Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Health should come under jurisdiction of both Federal Government and State Government? Constitutional Amendment needed...FMT Report(7/8/2021)

Currently, Health comes under the Federal List - which means individual States do not have the ability to set up their own hospitals, clinics and health facilities, including their own medical personnel to look after the health and well-being of the people in their own State. The ability to supplement health services is not there. That includes the manufacturing and sale of drugs - maybe even Covid-19 Vaccination. 

Look at SELANGOR, there is NO government hospitals in Petaling Jaya or even Subang Jaya. There are private hospitals but the problem is that the ordinary people, where minimum wage is RM1,200, most people still need public healthcare - best if FREE, if not at very minimum rates. Those who are willing to pay more - then they can very well use private doctors and hospitals...

After all, decision making as to where to build Government Hospitals providing FREE and affordable health care falls with the Federal Government - the Health Minister.

However, if States has the ability to deal with HEALTH - especially nowadays, where more and more States tend to be governed by different government - not the same as the Federal Government.

When the UMNO-led coalition(first the Alliance and then the BN ruled, for a very long time the ruled at Federal level and also almost all the States... but things have changed... 



14. Medicine and health including sanitation in the federal capital, and including -

(a) Hospitals, clinics and dispensaries; medical profession; maternity and child welfare; lepers and leper institutions;

(b) Lunacy and mental deficiency, including places for reception and treatment;

(c) Poisons and dangerous drugs; and

(d) Intoxicating drugs and liquors; manufacture and sale of drugs.

At present, under the Constitution, both Federal and State government have jurisdiction with regards to PUBLIC HEALTH  and prevention of disease - but which State really do have their own Public Health Department.   

Have we heard anything much about how state governments are doing about prevention of Covid-19 - We have heard mostly criticisms against the Federal government - but then, our Constitution states that the State government also have powers here... 


7. Public health, sanitation (excluding sanitation in the federal capital) and the prevention of diseases.

As it stands now, the Federal Government can come with laws and SOPs, and the States can still ADD ON with more effective laws/regulations and even SOPs. So, when the Federal Government laws/regulations or SOPs were found wanting, did the States come out with the needed laws/regulations and SOPs to deal with what is lacking.

It is easy to just FOCUS BLAME on Federal Government - but let's not forget that the State also has the power to deal with public health matters - including the prevention of diseases like Covid-19. 

Maybe, one need to look at the State Enactments and 'departments' - do they have anything to deal with 'public health' or 'prevention of diseases"? 

What we want now is for the State to also have the power to set up public hospitals, clinics, etc - and even have their own State doctors, nurses, etc 

Amend constitution to allow health autonomy in states, says activist

Lawyer and activist Charles Hector said state governments cannot move on health matters unless the federal government gives them the green light. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: The pandemic has made it clear that there is a need to amend the Federal Constitution in order to give states better autonomy on health matters, a lawyer and activist said.

Speaking at the “Human Rights Watch” online forum, Charles Hector cited issues like the closing of factories due to Covid-19 outbreaks as just an example where the state governments were unable to make their own rulings on the matter.

“One problem with our constitution is that health matters fall under the federal government. This is an impediment to state governments going forward.

“They have to get the approval of the federal government every time.

Charles Hector.

“We need to amend the constitution to give state and federal governments concurrent jurisdiction over health matters.”

Hector said it had become apparent that there was a “major problem” in that state governments were unable to dictate their own health policy.

This matter has received much attention since the pandemic struck the country and calls for some form of decentralisation of health matters have persisted.

During an online forum in June, Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii had said decentralising healthcare would let local and state governments take geographic and demographic issues into account, as well as social diversity and the ever-growing health needs of the local population.

Citing the healthcare situation in Sarawak, he said many doctors in the state were not empowered to be policy makers and that this should change if the state wanted to achieve full autonomy in healthcare matters.

In May, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng had said the implementation of pandemic SOPs should be decentralised.- Free Malaysia Today, 7/8/2021


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