KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 10 – The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) today defended private clinics’ RM80 medical test fee for commercial drivers, as it is lower than the legislated RM200 cap.
MMA president Dr N. Ganabaskaran also noted that the Fee Act for Ministry of Health (MOH) facilities allowed government centres to charge RM100 for similar medical examinations without investigations.
The doctors’ group initially proposed RM120 for the medical check-ups required by the Road Transport Department (JPJ) for vocational driving licence applications to cover the amount of work involved, duration of time taken, heavy responsibility, and medico legal implications.
“However, we agreed to the RM80 as a recommended figure for our members in order to help the mostly B40 drivers.
“The general practitioners (GPs) who have been charging RM80 didn’t take advantage, but exercised corporate social responsibility as the maximum fee under the fee schedule is RM200,” Dr Ganabaskaran explained in a statement.
He also clarified complaints that the revised JPJ L8A form on the new medical exam for both fresh applications and annual renewals was too long at nine pages, including the certification of fitness.
“The revised and updated form for the good driving licence, which is comprehensive, needs a thorough examination and consumes time.
“The previous one-page renewal form was also subject for abuse and some doctors were charged by MACC (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission) for signing without seeing patients in the past,” said Dr Ganabaskaran.
The previous medical exam form for fresh vocational driving licence applications was four pages long, including guidance for the form, while the test for annual renewal comprised only a single sheet.
The vocational driving licence comprises the goods driving licence (GDL) to drive any commercial vehicles that transport goods, like lorries, as well as the public service vehicle (PSV) licence to transport paying passengers, like taxis, buses, and now, ride-hailing drivers.
MMA’s stance follows the Medical Practitioners Coalition Association of Malaysia (MPCAM) that justified the RM80 fee for the new medical exam, after Transport Minister Anthony Loke criticised clinics for charging that ceiling fee.
MPCAM said the new medical check-up required for vocational driving licence applications, which came into effect October 1, could take up to 45 minutes in some complicated cases, three times as long as a 15-minute examination under the previous format.
But the doctors’ group pointed out that private GP clinics charged RM80 for both medical tests.