MPs and reps may have to undergo compulsory yearly medical check-ups

By Ng Cheng Yee, The Star

PETALING JAYA: Elected representatives may have to go for compulsory annual medical check-ups to ensure they are physically fit to serve the people.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said he would make the proposal at the next Cabinet meeting because many by-elections had been called following the deaths of elected representatives from various illnesses.

“Currently, we just let the elected representatives take the initiative to go for medical check-ups but we want to make sure that they go for at least one every year,” he said.

“We will also make sure they get reminders for the scheduled check-ups.

He stressed that the move would help Members of Parliament and state assemblymen keep tabs on their health status and ensure they were fit enough to serve the rakyat.

“If the examinations show that they are unhealthy, we will ensure they get the appropriate treatment immediately,” he said.

Since the general election in March 2008, 14 by-elections have been held with one more to be announced following the death of Merlimau assemblyman Datuk Mohamad Hidhir Abu Hassan on Thursday.

The number of by-elections so far is the highest in the country’s electoral history.

Eleven by-elections were called after the elected representatives died from various illnesses, including heart problems, cancer, stroke and lung infection.

Of the remaining four, three were held after the elected representatives vacated their seats in the Permatang Pauh parliamentary and Penanti and Bukit Selambau state seats.

A by-election was also held in Batu Sapi, Sabah after its MP Datuk Edmund Chong Ket Wah died in a road accident.

It was reported that the police spent nearly RM40mil on the first five by-elections to maintain peace and security: RM2.8mil in Permatang Pauh, RM15.3mil in Kuala Terengganu, RM10.7mil (Bukit Gantang), RM6.4mil (Bukit Selambau) and RM4.6mil (Batang Ai).