The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) is urging the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) to waive a business premises fee for general practitioner’s clinics. This would be similar to the fees waived by Shah Alam City Council of late.

MMA president, Ravindran R. Naidu said several medical practitioners were dissatisfied with the DBKL’s levy because they believe the premises license charge is “redundant”. “Furthermore, medical practitioners have registered their clinics under the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act and governed by the Medical Act 1971. Therefore, they should not be burdened with another license,” he added.

Heavy fine for clinicians who do not pay up

Ravindran also stated that some clinicians have been given notices from the DBKL as they had failed to acquire a business premises license for their clinics. In these cases, they were slapped with a fine of RM2,000. He further added that this is not the first time the MMA and Ministry of Health have raised the concern with DBKL.

However, DBKL could not oblige and merely offered a 25% “discount” on the business charge and an additional 50% reduction on parking charges outside the clinics. According to Ravindran, the ministry was not opposed to DBKL inflicting other charges on clinics including for signboard and parking. 

Rising costs a burden to GPs

Earlier this year, general practitioners in Malaysia reported concerns about the rising costs of running their clinics and some were even forced to shut down.

“With rising overheads, consumables, medicine, medical devices, staff salaries and licensing fees, standalone GPs are struggling to stay afloat. Many GPs have also been forced to close their clinics,” said Medical Practitioners Coalition Association of Malaysia (MPCAM) vice-president, Dr Raj Kumar Maharajah.

“Medicine prices increase every six months but GP fees haven’t increased for decades because we empathise with patients,” he added.

Due to these concerns, Maharajah stated that discussions are underway with the health ministry to intensify the general practitioners’ role and professional fees for clinicians to be increased. In Australia and South Africa, professional fees for private medical consultation range between RM100 and RM250. This is even without any medication.

“But here, we charge patients RM50 for consultation plus medication,” said Maharajah.

A 14.4% increase on medical consultation under an amendment to the 13th Schedule of the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services (Private Hospitals and Other Private Healthcare Facilities) Regulations 2006 was approved by the cabinet back in 2012. “However, this fee hike is only applicable for specialists and not GPs,” explained Maharajah.

“Although RM25 is the maximum we can charge (for consultation), GPs are only charging between RM10 and RM15, so as not to burden the rakyat,” he continued. The fee charged by GPs is still managed according to the 1997 MMA Fee Schedule. MIMS

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