healthcare access for the Malaysian public, DG Merican should perhaps take his mask off and instead do what he really aspires to be … stand as a UMNO candidate in the very next by-election.