May 1, 2016 - Doctors Named In Forged Certs Told To Lodge Reports 

"Employers should be able to rely on the documents. If forgery becomes widespread, then everyone,
from doctors to patient, will suffer as a result,"

"I strongly suggest doctors to keep their MCs under lock and key, as well as a counterfoil or carbon copy which they can always refer to. They should also fill in the MCs personally instead of delegating it to their staff,"

"If one suspects a doctor is engaging in such activities, a report must be lodged. The association will then report to MMC."-  Dr Ashok Zachariah Philip

"I just dont know why there has not been any enforcement, despite this matter being highlighted by the media several times."

"The practicing certificate is renewed annually, so you will geta new number every year. If a doctor includes both their registration and praticing certificate numbers, it could help curb fake MCs from being printed and sold." - Prof Datuk Dr N.S.K Tharmaseelan

SOURCE : pdfMalay Mail


April 29, 2016 - Firemen at Higher Risk of Ill Health Nation 

“As long as firemen use the breathing apparatus provided, they should not get smoke inhalation problems. Of course, they are vulnerable to heat exhaustion and danger from fire” - Dr Ashok Zachariah Philip


SOURCE : pdfThe Star Online


April 12, 2016 - Drop in Number of HIV Patients

“Women are more exposed to AIDS in Kelantan than in other state, mostly through their spouse and boyfriend. It puts them on the top of the list compared with women in other states who are not immune to contracting HIV in similar fashion.

Perhaps the drop in HIV transmission could be because of the Health Ministry's focus on drug users,which has been ongoing for a new years now. It was an innovative programme, which drew criticism from some quaters but has proved to be effective, Kudos to the ministry for pioneering the programme "- Prof Datuk Dr N.K.S. Tharmaseelan

SOURCE: pdfNew Straits Times


April 10, 2016 - MMA: Clinical Consultation in Person the Most Secure Nation

“A person who gets the information may rat it out, or someone else may see it and spread the information further. Social media is a platform for sharing, so if you want to keep things confidential it is best to keep them away from social media.

If not done in person, it should at least be done through a recognised telemedicine facility, where it is only for doctors and patients, and the site must be well secured; For example, doctors can get upset in the course of their work and vent their frustrations on social media, but that should be a 'nono'. It may be directed at a close group of friends and acquaintances but there is always a possibility of the post being shared." - Dr Ashok Zachariah Philip

SOURCE: pdfThe Star Online



March 31, 2016 - MMA: Strict Rules Needed in Allowing Govt Doctors to do Private Work

"However, it has to be strictly regulated. How many hours will doctors be allowed to practise privately? Will they be allowed to see private patients during their office hours? What happens if one of the patients develops complications or has an emergency when the doctor is working in the government hospital. Thus, the guidelines must be rigid to prevent abuses." - Dr Ashok Zachariah Philip

"It will allow them to earn additional income. Besides, not everyone in public hospitals seeks to match the income of private specialists. They would sacrifice a bit just to stay in government services. The private sector will ultimately lure him or her into permanently opting for private practice.

The specialists should have a satisfactory key performance indicator at the hospital they work and have written permission from the government hospital director and director general of health" - Prof Datuk Dr N.K.S. Tharmaseelan

SOURCE: pdfNews Straits Times


March 20, 2016 - An Old, Unsolved Issue

"Some charge a pittance for their courses. What can they offer with such low fees? Definitely not quality education. When the matter was raised with the MMC, the council argued that anyone who qualifies from a recognised medical college - even if he or she didn't achieve the minimum entry grades - is guaranteed a place in government hospitals. And anyone who graduated from over 1,000 unrecognised medical schools abroad - despite not having the minimum entry grades - is allowed to sit for an entry exam and be trained as housemen upon passing. Medicine must have the highest dropout rate among all profeesional courses. Most medical schools don't conduct interviews or aptitude tests for students prior to admission. Academic results alone aren't enough." - Prof Datuk Dr N.K.S. Tharmaseelan

SOURCE: pdfThe Star


March 20, 2016 - Faking it for Medicine

Malaysian Medical Association president Dr Ashok Zachariah Philip wants the Health Ministry to consider a Clinical Aptitude Test for prospective medical and dentistry students. The law, he says, must be amended to ensure that anyone circumventing this requirement would not be employed by the Health Ministry. 

