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To save Malaysia, SOCSO should include all KKM swab certified clinics in foreign worker testing

Press Statement
26th November 2020

In a statement by Dato Seri Saravanan yesterday regarding the subsidised testing by SOCSO for all 1.7 million foreign workers in Malaysia via the Prihatin Screening Programme (PSP), the subsidy is only available if screening is done in panel clinics – of which the list and details are yet to be released. [1]

Considering the huge task to screen 1.7 million workers, the government should allow all KKM swab certified clinics to do the test and to equally qualify for the subsidy. He even acknowledged that the first phase alone which comprises 888,342 individuals in the Federal Territories, Penang, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, and Sabah is expected to take about four to six weeks to complete. [2] How is this a good plan when our numbers are rising on a daily basis and we need to act faster and on a bigger scale?

After all, isn’t the objective to get foreign workers tested as fast as possible, rather than to give a windfall profit to certain panel clinics? In fact, just a few days ago we had demonstrated how the Covid-19 tests can be done for RM70 instead of the RM150-RM180 that many of these panels are charging.  

The panel clinics involved have been pre-selected and there are no openings for other clinics to participate even if they are open to the terms set by SOCSO for pre-selected clinics. There have not been any calls for clinics to participate as a panel clinic, nor any forms or applications to fill should they be interested to do so.

This should not be the case when we should be adopting the “whole-of-society” approach in battling Covid-19. As it is, private clinics are underutilised and having more clinics operate under this scheme will save a lot of time for everyone involved.

I strongly urge Datuk Seri Saravanan, the Minister in charge of SOCSO to immediately instruct the opening up of this subsidy scheme to all KKM swab certified clinics. 

I’m calling for equality and a better response when dealing with foreign workers – in the aspect of allowing testing to be done more openly by certified medical professionals. We must all work together to successfully overcome this pandemic, and not worsen the situation. As we are all in this together, kita jaga kita.

Rajiv Rishyakaran
ADUN for Bukit Gasing



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