I read with some relief, like many others, about Dr. M's progress after his bypass surgery in IJN. After all, people of my generation often see him as the father of Malaysia (not having grown up in TAR's era).
However, as happy as I am with his progress, I can't help but feel saddened for the other Malaysians who will never see the kind of care he received. Unbeknownst to many, myself included until some friends from a Singapore sniggered at this, IJN actually flew the chief of cardiac surgery from my hospital here to Malaysia to help perform the surgery. The following was taken verbatim from a bulletin board:
A: Vehement US critic Mahathir gets top US cardiac surgeon to operate on him. Does this mean he trusts his own countrymen less? LOL
B: Sure. When come to personal matter. He trust American!
C: TMM RETIRED as PM of malaysia and is entitled to all the benefits of retirement, allowances, i dont think he has to pay a sen
Not that I don't think the modern father of Malaysia doesn't deserve the best care, but rather, I wish our politicians were proactive enough and had the foresight enough to try to improve the state of healthcare in the country.
We hear about the recent scandals regarding the misappropriation of public funds. Concurrently, doctors in the public sector are underpaid and overworked. Many feel they don't get treated well. Many leave the MOH, even the country, for greener pastures. Hospitals lack the vital equipment and manpower they, or rather, the patients, need. There is a lack of research and training opportunities. But the people who make the decisions- the Menteris and politicians- do not see this to be a problem because when they need healthcare, they either go to private hospitals, or demand VIP treatment, or fly overseas. Or in this case, they fly a surgeon over. They often do not see what the average patient has to go through: the long waiting lists, the unavailability of tests, or subspecialty support.
So, while I'm glad he's doing well, it's disheartening (no pun intended) to see that the politicians are all singing the same tune "No it don't need fixing, let's spend money elsewhere (like a RM5k toolkit)" and yet when they need healthcare, they go for the special treatment.
While the average Ah Beng, Ali or Mutu waits months for a surgery.