by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Monday, March 29, 1993:
DAP calls on the Cabinet to revive the idea of all Ombudsman to deal with all public complaints and grievances against maladministration, injustices and negligence in government as well as ‘privatised’ essential services
The statement yesterday by the Minister of Health, Datuk Lee Kim Sai, that incidents of negligence at both private and government hospitals are isolated and do not indicate something is wrong with the medical system or procedure is most unsatisfactory.
Kim Sai also said that he would direct a thorough check on the entire medical system, including the training of staff, if the situation worsened.
In actual fact, the national health and medical system had been in a crisis for quite some time. If all the cases of unsatisfactory and negligent patient care and treatment in the country are to be unearthed, the newspapers would be full of such stories, day after day for months on end.
While individual cases of negligence are deplorable, these are just symptoms of a system which has gone very wrong.
There is an urgent need to review the entire health and medical system in the country to ensure that Malaysians can enjoy affordable and quality health and medical care in the country.
The crisis of the national and medical system is in fact part of the larger crisis of the entire public service in the country.
DAP calls on the Cabinet to revive the idea of an Ombudsman to deal with all complaints and grievances of government maladministration, injustice and negligence.
In 1989, a special Cabinet committee headed by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was set up to study the possibility of introducing the system of an Ombudsman, and the then Vice Chancellor of Universiti Malaya, Professor Syed Hussein Alatas, was commissioned to submit a special report on it.
It has been reported that Syed Hussein had submitted his report to the Cabinet and recommended the appointment of all Ombudsman who would have the powers to receive and investigate into public complaints against government, maladministration, injustice and negligence.
DAP hopes that the Cabinet can reach a decision to establish an Ombudsman and introduce the necessary legislation to Parliament month.
For such all Ombudsman to be effective, he should be independent of the Government, answerable only to Parliament, and would in fact be some sort of a Parliamentary Commissioner to protect the public against government maladministration, injustices and negligence – as in the case of the United Kingdom.
In view of the privatisation of essential services in Malaysia, the Malaysian Ombudsman should have extended jurisdiction to also deal with complaints arid grievances against injustices and negli-gence in the privatised essential services.
Such a Malaysian Ombudsman, for instance, should be able to receive and investigate into complaints like:
• the power black-out and the national energy crisis;
• the three security scandals at the Subang international Airport in less than a year; and
• the cases of negligence in health and medical care, in both government and private sectors.
The Malaysian Ombudsman should have unfettered powers to carry out his tasks, including the powers to sub-poena Cabinet Ministers, departmental heads and corporate leaders.