New Fees Structure for Foreign Workers
21 March 2016
On 29th December 2014 the Ministry of Health released Circular (17)dlm.KKM-58/300/1-5 directing all State Health Directors, Hospital Directors and District Health Officers to implement a new fee schedule for foreigners effective 1st January 2015. Certain categories of noncitizens are excluded from this fee schedule including red IC holders, the foreign spouses of Malaysian citizens, the children of red IC holders and the children of a foreign spouse. However migrant workers and persons claiming refugee status are required to pay up for treatment.
Section 5 of the Guidelines for the Implementation of Fees for Foreigners for example specifies that the deposit for foreigners requiring admission to the Third Class Ward in Government Hospitals is RM 600 for medical cases and RM1200 for surgical and obstetric cases. This is a huge sum of money for foreign workers and refugees. Even worse is Section 10 of these Guidelines which requires health personnel to refer all foreigners without proper travel documents to either the Police or to the Immigration Department. Given the fact that 3 million out of the 5 million foreign workers in this country do not hold valid passes, this is going to drive away a large number of migrant workers from Health Care services.
The Coalition Against the Privatisation of Health Services (CAPHC) held a press conference on 12/2/2015 pointing out that this new fee schedule is not only onerous to migrant workers but also puts Malaysians at higher risk of infectious illnesses such as Tuberculosis. The CAPHC asked for an urgent meeting with the Ministry of Health to discuss this issue. However the Ministry of Health replied through a letter dated 21/4/2015 that such a meeting isn’t necessary.
Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj, the Secretary of the CAPHC and the current MP for Sg Siput then filed a Judicial Review application with Dato Malik Imtiaz as Counsel. This application was rejected by Dato
Asmabi bte Mahamed of the Jln Duta High Court on 3/9/2015 on two grounds:
1. The Plantiff does not have locus standi as he has not suffered any adverse effect from this decision on the part of the government.
2. The government’s decision is a Policy Decision and as such is not amenable to Judicial Review procedures.
Our lawyers advised us to discontinue the case.