SOURCE: pdfThe Star


March 20, 2016 - Not Cut Out to be Doctors

"Under the existing law, the Health Ministry must give Malaysians with recognized degrees posts for housemanship. The problem is when unqualified students do medicine in less discriminating colleges. Given that these colleges are willing to bend the rules and may not have good facilities or faculties, the shortcomings of less qualified students won't be addressed. - Dr Ashok Zachariah Philip

SOURCE: pdfThe Star


March 19, 2016 - 'Emergency' Plan has Docs Hot and Bothered

"The Government should provide specific measures on what they will do instead of just declaring such a statement" - Dr Ashok Zachariah Philip

SOURCE: pdfThe Star


March 16, 2016 - Syor Perketat Syarat Masuk Pelajar Perubatan Tempatan

"Ketua Pengarah Kesihatan mengulas isu dibangkitkan Pengamal Perubatan Malaysia Untuk Tanggungjawab Sosial (MPSR) dan Persatuan Perubatan Malaysia (MMA) mengenai prestasi, tuntutan 'housemanship' dan kelayakan masuk minimum pelajar perubatan Malaysia, terutama di universiti luar negara."

SOURCE: pdfBerita Harian


March 13, 2016 - We Need Quality, Not Quantity

"We do not need to churn out more junior doctors. What we need is for junior doctors to be given proper training. Proper training can only come if their numbers are reduced." - Dr Ashok Zachariah Philip

"The freeze, to a certain extent, is justified. It certainly contained the production of new doctors, at least from local medical universities. However, the same cannot be said for overseas institutions. Anyone enrolling in the more than 350 recognised medical colleges abroad can return home and apply for a job. They can also enrol in more than 1,000 unrecognised medical colleges worldwide with unacceptable grades and return home to sit for an exam to get a job.

With the freeze and more hospitals becoming training centres, the problem of a shortage of doctors can be overcome if more hospitals are built. Converting even five hospitals per year should ease the problem. Even private medical colleges can pool resources to build and share training hospitals. Just a decade ago, we were complaining of shortage of doctors. We went on a fast-track system and built so many private medical institutions without the necessary infrastructure, thus leading to the glut.

We have a large base of doctors, house officers, but, like a pyramid, we have few specialists on top. We must ensure quality specialists as Malaysia is becoming an international health hub. This year, we'll be crossing the mark of 50,000 doctors in Malaysia. We can accommodate them if we build more hospitals and transform most of the existing hospitals. This followed by distribution of doctors to rural areas, means we will be able to accommodate all of them, if there is a permanent freeze." - Professor Datuk Dr N.K.S. Tharmaseelan

SOURCE: pdfNew Sunday Times


March 12, 2016 - MMA: Ministries Disagree on Medical Graduate Numbers

"The Higher Education Ministry does not see any problem with producing so many of these graduates. Only the Health Ministry knows how hard it is to train each and every one of them. Our impression is that the Higher Education Ministry does not seem to appreciate the problems of the practitioners." - Dr Ashok Zachariah Philip.

SOURCE: pdfThe Star


March 1, 2016 - Medical Course Freeze Extended

The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) agreed with the ministry's decision to extend the freeze. MMA President Dr Ashok Philip said there had been an increase in specialist courses.

"Doctors can opt to sit for internationally-recognised examinations, such as Membership of the Royal Colleges of Physicians of the United Kingdom and Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons, to become specialists."

SOURCE: pdfThe New Straits Times


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February 29, 2016 - Expert: Make insect screens a must in new buildings

Malaysian Medical Association president Dr Ashok Zachariah Philip said insect screens and mosquito netting were effective — though not 100 percent — in reducing mosquito bites, which led to a reduced dengue incidence. “However, I think it is not one of the things that should be legislated. Education is the best way. “Also, it is uncommon to find mosquitoes higher than the fifth floor, so insect screens may not be necessary (for higher floors).”

SOURCE: pdfThe New Straits Times | NSTOnline


February 17, 2016 - Medicine Pilferage "A Matter of Culture"

"It is well known that it happens. They shouldn't do it as it is wrong. After all the government provides them with free medical care. I hope they (authorities) get on top of the situation.

We have been hearing about the computerised system for years. At present, only four government hospitals nationwide are fully equipped with the system, while log-books and bin cards are prevalent record-keeping methods." - Dr Ashok Zachariah Philip

SOURCE: pdfThe Sun Daily


Februari 12, 2016 - Jumlah Pengambilan PPS Kekal, Diteruskan

"Cadangan itu bagi mengelakkan graduan perubatan terpaksa menunggu terlalu lama kerana ketika ini ada yang terpaksa menunggu sehingga lapan bulan sebelum ditempatkan sebagai doktor pelatih." - Dr Ashok Zachariah Philip

SOURCE: pdfBerita Harian


Februari 11, 2016 - Hospital Kerajaan Tak Dapat Tampung Doktor Pelatih; MMA cadang pengambilan pelajar perubatan dikurangkan.

