Barriers to public healthcare at affordable rates for non-citizen children
Association of Family Support and Welfare Selangor and KL (Family Frontiers)
Non-citizen children (without a Malaysian birth certificate) with either parent Malaysian, and undocumented or stateless children are designated as foreigners in public medical facilities, which carry additional fees compared to citizens, as per the 2016 amendments to the Fees Act (Medical) 1951. For example, outpatient treatment for Malaysian citizens cost RM 1, while for foreigners it is RM 40. Services such as vaccinations and dental checks which are normally provided for free to Malaysian children in public schools are not extended to non-citizen children of Malaysians. Parents will have to pay an estimated total of RM 1,000 in vaccinations alone for their children—each vaccine costing RM40, and following the schedule set by the Ministry of Health for vaccinations, there are a total of 25 vaccines required from birth to the age of 15. Children with disabilities or long-term health issues will be faced with exorbitant medical costs.
Value(s) and Belief(s):
In the best interest of the child, and in line with Article 24 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, all non-citizen children in Malaysia should have access to vaccinations and public healthcare at similar rates as Malaysian children.
Proposal of Solution:
Review and reform healthcare policies concerning children with either parent Malaysian to:
1. Allow all children (up to the age of 18) with either parent Malaysian to access public healthcare at the same rate as Malaysians, upon provision of the Malaysian parent’s IC. This includes children born overseas to Malaysians who may not hold a Malaysian Birth Certificate.
2. Ensure non-citizen children participating in the national school system are included in school-related health programs, including dental check-ups and other initiatives led by the Ministry of Health (MoH).
3. Grant vaccinations and immunisation programmes free-of-charge to non-citizen children and maternal care for their mothers.
Apart from the above recommendations concerning non-citizen children born to a Malaysian parent with valid documents, healthcare policies concerning undocumented or stateless, and adopted children should be reviewed and amended to allow:
1. Access to public healthcare services for undocumented or stateless children at the same rate as Malaysians.
2. All adopted children of a Malaysian parent to access public healthcare services at the same rate as Malaysians, upon provision of the parent(s) IC.
Isu dan Polisi Semasa:
Nilai-nilai dan Kepercayaan: