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Call for suspension of JPJ�s 15-year e-Kesihatan monopoly concession to Supremme Systems Sdn.Bhd to conduct annual medical tests for commercial drivers to ensure that it is not the latest example of parasitic rent-seeking rip-off in the region of hundreds of millions of ringgit at the expense of the public for the benefit of a handful of cronies of the system

2008 Budget Speech (6) 
by Lim Kit Siang  

(Dewan Rakyat, Tuesday): The medical profession is up in arms against the latest e-Kesihatan scheme which was officially announced by the Road Transport Department (JPJ) deputy director-general Solah Mat Hassan yesterday, requiring drivers of commercial vehicles from next month to pass a medical test done at clinics appointed by an associate company of Fomema Sdn. Bhd, Supremme Systems Sdn Bhd.

Supremme Systems Sdn. Bhd has been awarded a monopoly to carry out such medical tests which would enable it to make profits in the region of hundreds of millions of ringgit in the 15-year monopoly awarded by the Transport Ministry.

This appears to be the latest example of a parasitic rent-seeking rip-off at the expense of the public as there is already a system in place to provide medical tests for commercial drivers involving medical practitioners with the JPJ directly, which can be further improved to deal with abuses or weaknesses instead of creating a new system which is more rent-seeking in nature than entrepreneurial.

I have received an email from an infuriated medical practitioner on the letter of registration sent by Supremme Systems Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Pantai Holding Sdn Bhd to primary care doctors in the Klang Valley to pay RM 100.00 as registration fee and requesting particulars of each clinic.

The letter states that to participate in the medical examination of Goods Drivers Licence (GDL) and Public Service Vehicle (PSC) licence renewal annually by commercial vehicle drivers, the private doctors must use their ICT. This letter demands reply and payment within 10 days.

The email continued:

�This company is a monopoly and has infringed on patients confidentiality and also on the security of this data.

�Currently, the annual renewal is done using a gateway which is linked to e-kesihatan of JPJ. A user friendly gateway system was proposed to Ministry of Transport .This gateway which protects the Malaysian citizens of their confidentiality and the doctors Hippoctaes Oath of secrecy and only payment of Ringgit Two is traffic charge to transmit the medical certification with an encryption code used by each doctor to JPJ via the gateway. There is a breach of medical confidentiality of patients medical records to third parties when Pantai Supremme becomes a third party to collect the data and there is a breach of the Malaysian citizens human right.

�The proposed system demands payment of RM 80 at the post office by the driver. Pantai Supremme charges a service fee of RM 30 per driver, Laboratory test for urine cannibinoids, ATS and Oppiates RM20. Payment to doctors for medical examination RM 30.00 after 90 days.

�There are 1,200,000 commercial vehicle drivers and the active drivers are approximately 1,000,000 in number. Pantai Supremme will be entitled to siphon off RM28 million per year after deducting RM2 Ringgit per driver as their overhead cost expenses.

�We are perturbed about the status of the drivers vis a vis the laboratory report. The verification of these results and the poor standards of batch entry and quality control used by laboratories to conduct the urine for substance abuse test is questionable. The laboratories use this method to save cost. Is there a mechanism to rehabilitate these driver and how long will these drivers be suspended and what is the grievance mechanism?�

At present, commercial drivers have to pay RM50 for new applications and RM20 for renewals for medical tests, which will now go up RM80 for renewals under the Supremme Systems monopoly.

I understand that Koperasi Doktor Malaysia Bhd had submitted a comprehensive proposal to the ministry last year with two scales of fees, much lower than the Supremme Systems monopoly.

Instead of giving the Koperasi Doktor Malaysia Bhd proposal serious consideration, the Supremme Systems has come into the picture and been awarded a monopoly, which seems to be institutionalizing a system of rent-seeking middle-men system to add to the costs of doing business and making a living in the country.

I call for the suspension of JPJ�s 15-year e-Kesihatan monopoly concession to Supremme Systems Sdn. Bhd to conduct annual medical tests for commercial drivers to ensure that it is not the latest example of parasitic rent-seeking rip-off in the region of hundreds of millions of ringgit at public expense to the benefit of a handful of cronies of the present government system.

