It is most heart-wrenching to witness yet another case of a poor family in Malaysia in a critical medical situation having to turn to the generosity of the public.
Why wasn’t our National Heart Institute able to get the necessary government funding to save the life of Eniyasri, an infant in need of urgent surgical intervention?
People in Malaysia are a generous lot who will never fail to rise to the occasion. In this case, RM90,000 was raised in less than 18 hours, thanks to yet another NGO’s effort.
However, questions need to be asked. Doesn’t this government have enough means to help deserving cases? Do the families of these patients have to go through the pain and agony of looking for funds to access desperately needed medical intervention?
If families of the sick give up hope, a life would be lost just because the hospital had put a ‘price tag’ on that life.
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How will this be translated in the “Malaysia Madani” (Civil Malaysia) political climate, where care and compassion are being peddled?
Would slogans like “Segulai Sejalai” (Iban for Together With Each Other) mean anything to a wide segment of society when they have to beg for funds to save lives?
In the early post-Merdeka days, when the country was not so developed, the Ministry of Health ensured that the poor were given free medical and surgical attention, irrespective of costs. The Ministry of Welfare was also always there for the poor to turn to with dignity.
But after decades of progress and development, have the poor now finally ended up as beggars?
Today, if you had the money and the right connections, you can get premium quality healthcare at your disposal. You could even be rushed to a private hospital that does the job done quickly – but at a huge cost. Or, if you belong to the political elite, you could even be flown across the oceans for the best treatment.
The systemic rot in our politics is to blame.
We must have the courage, the will and, above all, the sincerity to remedy this yoke that has been hung on the necks of a vast segment of society, ie the middle-income and low-income groups.
Our policymakers, elected representatives and ‘jaguh kampung’ (village champion) politicians are ever ready to sensationalise and to prioritise ridiculous and irrelevant issues like ‘Sharia-compliant’ uniforms for nurses.
Has anyone, now or in the past decades, ever shown care for and concern about how the poor have had to beg when faced with personal medical crises, without help from the government?
We pray that the present “unity government” deems the need to support the poor in their medical emergencies as an urgent national crisis. Hopefully, it will tackle this issue in the coming months.