The Star on 30 December reported that the workers who submit false medical certificates (MCs) are committing an act of corruption comparable to making fraudulent claims. The daily was quoting an explanation from MACC's Community Education Division Officer Mohamad Tarmize Abdul Manaf on MACC's official website.
Mohamad Tarmize cited a legal precedent where an accused was charged with falsely taking two sick days with full pay from work
The MACC officer highlighted the 1972 case of Nadimuthu v Public Prosecutor, in which a Malayan Railways worker was convicted and fined under the Prevention of Corruption Act 1961 for submitting two MCs for two days’ sick leave that were found to be false as he was not ill on those dates.
He was ordered to repay the money and slapped with a fine.
The MACC officer, while hoping that people would not take sick leave and MCs lightly, added that "doctors also have a responsibility to be cautious when a patient applies for sick leave".
Confirming to The Star, MACC's Deputy Chief Commissioner (Prevention) Mustafar Ali said that fake MCs submitted to employers was an act of deceiving the principal and an offence.
He added that under Section 24 of the MACC Act, workers making false claims could be jailed for up to 20 years and a fined.
Only really ill employees qualify for sick leave and medical certificates.
However, do submitting false MCs really amount to corruption?
Not really, according to Shamsuddin Bardan, the Executive Director of Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF). He said it isn't easy to prove that submitting false MCs had an element of corruption.
It's easier for companies to take internal action against employees who submit fake MCs instead of going to the MACC, Shamsuddin added.
“For example, if a doctor is purposely issuing ‘fake MCs’ for a fee. If it can be proven that he did not examine the patient and is producing MCs, perhaps then the issue of corruption may arise,” he said yesterday.
Shamsuddin also said that many companies would not bother with the trouble of pursuing recourse via the MACC for these sort of matters.
“The hassle of going through the entire process may not be economically justifiable. When a company takes action internally, it’s much easier and would take a shorter time as compared to if they involve other institutions,” he added.
He said offenders could also be creative if need be
It also quoted MTUC Secretary-General N. Gopal Krishnan as saying that it was mostly an issue of misconduct and not corruption.
He added that using anti-corruption laws to reel in malingerers was unnecessary as such offences are different from corruption.
“If the worker knowingly bought the medical certificate, I would view that as simply cheating rather than corruption,” he added. “The majority of the companies are handling these sort of issues internally. I don’t think the MACC has to be involved.”thestar.com.my
Speaking of corruption, according to the International Anti-Corruption Academy, Malaysia is among 10 best nations in the world successful in combating corruption: