Warisan's Darell Leiking demands an explanation from the government.
PETALING JAYA: Parti Warisan Sabah has demanded that the government explain its failure to collect RM50 million in unpaid medical bills incurred by foreigners.
Speaking to FMT, Warisan deputy president Darell Leiking said it was “ridiculous” that the government had allowed so much money to go uncollected when citizens were struggling with the high cost of living.
“How did this happen? Doesn’t the government have a mechanism to ensure foreigners pay for their treatment?
“This makes me wonder whether the foreigners who didn’t pay their bills are legal or illegal.”
Health Minister S Subramaniam spoke about the unpaid bills in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.
Leiking, who is Penampang MP, said he was certain that a big portion of the amount owed came from Sabah, which has a huge migrant population. He urged Subramaniam to provide a state-by-state breakdown of the bills.
“If the foreigners are legal, has the government made any effort to get their employers to pay?” he asked. “What happened to the Foreign Worker Hospitalisation and Surgical Scheme?”
The Federation of Manufacturers Malaysia website states that the Foreign Worker Hospitalisation and Surgical Medical Insurance Scheme provides coverage of up to RM10,000 to each foreign worker for treatment and hospitalisation in government hospitals.
It says the medical benefits include a third class room and board, up to a maximum of RM60 per day, and would cover injuries, accidents and sickness.
The annual premium for each worker is RM120, excluding 6% service tax and RM10 stamp duty.
Leiking said the government must ensure that employers take full responsibility for their foreign workers’ healthcare.
“Why are we allowing taxpaying citizens to pay for foreigners who don’t pay taxes and send money overseas? It should be their employers, not the man on the street who is struggling with the rising cost of living.”