"Ini berbeza dengan keadaan sebelum ini di mana doktor baharu hanya perlu menuggu paling lama dua bulan. Saya berpendapat, jika masalah ini tidak diatasi atau tiada langkah penambahbaikan di buat, dalam lima atau lapan tahun akan datang, bukan sahaja sukar, tetapi mungkin tiada tempat untuk doktor pelatih."

"Penambahan tempoh itu menyebabkan graduan perubatan baharu terpaksa menuggu lama kerana tiasa kekosongan di hospital kerajaan. Bagi mengatasi masalah ini, kerajaan sama ada perlu menambahkan bilangan tempat doktor pelatih dengan membina lebih banyak hospital atau mengurangkan bilangan graduan perubatan." - Dr Ashok Zachariah Philip

SOURCE: pdfBerita Harian


February 3, 2016 - MMA: Do Not Overreact, Focus on Dengue Instead

"We should not overreact and spend so much money and effort on Zika which is not a big public health problem but worry more about dengue that has killed a lot more people. Unless there are reliable and reasonably cheap blood tests like the rapid screening test which are hard to come by, it will be very difficult to diagnose Zika.

Nothing too extreme. It is a good idea to have a travel advisory but not a travel ban. That is not necessary. We should be concerned about mosquito-breeding spots and isolation of those infected. We should generally be concerned about mosquito-borne viruses. If we cannot control mosquito breeding, how are we going to control these viruses? Controlling mosquito problems should be the emphasis. We should screen travellers through temperature screening. Other than that, there is no specific and quick diagnosis." - Dr Ashok Zachariah Philip

SOURCE: pdfMalay Mail Online


February 2, 2016 - Zika Virus Outbreak Triggers Questions on Abortion Laws

“As a society, we must seriously consider whether to liberalise abortion in Malaysia or provide more social support to women and their families if the foetus is found to be abnormal. In the case of Brazil, abortion is largely prohibited because it is a predominantly Roman Catholic nation.

Malaysia is not ready to support families with infants who have microcephaly. The question is, will a doctor undertake the risk of performing a non-life threatening abortion and face prosecution from the authorities?” - Dr Ashok Zachariah Philip

"Even in permissible instances, if the woman happens to die during the procedure the doctor can be charged with manslaughter. What is important is informed consent, a cornerstone for all medical aspects. The patient must verbally affirm she understands all the factors involved. Even a signed document is of little use since she must be present to confirm it, which would be impossible for obvious reasons.” - Dr H. Krishna Kumar

SOURCE: pdfMalay Mail Online | MalayMailOnline


February 2, 2016 - Councils Play Big Part in Dengue Fight

"Local councils should increase checks on premises for the breeding of Aedes mosquitoes. A zero-tolerant policy should be mandatory for constructions sites found to be Aedes breeding grounds. Having vector control units with doctors, similar to that of City Hall, is a step in the right direction." - Dr Ashok Zachariah Philip

SOURCE: pdfNew Straits Times


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January 30, 2016 - Health Ministry on Alert for Zika Virus Infection

"We have yet to conduct blood tests on mosquitoes here. As such, we are not sure of any Zika virus infections in the country" - Dr Ashok Zachariah Philip

SOURCE: pdfNew Straits Times


January 8, 2016 - A Cold Line Between Life And Death

“If windows are open, this may allow flies to enter, which can lead to infections. Imagine the sweat dripping on to a patient while a doctor is performing a procedure. This can also cause infections,Thus, repair work should be done as soon as possible.” - Dr Ashok Zachariah Philip

SOURCE: TheStarOnline | pdfThe Star


January 7, 2016 - MMA To Meet Experts On Claims of Docs’ Undeclared Income

"After this, we will seek a meeting with the IRB as well to discuss the matter. This is a normal practice. Doctors set up their own companies and then hire an accountant to advise them with taxes because we (doctors) don’t have the time and expertise to do so. For example, if you are sick, you will get a doctor’s advice and do as you are told, right? Same thing here, we get consultants to advise us on our income tax.

It is not fair on them (doctors) as they were acting on the professional advice of the tax consultants they hired. If at that time they were not told about this problem with their companies, what is the rationale for backdating the taxes a total of five years?” - Dr Ashok Zachariah Philip

SOURCE: FreeMalaysiaToday | pdfFree Malaysia Today


January 7, 2016 - Doctors Cry Foul After Failing To Keep Taxmen Away

"As such, they say, income has been wrongly declared, there is a shortfall in tax and LHDN is backdating this for five years and applying a 100% penalty. Furthermore, many of the doctors involved had been audited within this fiveyear time frame. If at that time they were not told about this problem with their companies, what is the rationale for the fiveyear backdating?

Is there a need to bankrupt individuals who have been practising lawfully, until LHDN suddenly changed what had been (its) practice since independence? Our fees are capped by the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act. Our patients, looking at hospital bills, do not realise that only about 10% to 30% of it is the doctor's portion. The vast majority goes to the hospital, whose fees are totally unregulated." - Dr Ashok Zachariah Philip

SOURCE: TheMalaysianInsider | pdfThe Malaysian Insider


January 7, 2016 - MMA: Doc Who Stayed To Help Did The Right Thing

"At the same time, she did not let him die on the roadside. She made sure she was there. I think that is the best. If they (patients) do not want you to touch them, then you don’t touch them. You need their consent but you also don’t want him to suffer the consequences of such behaviour. When you are involved in an accident, patients can be in shock, especially with a fracture like that, they might not be behaving as they normally do.

It’s not only by the roadside. People in the emergency room can be quite aggressive towards the doctors as well. Many of us learn quite early in our careers not to take it personally. If it’s a social or random situation, then I suppose you would behave like any normal human being. You may get upset. But if it’s a professional situation, you make sure the patient is all right” - Dr Ashok Zachariah Philip

SOURCE: TheStarOnline | pdfThe Star | FreeMalaysiaToday | pdfFree Malaysia Today


January 6, 2016 - 50% Rise in Dengue Deaths

"Most Malaysians are quite aware of the dangers of dengue but they don’t proactively go around and try and prevent it. They just take care of the areas around their house and that’s about it. That is where the breeding grounds are. Many of the hotspots are close to construction areas" - Dr Ashok Zachariah Philip

SOURCE: TheStarOnline | pdfThe Star


January 4, 2016 - Rising Overheads Forcing Private Clinics to Close

"This can be a bleak trend for private doctors now and in the future if things do not change for the better; There are far too many doctors being produced by the medical universities every year, and this is not good if there are not enough postings in government hospitals and clinics; There is a need to have more postings to cater to demand and sadly, these are not expanding accordingly" - Dr Ashok Zachariah Philip

The high number of clinic closures is due to several factors, including:
» overhead cost of setting up a clinic, which has increased 10 fold from RM 20, 000 - RM 30, 000 to RM 100, 000 RM 200, 000?
» increasing cost of medical equipment and supplies?
» increasing cost of medicines due to the GST?
» patients moving away from private clinics to 1Malaysia clinics and government health clinics and hospitals?
» increase in the minimum wage for employees?
» costs related medical indemnity requirements by insurance companies, the Personal Data Protection Act and annual licensing fee.

SOURCE: TheSunDaily | pdfThe Sun Daily


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December 30, 2015 - MMA Believes Screening Will Stop Influx of Medical Grads

"Instead, what we see now is a situation where the number of doctors are overwhelming the capacity of the government to absorb them, causing long delays between graduation and housemanship. Once the housemanship is over, the search for medical officers posts begins. These are also nearly full.

The MMA feels that any such college's licence should not be reissued to another body. In the long term, the only solution to the current problem is to equalise supply and demand, reduce the number of colleges, and increase the number of public health facilities.

The MMA Advocates a clinical aptitude test, as used in many countries, to weed out those who do not truly feel passionately about becoming doctors. The only way to handle the stress of being a doctor, especially in the early years, is by having a passion for the job that will carry them through" - Dr Ashok Zachariah Philip

SOURCE: TheMalaysianInsider | pdfThe Malaysian Insider


December 28, 2015 - Doctors Say Move is Based on Sound Science

“A high coverage rate of between 90 and 95 per cent is needed for herd immunity. This way, even people who cannot get vaccinated due to allergies or immune deficiencies will be protected,”  - Dr Ashok Zachariah Philip

SOURCE: NSTOnline | pdfThe New Straits Times


December 06, 2015 - Don’t Work in Private Hospitals if You Cannot Accept Dress Codes, Medical Association tells Healthcare Staff

"A private hospital should be allowed to draw up their own dress codes, so long as they do not contravene any law. All employees should be informed about the dress code. If they feel they cannot accept it they should not accept the job.

