Dr Koh Kar Chai emphasises need to continue engaging with govt, says doctors should take charge
KUALA LUMPUR : The Malaysian Medical Association’s (MMA) new president Dr Koh Kar Chai says healthcare reforms will be a top priority during his term, assuring that the association will take relevant issues by the horns.
“We need to take a long, hard look at healthcare reforms that are much needed for our country,” he said. “The process will take quite a few years to say the least, but I believe that MMA, being the responsible medical association it is, should take the bull by its horns.”
He said this today during his acceptance speech at MMA’s 61st annual general meeting, which was attended online by over 300 members. He takes over from Prof Datuk Dr Subramaniam Muniandy.
In his speech, he emphasised the need to continue engaging with the government on various issues concerning the healthcare system, saying that doctors should take the lead.
“We should engage more regularly and purposefully with the government on the need for reforms in our healthcare system that are in the best interests of the health and well-being of the population, whose healthcare we, as medical professionals, are responsible for.”
He said there are a multitude of issues to look at, involving both the public and private sectors.
“I believe that MMA, with its Schomos (Section Concerning House Officers, Medical Officers and Specialists) and PPS (Private Practitioner Section), is well prepared to forge ahead and tackle all the obstacles encountered and to be encountered in the reformation of healthcare in this country,” he was quoted in a media release issued by MMA.
He highlighted the issues of contract medical officers, lack of or misplaced medical personnel in the public sector, dispensing separation, medicine price control, and unequal access to secondary and tertiary care as among important matters to deal with in transforming the healthcare system.
He also expressed confidence in the Health Ministry under new leadership supported by experienced top officials.
“We have with us a seasoned director-general of health, Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, and a dynamic new Honorable Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar, whom we need to work with towards our common aspirations of a healthcare system that truly leaves no one behind, that is efficient and sustainable – one that will be the pride of us doctors and our patients,” he said.
Dr Koh graduated from Kasturba Medical College, Manipal, India. Upon completion of his MBBS in 1991, he served in public healthcare under the Health Ministry here. He then ventured into private general practice in 1994.
He has been an active MMA member for almost two decades and has been involved in many policy discussions and decisions on healthcare issues.