Private Health Workers Slam Roadblocks Demanding MITI Letters

The Malaysian Medical Association, Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia, and Malaysian Pharmacists Society say private health care workers should only be required to show proof of employment at roadblocks, not MITI approval letters.

KUALA LUMPUR, June 3 — Private health care workers from clinics, hospitals, and pharmacies today complained about police roadblocks preventing them from going to work during the nationwide lockdown.

The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA), which is the largest doctors’ association in the country, stated that the authorities are stopping private health care workers from going to their work stations as they do not possess an approval letter from the Ministry of International Trade Industry (MITI).

“Two days ago, the Ministry of Health (MOH) had issued a circular stating that private health care workers will only need to show proof of their employment with the private health care facilities to the police if they are stopped,” MMA president Dr Subramaniam Muniandy mentioned in a statement yesterday.

“If they are still facing issues, it can only mean these policies have not been clearly communicated to the relevant departments at the ground level.”

At the same time, the Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia (APHM) also raised a similar concern, saying that some private health care workers are not considered as essential care providers by the authorities managing roadblocks and public transport stations.

“Private hospitals are licensed under the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act (Act 586) and there should not be any requirement of approvals from MITI and the non-clinical staff (besides doctors, nurses and pharmacists) in hospitals are required to be physically at work which is part of the service of the hospital,” APHM president Dr Kuljit Singh said in a statement today. 

“We hope that our medical consultants are given equal treatment like their counterparts in the Ministry of Health to use special lanes at the roadblocks as often there are urgent emergencies to attend to.”

MMA and APHM also emphasised that private medical practitioners conduct Covid-19 tests and vaccinate people at Covid-19 vaccination centres, besides treating their patients in private health care facilities.

At the same time, the Malaysian Pharmacists Society (MPS) also complained that their members, including community pharmacists, were required to show an approval letter from MITI to cross roadblocks. 

MPS president Amrahi Buang highlighted that the pharmacy workforce is also providing essential care by serving the public in tackling various health needs since the first lockdown that was announced last year.

“Community pharmacies are governed under the Registration of Pharmacy Act (Act 371) and the Poisons Act 1952 (Act 366), governed by MOH, and did not need CIMS or MITI approval letters prior to this latest requirement,” Amrahi mentioned in a statement today. 

Amrahi noted that the MPS has received numerous complaints from pharmacists in Penang, Johor, Perak, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Terengganu, Pahang, Kedah and Perlis, particularly on errors with the unstable MITI’s Covid-19 intelligent management system (CIMS 3.0) to get approval letters.

“Meanwhile, Johor pharmacists have also shared claims that authorities are coming to

their premises, harassing the pharmacists and demanding for the MITI letter to be able to operate,” Amrahi added. 

“MPS urges the government to provide a blanket approval to all health care professionals and their workforce from the private sector. If PDRM (Royal Malaysia Police) requires documentation, they should allow the private sector health care workforce to get their company letters signed at the nearest police station to show at roadblocks.”

MMA, APHM and MPS urged the government to look into this matter soon in order to avoid any medical service interruption. 

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