Media Statement (2) by Lim Kit Siang
in Parliament on Friday, 1st February 2008:
Why Ong Ka Ting, as Acting Health Minister, allowed the
Director-General of Health to add insult to injury in the jailing of the
first doctor under the PHFSA with the callous and heartless comment that
Dr. Basmullah preferred going to jail than paying fine?
The comment by the Director-General of Health Tan Sri Dr. Ismail Merican
that Dr. Basmullah Yusom, the first doctor to be jailed under the
Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act 1998 preferred jail to
paying the RM120,000 fine in instalments is most inconsiderate, callous,
heartless and totally unbecoming of a top civil servant.
New Straits Times today quoted Dr. Ismail as saying that Dr. Basmullah
“declined the Health Ministry’s offer to stay out of jail”.
He said the offer was made to the doctor by the ministry’s prosecuting
Dr. Ismail said: “It's not that we do not care for doctors or are
unsympathetic to them."
If Dr. Ismail really “care” or sympathetic to doctors, how could he use
language which is so inconsiderate, callous and heartless?
From Dr. Ismail’s account, it would appear that Dr. Basmullah is a
pervert who prefers to go to jail instead of enjoying his personal
freedom outside prison!
Dr. Ismail went on to say that if Dr. Basmullah feels he has been
harshly sentenced by the Sessions Court, he has the right to appeal to a
I am just shocked and outraged beyond belief that even up till now, Dr.
Ismail does not see or accept that Dr. Basmullah just do not have the
means to hire counsel to appeal against the sentence of RM120, 000 fine
or three months’ jail – when he had not been able to afford the expenses
to retain counsel to represent him at the Sessions Court or to take up
the “offer” to pay the hefty RM120, 000 fine by instalments.
This is why Dr. Basmullah is in jail in Kajang Prison for the past two
weeks – creating outrage to the extent that a online “Don’t Jail Doctors
Blog Campaign” has been launched.
Many are asking why is the system of justice in Malaysia is so perverted
that a doctor could be jailed for not registering his clinic although he
has the annual practicing certificate of a medical practitioner, while
criminals whether the corrupt or those guilty of heinous crimes can get
away scot-free, moving freely in society!
Let me tell Dr. Ismail that nobody “prefers” or enjoys going to jail
unless forced by unavoidable financial straits – and he had made a most
inconsiderate, callous and heartless statement for which he should be
thoroughly ashamed and should have the humility to publicly withdraw and
I want to ask the Acting Health Minister, Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting why he
allowed the Director-General of Health to add insult to injury in the
jailing of the first doctor under the PHFSA with the callous and
heartless comment that Dr. Basmullah preferred going to jail than paying
Furthermore, as Acting Health Minister, what is he doing to mitigate the
breach of promise by the former Health Minister and the Director-General
of Health that doctors will not be criminalized or jailed until the
PHFSA had been amended as well the gross injustice of the three-month
jail sentence passed on Dr. Basmullah?
Kit Siang, Parliamentary
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman