PETALING JAYA: The Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act was never meant to criminalise doctors, said former health minister Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek.
“It was meant to benchmark and set minimum standards for health care in Malaysia,” he said yesterday when he contacted members of the press to comment on the recent verdict by the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court, which fined Dr Basmullah Yusof of the Al-Hilal Polyclinic RM120,000 or in default three months' jail for failing to register his clinic.
“The process of registration was also to identify the ‘real’ doctors from the bogus ones and subsequently be the basis of the setting up of the specialist registry,” said Dr Chua.
Some members of the medical fraternity had voiced their dissatisfaction over Dr Basmullah’s sentence and conviction.
He is currently serving the jail sentence after failing to pay the fine.
The Act was enforced on May 1, 2006, and a transition period of six months was given to enable compliance of the law.
Dr Chua said various dialogues had been held with stakeholders such as the Malaysian Medical Association and Federation of Private Practitioners Malaysia before the Act was implemented.
He said they understood the implementation of the Act, adding that a lot of compassion was given including providing the transition period.
“What has happened is rather unfortunate,” he said.
More than 6,000 clinics had applied for registration since the Act came into force.
“I hope the enforcement division of the ministry does not forget the undertaking that was given at that time and the spirit should be maintained. So, doctors, too, need to comply,” he said.