MARCH 7 — I find it worrisome that the mySalam scheme, implemented by the government recently, is plagued by one too many restrictions and flaws. As it is right now, the B40 group might find it difficult to properly benefit from the scheme. I believe the government needs to take another good look at mySalam and address existing problems or loopholes.
Currently, this scheme hands out a one-time payment of RM8,000 to beneficiaries to cover their medical bills. However, some treatments require multiple sessions and I wonder if the patient is allowed then to make a second registration. If not, then the patient will once again find himself trapped by his financial conditions, unable to afford the medical fees. In essence, mySalam would have failed in tackling the root of the problem.
The age requirement of beneficiaries for MySalam plan was set between 18 and 55 years old, this indicates that those above 55 years old and of the high-risk groups will not benefit from it. As people age, the risk of getting a disease rises. Meanwhile, the insurance plan provided by the private sector is also very costly. Therefore the government should consider re-setting the age requirement of beneficiaries.
The average life expectancy of Malaysians is 75 years old. Will the government reconsider the age requirement of the beneficiaries so that more people can benefit? Furthermore, only those who have been diagnosed on January 1, 2019 or later are eligible for this plan. Would this not exclude many existing patients?
Apart from the existing 36 diseases, mental illness should also be included in the plan. Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad had last year said that 29.2% of adults in Malaysia suffer from some form of mental illness. Therefore the government must make good use of this plan to address the welfare problems of mental illness patients.
I hope the government will consult the relevant experts on ways to include mental illness patients as part of the plan, and not hastily implement it, as doing so would sideline patients who need assistance.
The entire plan of mySalam is impractical and not people-friendly. Unless adjustments are made to the plan and more medical experts are engaged, the plan will end up wasting taxpayers’ money and sacrifice the overall interests of B40 patients.
Instead of investing large amounts of money in this plan, it is better to upgrade and improve the existing medical services and facilities, so that the public can benefit directly.
*Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon is MCA Deputy President
**This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.