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Media Statement (3) by Lim Kit Siang in Parliament on Wednesday, 30th January 2008:

One day of jail for Dr. Basmullah Yusom in Kajang Prison is equivalent to paying RM1,333 fine (so far 12 days’ jail or RM15,996 of RM120,000 fine)

Together with DAP MP for Ipoh Barat, M. Kulasegaran, I visited the Kajang Prison and the authorities have confirmed that Dr. Basmullah Yusom is serving three-month jail term for failing to pay RM120,000 fine for operating a clinic without registering it under the Private Health Facilities and Services Act (PHFSA) 1998.

Every day of jail by Dr. Basmullah is equivalent to paying RM1, 333 of the fine. He has been jailed for 12 days or equivalent to paying RM15, 996 of the RM120, 000 fines!

We were unable to see Dr. Basmullah and will try to contact his family members to see how we can be of help to ensure that he should be speedily freed from jail.

I find it most regrettable that there has been no response from the Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail in the past three days to my appeal for his intervention by invoking his revisionary powers to call up the case to quash the most unfair and unjust three-month jail sentence – the first doctor to be jailed under the PHFSA despite assurances by both the Health Minister and Director-General of Health Services that private practitioners would not be jailed over a technicality.

Why is the Acting Health Minister, Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting keeping quiet about this gross injustice in the implementation of the PHFSA?

A “Don’t Jail Doctors Blog Campaign” has been launched by medical practitioners on the Internet. The Malaysian public demand a response from the Acting Health Minister as to what he is doing to end such injustice by getting Dr. Busmallah out of jail without any delay – as Dr. Basmullah, a Universiti Sains Malaysia-trained doctor and a father of eight children, should not be spending time in Kajang Prison at all.

* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman


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