2. Civil service best practices and culture of high performance are just empty slogans like the National Integrity Plan which are never meant to be taken seriously

In his budget speech, Abdullah said raising the level of performance of the civil service is critical in sustaining the competitiveness of the nation, especially in the context of globalization. He said it is timely for best practices and the culture of high performance to be adopted in the civil service to drive further improvements in performance. (para 120)

However, the 2006 Auditor-General�s Report on the third full year of the Abdullah premiership with its litany of waste and abuse of public funds running into tens and hundreds of million of ringgit shows that far from an improvement, there is probably a worsening, in public service culture � with Parliament being reminded constantly with the disgraceful leakage despite RM200 million renovation, with a small waterfall at the media room yesterday.

Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak said on Sunday that ministries must answer for the instances of mismanagement disclosed in the Auditor-General�s Report and the Second Finance Minister, Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop ordered all departments in the Treasury to check cases highlighted in the Auditor-General�s Report.

One Minister after another is trying to rebut he strictures contained in the Auditor-General�s report, like the payment of RM224 for a RM32 set of screwdrivers, paying RM1,146 for a set of pens costing RM 160, paying RM5,700 for a car jack worth RMN50, the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) paying RM5.59 million in advance to 4,183 students who did not apply for a loan and other horror stories.

All the reactions by Ministers are not only locking the stable door after the horses have bolted, but empty public posturings � including that of Najib as he is also Defence Minister who has to fully explain the largest single case of misuse of funds in the 2006 Auditor-General's Report � the RM6.75 billion scandal of six Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV) that have either not been delivered or not operational and the increase of their contract price twice from RM4.9 billion to RM6.75 billion or 38 percent.

In actual fact, the 2006 Auditor-General�s Report was completed on 28th June 2007 and would have been submitted to the government shortly after.

Why are Cabinet Ministers only beginning to wake up now to the gross mismanagement, waste and abuse of public funds more than two months of the completion of the Auditor-General�s Report?

Would the Ministers reacted to these gross mismanagement of public funds if no publicity had been given to the Auditor-General�s Report?

Were all the Ministers aware of and had approved the explanations which the various government departments had given, some most ridiculous and most unacceptable, to the strictures of the Auditor-General�s Report and which had been tabled in the House?

Is every Minister prepared to appear before the Public Accounts Committee to personally assume responsibility for the mismanagement of public funds highlighted in the Auditor-General�s Report?

The proposal announced by the Prime Minister that Secretaries-General of ministries and Heads of Services will be offered three-year contract and their performance rewarded based on KPIs sound good on paper, but from the abysmal failure of the government to �walk the talk� of its commitment to efficiency, excellence and integrity in the past four years, there is little confidence that any major changes in civil service performance, accountability and integrity would ensue.

The reason is very simple � if the Cabinet can be so irresponsible and unaccountable as to approve a RM4.6 billion bailout of the Port Klang Free Zone scandal, without the former Transport Minister Tun Dr. Ling Liong Sik and the present Finance Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy having to assume any responsibility although both of them had unlawfully without Cabinet authority and Treasury approval given government guarantee for RM4.6 billion bonds issued by Kuala Dimensi Sdn. Bhd � the beneficiary of the exorbitant land transaction as well as turnkey contractor � and causing the Cabinet recently to give retrospective approval for the �unlawful government guarantee�, the mismanagement of millions or tens of millions of ringgit by public officials in the various ministries were mere �chicken-feed�!

How could any action be taken against errant public officials when Ministers enjoy a culture of impunity for their crimes and misdeamnours?

If Abdullah wants to send a clear message that there should be no more hanky-panky with public funds in government, then charge and prosecute Liong Sik and Kong Choy in court for their abuses of power in forcing the government to bailout the RM4.6 billion Port Klang Free Zone scandal with their unauthorized and illegal issue of implicit government guarantee for RM4.6 billion bonds without Cabinet authority and Treasury approval.

Otherwise, the horror stories of abuse and mismanagement of public funds running into tens and hundreds of millions of ringgit in the Auditor-General�s Report will continue to be an annual national shame and tragedy.


* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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