Any dress code in hospitals must be based on scientific evidence. If there is evidence that long sleeved tunics spread infection from patient to patient, we must see how this can be overcome" - Dr Ashok Zachariah Philip

SOURCE: TheMalayMailOnline | pdfThe Malay Mail Online


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November 28, 2015 - Act to Ensure Country has Regulations on Artificial Reproduction

“Commercial surrogacy is not legal in Malaysia. But there is a grey area if a woman becomes a surrogate mother without any remuneration. Problems can also arise if the surrogate mother does not want to give up the baby” - Dr Ashok Zachariah Philip 

SOURCE: TheStarOnline | pdfThe Star Online


November 22, 2015 - MMA: Vaping a Health Issue, Not Economic | MMA: Focus on Health Issues of Vaping

"Long-term damage to the organs may take 15 or 20 years to develop, the fact is that food additives are safe when taken orally, but have not been tested as inhalants, the harmlessness of all these additives must be studied and confirmed before claims are made. The ‘benefits’ of vaping are either limited or illusory while the potential ill-effects, especially to the young, are very real.

If it is true that e-cigarettes are significantly more effective for smoking cessation, then it can be offered as a therapeutic option in a smoking cessation clinic” - Dr Ashok Zachariah Philip 

SOURCE: TheStarOnline | pdfThe Star Online / TheStarOnline | pdfThe Star Online


November 21, 2015 - Benefits of Vaping Illusory, says Malaysian Medical Association

"What are the health issues? Firstly, e-cigarettes have not been around long enough for anyone to claim with certainty that they are safe for longterm use, if e-cigarettes were used purely for smoking cessation, a case could be made for saying that they are reducing harm. However, many people who now vape have never smoked before.

To take a wellknown example, people who try the 'cinnamon challenge' quickly realise that cinnamon, delicious when taken orally, is a serious irritant when inhaled. The harmlessness of all these additives must be studied and confirmed before claims are made," - Dr Ashok Zachariah Philip 

SOURCE: TheMalaysianInsider | pdfThe Malaysian Insider


November 21, 2015 - Focus on Health Issues of e-cigarettes, Not on Economic Wellbeing of Dealers - MMA

"Common sense and caution suggest that inhaling volatile active chemicals into delicate tissue lining the air sacs of the lung is more likely than to have damaging effects, if it is true that e-cigarettes are significantly more effective on smoking cessation, then it can be offered as a therapeutic option in smoking cessation clinic.

However, many people who now vape have never smoked before. Many young people, seduced by the 'cool factor' and buying the propaganda that e-cigarettes are harmless, have taken up this habit. Even if e-cigarettes are only five percent as harmful as tobacco cigarettes, this not a trivial health risk for someone who has never smoked.

I believe that the benefits of vaping are either limited or illusory, while the potential illeffects, especially to the young, are very real. The MMA strongly supports the Ministry of Health in its initiatives against vaping, which are clearly motivated by concern for public health," - Dr Ashok Zachariah Philip 

SOURCE: Bernama | pdfBernama / AstroAwani | pdfAstro Awani


November 11, 2015 - Press Digest: Danger of Vapers Using Drugs

"As far as I know, the Health Ministry has contacted several professional bodies but has yet to meet MMA for discussion.

"However, we have already stated our stand to support the regulation of e-cigarettes and e-liquids." - Dr Ashok Zachariah Philip

SOURCE: TheSunDaily | pdfTheSunDaily


November 9, 2015 - 1,000 Students Drop Out Due to Poor Command of The Language

"Despite having completed their housemanship last year, they are no longer keen to be doctors. The main reason was poor grasp of English. This is not good for the medical fraternity and does not augur well for the nation if stakeholdes do not execute some plans to improve the standard of English"

"There must be an urgency to improve the grasp of the language at the primary level. Otherwise, the quality of doctors will go downhill. The quality of our students are compromised due to their inabilities to communicate in English." - Prof Dr M. Nachiappan

SOURCE: TheStarOnline | pdfThe Star


November 9, 2015 - Doctors: We Were Told Items Had Run Out

"Many complained of not getting the kits and others who asked for more didn't get them. The clinics were supposed to return used kits to get new but were told the kits had run out." - Dr H. Krishna Kumar

SOURCE: TheMalayMailOnline | pdfThe Malay Mail


November 8, 2015 - We Are Not Insects

“No studies thus far have pinned the blame on any chemical or pesticide as the cause of Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, a Down Syndrome is due to a chromosomal abnormality during foetal formation, not pesticides,” - Prof Datuk Dr N.K.S. Tharmaseelan

SOURCE: TheStarOnline | pdfThe Star


November 1, 2015 - Antibiotik Bukan Macam Makan Gula-Gula

Isu mengenai penggunaan ubat antibiotik menjadi perbincangan hangat dalam kalangan masyarakat. Ada yang kata, antibiotik bagus kerana cepat menyembuhkan penyakit tetapi sebenarnya boleh memudaratkan sehingga sesetengah negara maju sudah menghentikan penggunaan antibiotik kepada pesakit. Wartawan Berita Harian Ahad (Mohd Anwar Patho Rohman dan Fairuz Zaidan) mendapatkan penjelasan lanjut Presiden Persatuan Perubatan Malaysia (MMA), Dr Ashok Zachariah Philip dan Timbalan President Persatuan Farmasi Malaysia (MPS), Amhari Buang.

