‘COME DOWN HARD ON OFFENDERS’
All drivers need to be checked again and doctors’ licences must be revoked, says NGO
JUST how many public transportation drivers out there are medically unfit? This is the question that must be on people’s minds after five doctors were charged with cheating yesterday, allegedly having signed off on medical fitness tests for applicants of Public Service Vehicle licences without having conducted any tests.
Passenger safety is a matter of public interest, said Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations secretary-general Paul Selvaraj, and public transport users need to be confident that the drivers ferrying them had no health issues.
He said this was a serious matter that had a major impact.
“We are talking about public transportation here. It is a matter of public interest. I really hope the government and the author- ities come down hard on those who commit such offences, as the implications for the safety of users are far reaching,” he told the New Straits Times.
Selvaraj, of course, could not say whether there were medically unfit drivers on the road, but he said this was a matter the authorities needed to investigate thoroughly.
Stopping short of saying that it was a scam, he stressed that there must be stringent checks on doctors who were authorised to issue such health certificates.
“If there continues to be bad behaviour among these doctors, there should be action taken against them,” he said.
Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) president S.M. Mohamed Idris concurred that the issue was a serious one, as negligence could lead to loss of lives.
“Immediate action needs to be taken, and all drivers need to be checked again. The licences of these doctors should be taken away.
“I am shocked that this is happening. What’s more, it is just before Hari Raya. All the more the authorities need to urgently investigate this and get down to (the root of) this matter.
“It is another scam. CAP asks that the MACC (Malaysian AntiCorruption Commission) go after (any other) doctors (who may be involved),” he said.
In George Town, two doctors were charged in court yesterday with cheating.
Also charged with them for passing off forged documents as genuine ones were two men who acted as “runners” for the scam.
In Butterworth , two other doctors were charged with cheating as well, while in Ipoh, one doctor faced the same charge.
All but one of the doctors claimed trial to the charges.
The doctors face a maximum five years’ jail, a fine, or both, upon conviction.
The alleged runners are staring at a maximum two years’ jail, a fine, or both.