Minister of Health and doctors

The DAP Organising Secretary and DAP Candidate for the Serdang State By-election, Mr.Lim Kit Siang, today issued the following statement (30.11.68):

In less than eight months, Dr. Ng Kam Poh had been demoted from the Minister of Health to the Minister of Welfare services. From a Minister who was in charge of disbursing $150 million a year in the Health Ministry, Dr. Ng had now only $5 million in the Welfare Ministry to fiddle about.

Why was Dr. Ng demoted? Why did Dr. Ng meekly agree to his own demotion? The public is entitled to know.

We all know that every waking minute, an intense power struggle is going in the Alliance party, whether between the UMNO and the MCA or even within the UMNO and MCA themselves.

It is also clear that Dr. Ng had upset a lot of people when he announced that he was going to make surprise visits to hospitals to check on the staff.

We in the DAP had quarrelled with Dr. Ng because we read more of announcements than surprise visits.

But Dr. Ng’s proposal was in the right direction.

Over the years, government hospitals have deteriorated in its service to the public. The Batu Pahat General Hospital is a typical example.

Outpatients and patients were treated shabbily and rudely, while the hospital authorities were utterly indifferent to the problems, needs, pain and suffering of patients.

There were complaints of rudeness and abusive behaviour on the part of the hospital staff, medicine and injections not given properly or in time, seriously wounded persons made to wait for treatment until the slow-moving staff complete their agonisingly slow process of taking down particulars of name, address, age, etc.

There is no sense of urgency to serve the suffering, or even any elemental sense of courtesy.

The Batu Pahat DAP Branch had appealed to Dr. Ng to visit the B.P. hospital to remedy the deplorable conditions, but he had not done so.

The condition in Batu Pahat prevails throughout the country.

The new Health Minister, Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Khan, has announced that he would not make surprise visits, that he was completely satisfied with the hospital work of the hospital staff, because when he was recently admitted to hospital, he was very well looked after.

It is very clear that Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Khan does not know, nor has he the will or even capacity, as he is close to 70 years old, to halt deteriorating services in Malaysian general hospitals.

The appointment of Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Khan is Alliance declaration that they are not interested in the complaints of hundreds of thousands of Malaysians who had been shabbily treated in general hospitals.

The DAP deplores the Alliance indifference to the need of the sick, weak and suffering, and calls for a new deal for the sick, who should be treated courteously and politely by the hospital staff.

Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Khan cannot do this, as he has announced that he will not do this. The DAP calls therefore for his removal as Health Minister.

Recently, there had been a spate of advertisements in the Chinese Press claiming for some Chinese physicians virtually the ability to cure all ills.

It is the quack physicians who made false claims who are bringing into disrepute the entire profession and art of Chinese healing.

It is the duty of the government to protect the public from quacks, and advertisements which are patently untrue.

Recently, the Political Secretary to the Health Minister, criticised unscrupulous advertisements making false claims.

But the very next day, who was the patron of such advertisements? None other than the MCA strongman, Dato Wong Yoke Swee and the Selangor State Assemblyman, Raja Nong Chik.

The flood of unscrupulous advertisements to cash in on the suffering and sickness of the poor must be stopped. We propose that a council be immediately established, comprising the government, the Chinese physicians’ Association and the press, to outlaw all advertisements which make exaggerated and unscrupulous claims which are calculated to mislead the public and capitalise on the sickness and suffering of the people.

Audited on 2021-03-03