KUALA LUMPUR, March 23 — The Perikatan Nasional government today reversed the previous Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration’s decision to exempt foreigners from medical fees charged for coronavirus tests or treatment at government hospitals.
Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin urged migrant workers to come forward to get tested for Covid-19, but also said they must pay for testing or treatment at public hospitals.
“Even if they go to hospital, some of the costs are borne by the government for citizens only. If they’re foreign, then they must pay. But they have to do that to ensure they’re not infected,” Muhyiddin told a press conference.
CodeBlue previously reported that the Ministry of Health (MOH) issued a ruling last January 29, under the then-PH administration, to exempt foreign nationals infected with Covid-19 or who are close contacts of coronavirus patients from outpatient fees at government facilities. They do not have to pay registration, examination, treatment, or hospitalisation fees.
Foreigners who walk in for Covid-19 tests but who do not show any symptoms, however, will be charged an RM40 outpatient fee and other related charges.
According to The Edge, Malaysia registered 1.76 million migrant workers as at July 2018, but pointed out that there are 2.5 undocumented foreign workers for every documented one, which would lead to an estimated 4.4 million migrant workers in total.
Bernama reported last Friday a Rohingya group as saying that about 200 Rohingya refugees had attended a recent tabligh gathering at the Sri Petaling mosque here that has been linked to 820 Covid-19 cases so far, or about 63 per cent of the total 1,306 coronavirus infections in Malaysia.
Update at 8.20pm:
Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah later told a press conference that MOH’s January 29 circular on the exemption of medical fees at government facilities for foreigners for coronavirus cases still applied.