KUALA LUMPUR: A total of 823 companies have signed bank guarantee agreements with the Ministry of Health (MOH) as of February to enable their foreign workers to gain access to medical facilities at MOH clinics and hospitals.

Deputy Health Minister Datuk Lukanisman Awang Sauni said that through the agreement, the private companies are required to pay a bank guarantee based on the number of their employees.

“For example, a private company is required to furnish a bank guarantee amounting to RM2,500 if its employees reach 200 people.

“If medical bills are not settled within the allocated time frame, the bank guarantee will be deducted to cover the outstanding payments,” he said during a question and answer session at Dewan Negara today.

He said this in reply to a question from Senator Datuk Ahmad Ibrahim, who wanted to know whether the MOH would introduce new procedures for foreign patients seeking treatment at government clinics and hospitals.

Lukanisman said the ministry is reviewing the procedures regarding the establishment of deposits and bank guarantees, particularly in terms of rates and collection methods, to ensure that the amounts are adequate to cover the medical expenses of foreign nationals.

Meanwhile, he said government hospitals collected RM268 million from Malaysian patients and RM257 million from foreign patients last year.

“As for the patient arrivals last year, there were 23,197,731 Malaysian citizens, making up 96.89 per cent of the total admissions, while non-citizens accounted for 72,078 admissions, or 3.11 per cent,” he said in response to Ahmad’s supplementary question about the number of foreigners admitted to government hospitals last year.

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