KOTA KINABALU: A government medical assistant has been arrested for having supplying forged health cards to food handlers in Ranau, about 110km from here, since 2014.
The 37-year-old man had forged doctors’ signatures and stamps of doctors and the government hospital on the cards and had supplied the cards to restaurant workers and even those operating at school canteens.
Police said the fraud came to light after a health department officer found out about the fake cards while checking on a food poisoning complaint at a secondary school in Ranau last month.
Sabah deputy police chief Zaini Jass said a medical officer had lodged a report after discovering that workers in at least four secondary school canteens and a restaurant had forged cards.
He said the workers had paid RM100 each for the cards, but did not go through the mandatory health checks in order to obtain the health certificate.
“This was a shortcut for workers to avoid health screenings such as X-rays, stools test or to see if they needed any vaccinations. Some of the cards even had the signature of a medical officer who had transferred to the Peninsula in January,” he said today.
Following the police report on June 25, a suspect was detained on July 10. Police later seized 25 health cards, three medical officer stamps and a Ranau hospital stamp at the suspect’s house.
It is believed the suspect had made the stamps himself.
Zaini said the cards were issued at RM1 each by the District Council. “But you have to take the card to a certified medical officer or doctor. The applicants can only work in eateries after being given a clean bill of health,” he said.
Police are trying to find out how many forged cards the suspect had distributed over the years.
“Considering that he had been doing this for some time, we urge the public to file a complaint if they know of eatery workers having such cards as this involves public health,” Zaini said.
From initial investigations, he said the applicants were not aware these were forged cards.
“However, some of the eatery operators might know. The operators might have taken the shortcut to avoid the hassle of looking for other people in the event their workers did not pass the health checks.
“If we establish this to be true, we will charge the operators as accomplices to the crime,” he added.