Popular ‘express health screening’ service crippled

Penang MACC director Abdul Aziz Aban (third from left) with the seized items from the clinics and runners.
Penang MACC director Abdul Aziz Aban (third from left) with the seized items from the clinics and runners.

GEORGE TOWN: Seven clinics in Penang offering “express and fake” health checks for bus and taxi drivers which enable them to renew their licences were temporarily put out of service following a raid by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) yesterday.

The clinics charged between RM5 and RM30 for the “express check-up” to drivers who want to renew or apply for a fresh Public Service Vehicle (PSV) licence where health screening is required under law.

The seven clinics are located at Batu Ferringhi, Gelugor, Prai, Bukit Mertajam, and Pekan Lama (Butterworth). They had been under MACC watch since December.

The raiding party found 1,259 clinic receipts which they believed were for the “express” check-ups.

Penang MACC director Abdul Aziz Aban said officers had arrested seven doctors, including one from the government service who had stepped in for his father. A clinic assistant was also arrested.

Aziz said one of the doctors arrested told MACC officers the clinics had been offering the express service for the past 10 years.

He said the clinics operated on a referral basis, where bus and taxi drivers passed the information through word of mouth.

“We have gone undercover since December and found that this service is no secret among taxi and bus drivers in Penang.

“We have a list of those who had acquired their services. We will decide on what to do with them.

“If bus and taxi drivers do not have a clean bill of health, it may cause more accidents on the road, claiming more lives,” he said in a press conference at the state MACC headquarters here today.

Aziz said MACC officers also raided two premises and kiosks which offered fake health screening documents. Two runners from these outlets were also arrested.

Aziz said the runners were not related to the services offered by the clinics but held fake clinic rubber stamps, documents and more than 700 signed receipt books.

“One runner we caught had 700 sheets of RTD forms to renew PSV licences. He had fake rubber stamps, names of clinics and doctors which do not exist.”

All nine suspects were taken to the magistrates court this morning for a remand order.