PETALING JAYA: The government should introduce a law to guarantee that all children will have access to healthcare regardless of their legal status, a consultant paediatrician, Dr Amar-Singh HSS, said today.
Free treatment and free immunisation should be extended to migrant, stateless and refugee children, and the government should also protect such children and their families from arrest and detention when they seek treatment at hospitals and clinics, he said.
He said the government had failed to adhere to a United Nations convention on children’s rights.
Speaking at a forum tonight, he said a polio outbreak in Sabah in 2019 could be attributed to the lack of access to healthcare suffered by stateless, refugee, and migrant children. “We must hold our government responsible for this,” he said.
Amar-Singh said undocumented parents feared that they might be caught and deported if they came to seek treatment at hospitals and clinics.
“We also noticed that some (healthcare) staff don’t treat them with respect and treat them as inferior individuals in society,” said Amar-Singh at the forum, organised by the Medico-Legal Society of Malaysia.
These parents also faced high fees for hospital treatment, with admission deposits ranging from RM500 to RM1,200.