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KUCHING, Jan 15: The Parliamentary Special Select Committee (PSC) for Health, Science and Innovation has agreed to add necessary indemnity to doctors and general practitioners (GPs) who report suspected cases of infectious diseases under Act 342.
Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii Lee Wuen, who chaired the meeting yesterday, said the decision was among some consensus achieved on finding a middle ground for certain provisions under the Act.
“The new provisions will ensure that doctors and GPs will be better protected,” he said in a statement today.
Among those present during the meeting were Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, Health Director-General Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham, and Ministry of Health (MOH) officers.
During the discussion, Dr Yii said certain queries and concerns raised regarding the wording of the Act and certain provisions that seem to give unfettered powers were also clarified and explained by Khairy and Dr Noor Hisham.
He added that one of the more significant contentious issues was the quantum of fines, especially for corporate bodies, which the committee will further discuss and benchmark proportionately with best practices worldwide.
“The committee expresses reservations on high fines set by the government and discussed and explored other options to be considered to ensure better compliance while balancing the risk of it being abused.
“Issues of selective and unregulated enforcement, which may lead to risk of corruption, and ways to safeguard the public against that were also discussed.
“All that will be the main agenda at the next meeting,” he said.
Dr Yii further said the committee would continue to focus on the substance and policy direction of the Bill and try to achieve a consensus to ensure balance on the need for an update in infectious disease, especially when it comes to improper enforcement and victimising the most vulnerable.
“After this Bill, we need to be discussing another important but possibly contentious Bill which is a new law regulating electronic cigarettes and vaping products,” he emphasised. ― DayakDaily