KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 14 – A doctors’ group criticised today the Road Transport Department (JPJ) for retracting its decision to impose a new extensive health test to renew one’s vocational driving licence.
The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) — which previously discussed with JPJ and the Health Ministry the new nine-page medical test format for the vocational driving licence used by e-hailing and lorry drivers — said it was puzzled why the updated JPJL8A form would now only be used for fresh applications for the licence, while those renewing their licence would revert to the old JPJL8 one-page form.
MMA pointed out that the old one-page form was previously abused by some general practitioners (GPs) who signed off without examining patients, highlighting reported cases with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
“The L8 form was updated to the L8A version to contain a more extensive and thorough medical examination in efforts to assure higher safety standards observed by commercial vehicle company operators or individual vocational drivers,” said MMA president Dr. N. Ganabaskaran in a statement.
“We are puzzled as to why we are going back to a less stricter medical examination for drivers, whom the Malaysian public will entrust their lives to, on our roads.
“If the reason for this latest move is an issue in the pricing of the medical examinations, then we urge the ministry to engage more extensively with medical practitioners who are directly responsible for conducting the compulsory medical examinations,” he stated.
Transport Minister Anthony Loke said recently that JPJ would remove the RM80 ceiling fee provision from its new L8A form, accusing clinics of taking advantage by charging commercial drivers the maximum regulated price for medical exams.
Dr Ganabaskaran said that the MMA had agreed to reduce recommended fees from RM120 to RM80 for the compulsory medical examinations and had come to an agreement with JPJ.
“There were abuses and reported cases with MACC, whereby certain general practitioners signed off without examining the patients using the previous one-page form (L8).
“It is not and should not be a case of ‘lowest price wins’ but we should be aiming for the highest standards of safety and healthcare for all concerned,” he pointed out.
“MMA hopes that there will be consultations and proper engagement between the government and all stakeholders concerning the U-turn on the compulsory medical examination for drivers in the renewal of their vocational driving licences.”