"Tiada Keburukan mengenai antibiotik, tetapi (keburukan) hanya datang jika seseorang itu tidak habis memakannya" - Dr Ashok Zachariah Philip

SUMBER: pdfBerita Harian


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October 28, 2015 - Penguatkuasaan di Farmasi Perlu Diperketatkan

"Kementerian Kesihatan melalui Bahagian Farmasi harus pergi ke farmasi dan membuat pemeriksaan. Lihat berapa banyak antibiotik yang dijual dan berapa banyak pula preskripsi yang mereka (farmasi) ada. Jika yang terjual beribu-ribu tetapi preskripsi hanya ada beratus, mesti ada sesuatu yang tidak kena dengan farmasi itu"

"Bukan sahaja antibiotik tetapi ubat kawal lain seperti darah tinggi dan kencing manis juga tidak boleh dijual tanpa preskripsi. Farmasi memang tahu mengenai ubat tetapi mungkin tidak faham mengenai penyakit. Melalui Persatuan Farmasi Malaysia (MPS), ahlinya boleh bekerjasama dengan doktor mengenai kesan dan bahaya sesuatu ubat" - Dr Ashok Zachariah Philip

SUMBER: pdfBerita Harian


October 24, 2015 - GST Exemption For Controlled Medicine Will Improve Public Healthcare - MMA

"Allocation for haemodialysis proves the government is serious about cost of living since the treatment is costly over the long term" - Dr Ashok Zachariah Philip 

SOURCES: pdfBernama | pdfAstro Awani


October 22, 2015 - MMA: Even Healthy Individuals Can Be Affected

"We have always thought that only those with respiratory ailments will be affected by the haze. But I think it can affect healthy individuals in the long term. Expect illnesses to spread quickly. The Haze has caused an increase in upper-respiratory problems, possibly by as much as 20% and the extended duration is only expected to make things worse. The upper-respiratory tract begins at the nose, passes the throat and ends at the trachea. The particles suspended in the haze can also cause ear, nose and throat problems."

"But in Healthy individual, these issues will generally resolve themselves. We don't expect permanent damage at this stage, but it is too early to be certain. The airway is lined with mucous and cilia (hair-like fibres) that help the body expel the particles that build up along the throat."

"It is not just the ministry that needs to do this. Hospitals also need to tabulate the data. The haze is a recurring problem and needs to be studied" - Dr Ashok Zachariah Philip

SOURCE: pdfMalay Mail


October 7, 2015 - Kids Most at Risk from Repeated Exposure

"Children's lungs, especially the inner membrane, are tender, sensitive and more susceptible. Thus, children need to be more careful and should not be exposed to the haze. Closing schools is a good preventive measure, as children are more vulnerable because of their fragile lungs. The haze is more damaging to children."

"They are more prone to asthma attacks and may develop other chronic respiratory problems. Those with existing problems, such as asthma, will see an exacerbation of their condition. They must ensure that they have their medication on hand, and (those with asthma) should carry their inhalers at all times, as the haze can trigger acute asthma attacks - Prof Datuk Dr N.K.S. Tharmaseelan

SOURCE: pdfThe New Straits Times


October 7, 2015 - TPP Wont Increase Medicine Prices

"Patent linkage to check whether the drug is patented has been rejected. (Because of this), the entry of generic drugs into the market should not be hampered too much, so drug prices should not go up" - Dr Ashok Zachariah Philip

SOURCE: pdfThe New Straits Times


October 7, 2015 - MMA Wary of Length of Data Exclusivity for Drug Patents

“We believe there is an extension (of data exclusivity) from what the International Trade and Industry Ministry told us but we do not know how long it will be. We feel it should not be extended beyond five years, as currently practised in Malaysia,” - Dr Ashok Zachariah Philip

SOURCE: pdfThe Star Online


October 3, 2015 - Move to Ban Vaping, Shisha Gets Thumbs Up from Medical Community

PETALING JAYA, Oct 3 — The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) will support any move by the government to ban e-cigarettes and Shisha smoking under a “better safe than sorry” policy. Its president Dr Ashok Philips said Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya’s statement that the government may impose a ban on vaping devices and its nicotine “juice” was a positive development.

“Should research determine that these devices are not harmful, then it would not be an issue to overturn the ban. But if people are allowed to vape and some adverse health effect is discovered later, you can’t retract or overturn health problems that arise,” he said, adding that such a ban should be enforced strictly.

Dr Hilmi, in making the statement earlier yesterday in George Town, had said that the ministry was doing comprehensive research on the matter and getting feedback from experts.

“Perhaps we need to ban it once and for all just like Thailand and Singapore,” said Dr Hilmi.

He dismissed the widespread belief that vaping was less harmful than cigarettes as untrue, saying the vapour and smoke were both potentially carcinogenic. Dr Ashok said there was a lack of solid medical evidence on the safety of the devices and chemicals used in vaping devices. It has been claimed that these devices contain a lower dose of toxic chemicals, making them “safer” then cigarettes.

“The reality is we are looking at an unregulated industry where any substance can be added into the fluid that is vapourised,” Ashok said.

He said the exact composition of the fluid used could not be regulated, with the possibility of manufacturers adding potentially poisonous ingredients or illegal substances into them.

“We hear of people putting anything they want into it. It is not a new matter as these devices have been around for some time but legislation has yet to catch up,” he said.

On whether shopping centres and business outlets should allow vaping, he said it was up to them.

“But personally, I would not recommend it. It is better to play it safe until solid evidence is established on whether vaping devices are safe,” he said.

SOURCE: The Malay Mail Online


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September 28, 2015 - Hospital Kerajaan Jadi Pilihan - SOURCE: pdfBerita Harian


September 20, 2015 - Braving The Haze

"Be sure to create a healthy environment indoors. It should be haze-free by closing all windows and ventilation outlets. The home can be filled with millions of haze particles if there is access. It's a good idea to invest in air purifiers and air-conditioners with special filters."

"Drink at least two litres of water a day. Staying hydrated is essential. A well-hydrated body will assist in excreting haze toxins absorbed by our lungs and skin. This will assist the kidneys, which need to function more effectively to excrete toxins. Lack of hydration during these stressful times for the kidneys may affect kidney function in the long run."

"Abstain from alcohol and coffee as they result in dehydration. A healthy dies is important at all times, but in hazy days, it is crucial. Fasting may not be a good idea during these times."

"Make sure you have a sufficient daily intake of protein, calcium, refined carbohydrates and good fats. A balance diet should provide the body with adequate fighting capabilities."

"As simple as it may be, many people forget basic hygiene in these "smoky" times" - Prof Datuk Dr N.K.S. Tharmaseelan

SOURCE: pdfNew Sunday Times


September 6, 2015 - Only Post Pictures with Patient's Consent, MMA Tells Doctors

[Malaysian Medical Association president Dr Ashok Zachariah Philip has issued a warning to doctors after a photo of a woman doctor posing next to a patient giving birth went viral]

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 6, 2015 (The Raykat Post):
The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) has warned doctors against posting pictures of patients’ body parts unless consent was received. This warning, by MMA president Dr Ashok Zachariah Philip, comes after a photo of a woman doctor posing next to a patient giving birth went viral.

“It is my understanding that the picture was taken some time ago, but has only recently attracted attention, mainly because it contains the unclad lower regions of a patient". The Malaysian Medical Association strongly advises doctors to ensure that any photograph that contains any part of a patient should only be posted with that patient’s explicit written consent.

“Furthermore, we would like to urge doctors to be moderate and temperate in their language when commenting,” Dr Ashok said in a statement today.

The picture, allegedly taken at a government hospital in Johor Baru, showed a doctor with her right hand on the woman’s private parts. In a response on Facebook, Health Ministry director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the case was currently being investigated and vowed that action would be taken as soon as possible. Dr Ashok lamented that while the ministry had spoken about penalties if the doctor contravened regulations, the media had been portraying the issue as if the doctor was already found guilty and punished, advising otherwise.

“Please exercise patience and restraint, and remember the principle of ‘innocent until proven guilty’. “Furthermore, we would also urge that any punishment be commensurate to the intentions of the offender and any actual damage done,” he added.

