Health DG Denies Allegations Of VIP Culture In Hospitals

The Health Director-General said the Ministry of Health's policy is to give priority to "emergency and urgent cases".

Cover image via Free Malaysia Today & Berita Harian

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Last week, a doctor from Serdang Hospital in Selangor alleged that well-connected people and very important persons (VIPs) are allowed to cut queues at specialist clinics and emergency departments

According to the doctor, whose allegations were published anonymously on CodeBlue, the specialist clinics and emergency departments often prioritise treatment for VIPs despite the fact that almost every specialist clinic and emergency department in Malaysia faces overcrowding, a lack of resources, and inadequate personnel.

The doctor described such VIPs as heads of government departments, high-ranking officers in ministries, their relatives, Datuks, and Tan Sris, adding that this problem is common across public hospitals.

The doctor claimed in the piece published on 24 December that there would be calls from "higher ups" to check on and treat the VIPs as soon as possible, cutting the queue, despite their being in stable condition.

As an example, he cited the case of a former prime minister's bodyguard.

The doctor alleged that the bodyguard had a leg fracture from a road accident and that he was expedited to be admitted to the ward immediately, even though there were other patients who were still waiting to be assigned beds after two to three days.

File photo dated 3 January 20202 showing the waiting area of the Emergency and Trauma Department of Serdang Hospital.

Image via CodeBlue

Health Director-General Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, however, has denied the doctor's allegation, saying the Ministry of Health's (MOH) policy is to give priority to "emergency and urgent cases"

According to Noor Hisham, there's no preferential treatment for VIPs at government hospitals and they are certainly not prioritised for treatment over urgent cases involving general members of the public.

"It is important to note that the ministry's policy prioritises emergency and urgent cases first to ensure that medical treatment is provided without any delay," he told Free Malaysia Today.

Addressing the doctor in the CodeBlue piece, the Health DG asked him to "furnish facts" to support the allegations that the practice of giving priority to VIPs and well-connected people was common.

Noor Hisham also pointed out that public hospitals have no special lanes for VIPs or VVIPs.

"We (only) have a special lane for the elderly," he said, while encouraging the general public to schedule appointments to avoid congestion at public hospitals.

File photo of Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

Image via Beritan Harian

The alleged VIP culture is not just limited to hospitals.

Last year, Putra Mosque was accused of practising preferential treatment after an incident that happened during Friday prayers:

Earlier this year, a motorist was almost involved in an accident after police escorts overtook traffic by crossing the double line: