By Your Friendly Neighbourhood EnvironMentalist

The Finance Minister recently proposed that the Lembaga Tabung Haji be placed under the purview of Bank Negara Malaysia because of the effect its RM82 billion funds has on Islamic financing (10% of total is it) and its sway on the Malaysian stock market.

A former Finance Minister (you know who I'm talking about) claims the timing is off, that focus should be put on the economic recovery plan.

He further reiterated that Tabung Haji is not a bank. Unfortunately for the depositors, it may have well been treated as a piggy bank (apologies for linking a 'haram' animal to a religious institution) personages over a period of time. This is of course yet to be ascertained, so we will give this a benefit of doubt, until an RCI delves into it.

Let's be objective about this. Mismanagement occurs over a period of time. First, it takes an incompetent manager. Next, incompetent support staff. Meaning the whole management has failed. Third, a failed check and balance system. The internal and external auditors failed in their duty

A Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) could well uncover what really happened to the management of Tabung Haji since it was set up via Act 535 in 1995, itself dating back to Perbadanan Wang Simpanan Bakal-bakal Haji (PWSBH) under Law No. 34, 1962, in 1963.

Is now the right time for an RCI into TH operations? How far into the past should the RCI delve? Something up for debate in Parliament one wonders?!

We now move on Maybank making a RM14 million commitment for 16 ICU beds and 400 beds for general COVID-19 patients.

Even as we laud this move by this huge bank, one wonders how these 416 beds are going to be squeezed into the already cramped KL and Klang hospitals.

Is the Federal Government looking into refurbishment of existing wards, conversion of outpatient clinics into inpatient treatment centres, or, new blocks to be built to expand the capacity of these hospitals.

These are some serious points to ponder are we face the current medical crisis coming out of Covid-19 pandemic.

Malaysia's universal health care is something I am proud of, and it is an example of how taxpayer's contributions help with the lower income population.

I may not be in the B40 now. Still, under the universal health system, I pay RM1 at the Klinik Kesihatan Kelana Jaya for each visit I make. (It will be free in for me by end 2024)

RM1 covers the triage by a qualified nurse, a checkup by a competent doctor, and dispensation of medication by a qualified pharmacist. This includes the medication ya.

Once again, long term planning and implementation becomes a huge question.

On one hand, we have a load of medical graduates who can't get postings because we have inadequate positions available in existing public hospitals.

On the other hand, we have hospitals built with a central system in mind, though the district and rural clinics are a fantastic response to the needs of those living outside of cities.

Perhaps it is time to rethink our health development from the delivery perspective. Instead of just looking at how near the nearest healthcare facility is, we should consider what services are available, and how accessible it is to the person living in remote areas, or disabled or home bound.

Subang Jaya is a CITY without a government hospital, although we do have a Klinik 1Malaysia hidden somewhere in USJ1. Subang Jaya does have 2 private hospitals though, SJMC and SunMed. The same privatisation is happening in Shah Alam, PJ and many other places. And by the way, technically PPUM is in KL, on the 'wrong side' of Jalan Universiti.

Do we also need an RCI on our health services? Is it timely to review the overall needs of the country in terms of General Hospitals, District Hospitals, Urban and Rural Clinics catering to the B40?

We need to ensure a healthy population (Malaysian, expats, legal as well as illegals too) so that we can sustainably develop this nation.

Now then, let's get out of our slumber, and bank in on our future.
The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of INS.