SOURCE: The Rakyat Post


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August 31, 2015 - We Must Check Health Status of Illegal Immigrants

According to a Malaysian Medical Association press release, about 17,981 foreign workers or 47% of those tested last year were infected with tuberculosis (TB)

SOURCE: pdfMalay Mail


August 25, 2015 - MMA: Set Up Secure Site With Complete Details of Prospective Locums

"In most cases, the credentials is genuine and no issues arises. However occasionally forged credentials may be used and if this happens, it is difficult for the doctor employing the fraudster to detect" - Dr Ashok Zachariah Philip

SOURCES: pdfBernama | Borneo Post Online | pdfMalay Version


August 25, 2015 - Restrict USE of e-Ciggies

"E-cigarettes are seen as hip and trendy, which tempt young people to try. As youngsters are easily influenced, it would be best to restrict advertising and marketing of e-cigarettes in the same way that cigarette marketing is restricted” – Dr Ashok Zachariah Philip

SOURCE: pdfThe New Straits Times


August 24, 2015 - Experts Call for Radical Steps

"Strict prevention and early detection of smoking among Malaysia's young are important to prevent complications and the risk of developing mental illnesses" - Dr Ashok Zachariah Philip

SOURCE: pdfThe New Straits Times


August 24, 2015 - Ages 18 to 21 a Critical Time To Stave Off Smoking Habit

"If the smoker then cuts down or stop smoking, the nicotine stimulation will drop, and the subject feels irritable, fatigued and out of sorts. If he or she can tolerate the symptoms for a few weeks, the number of receptors will recover, and the withdrawal symptoms should be allevitated. However, the severity of symptoms vary widely, and in some people, it may be so severe that even nicotine replacement with chewing gum or skin patches cannot help them to quit." - Dr Ashok Zachariah Philip

SOURCE: pdfThe New Straits Times


August 19, 2015 - Stop Vaping Until Official Study

"Currently, there are no regulations on these harmful devices. I hope the ministry will do something about it. I also personally hope people will stop smoking because it is harmful" - Dr Ashok Zachariah Philip

SOURCES: pdfThe Star Online | pdfWorld News 24S


August 18, 2015 - MMA Gesa Haram Rokok Elektronik

“Walaupun peranti rokok elektronik baru sahaja dipasarkan dan belum dilakukan kajian secara jangka panjang, namun besar kemungkinan ia membahayakan. Malah, cecair mengandungi nikotin yang digunakan untuk ‘vaping’ tetap berpotensi menyebabkan terjadinya tabiat dan ketagihan. Oleh itu, kementerian patut menimbang untuk mengharamkannya atau sekurang-kurangnya mengawal selia penggunannya seperti yang dilakukan terhadap rokok,” – Dr Ashok Zachariah Philip

SUMBER:  pdfHarian Metro


August 17, 2015 - MMA Urges Health Ministry To Consider Banning E-Cigarettes

"Nicotine containing liquids used for vaping still have the potential to cause habituation and addiction" - Dr Ashok Zachariah Philip

SOURCE: pdfBernama | pdfBorneo Post Online | pdfThe Malaysian Times


August 16, 2015 - The Vape Dilemma

"The vapour produced has fewer toxic chemicals than cigarette smoke, but the nicotine remains" - Dr Ashok Zachariah Philip

SOURCE: pdfThe New Sunday Times 


August 11, 2015 - Dont Rush Into Signing The TPPA, MMA Urges Government

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 11 (Bernama) -- The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) has urged the government not to rush into signing the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), which it said may have adverse effects on the nation's healthcare system.

MMA president Dr Ashok Zachariah Philip said the government needed to study thoroughly the TPPA in order to safeguard the healthcare system and the people's welfare.

"We have met with the Health Minister and the International Trade and Industry Ministry regarding our concerns. However, due to the veil of secrecy surrounding the negotiations, we remain uneasy about the potential outcome," he told a news conference at the MMA head office here, today. He added that on Aug 4, the MMA had submitted a memorandum to the government to highlight its concerns.

Dr Ashok said one of the key concerns was the possibility that the TPPA would allow the patent period of a drug to be extended to more than 20 years, thus preventing production and deny many patients the opportunity to obtain generic drugs that cost cheaper.

"We are also very concern about the Investor-State Dispute Settlement Mechanism, as it is to benefit multinational companies more than developing countries," he said. MMA was also against the extension of data exclusivity period of the drug, which under the TPPA could be extended up to more than seven years. It is also urging the government to carve out tobacco control measures from the TPPA.

The TPP negotiation is participated by 12 countries, namely Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States (US) and Vietnam, which in total represent 40 per cent of world's gross domestic product. However, leaders to the latest TPP Ministerial Meeting held in Hawaii, US, on July 28-31, 2015 had failed to seek an agreement, after five years of negotiations.

SOURCE: pdfBernama | pdfMalay Version





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