SINGAPORE: Malaysia's Health Ministry will write to Singapore to express its disappointment over allegations that there had been a delay and demand for payment before treating Justinian Tan, a Singaporean who died after an accident in Johor Baru on Aug 25, according to a report on Malaysian news portal Berita Harian.
Malaysian Health Minister S Subramaniam reportedly said on Saturday (Sep 2) that discussions with Malaysia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs to draft the formal letter are underway. He added that the letter will be handed over to the Singapore High Commissioner in Malaysia as soon as possible.
"We will wait for Singapore's response and at the same time discuss with the ministry's lawyer on further action," Dr Subramaniam said, according to Berita Harian.
Singapore media reports have quoted Mr Tan's friends as saying that the authorities were slow to respond to the emergency and that staff at Sultanah Aminah Hospital demanded payment before providing medical care.
"(The allegations) not only have a negative impact on us but also lower the morale and motivation of public health workers who work hard and are dedicated to saving lives," Dr Subramaniam said on Saturday.
His comments come a day after Malaysia's Ministry of Health (MOH) issued a statement refuting the allegations that the ambulance took 30 minutes to arrive at the scene of the accident. It also stated that the hospital had initiated the necessary imaging and referral to the Neurosurgery team without demanding for a deposit.
Mr Tan had been with five other friends in Johor Baru for supper prior to the accident. They had been heading back to their car along Jalan Dato Abdullah Tahir in Taman Abad when the incident happened.
Another member of the group, 24-year-old Brandon Yeo, was struck by the Malaysian-registered car as well. He suffered a broken femur, but has since been discharged from hospital.
Malaysian police have since arrested a 30-year-old man believed to be the driver of the car, according to a separate report by Berita Harian on Saturday.