Our health services: On a wing and prayer

On July 10, a group of friends from Klang sent out a note which among others said: “The medical services in Klang, a Covid-19 red zone, have been critically affected particularly Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital (HTAR).

“This pandemic is turning out to be an unprecedented health crisis and Klang is now ground zero in the battle against the raging chain of virus infections that has devastated lives and livelihoods across the social and economic spectrum.

“Staff at HTAR’s Intensive Care Unit are struggling to cope with the rising number of cases amid a shortage of beds, oxygen supplies and other essential needs.”

Three days later, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin visited the hospital which is struggling to cope with the number of Covid-19 patients and announced that an additional 151 beds would be placed at the Mother and Child Care Complex and the hospital would also receive another 15 ventilators.

“I have ordered (the authorities) to look into the mental health of (frontliners) and the people and ensure that the welfare and morale of health workers are taken care of,” he was quoted as saying by Astro Awani.

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin visiting HTAR in Klang

Crisis settled? Not exactly. Besides ventilators and beds, other equipment was still lacking. The fund-raising continued and on July 17, I received a note from a former classmate: “Talking about HTAR, the ordinary folks in Klang in a matter of days collected more than RM100,000 and purchased much-needed equipment (as indicated by hospital authorities) and handed over the same.

“This even included even stethoscopes. Would you believe that? And they have some excess funds. Where the government has failed (discriminated) the people stepped in. The true spirit of oneness.”

My immediate retort in annoyance was: “I do not agree with collecting money to buy equipment for government hospitals. It is supposed to be fully funded but money is being diverted elsewhere. That minister spent millions on sanitisation which brought no benefits. She refused to listen to experts. So many other instances.”

For a good measure, I quipped: “Money from the public should be used to feed the people, most of whom have been ignored and isolated by the government. By the way, if they don’t have money to buy stethoscopes, it is an indication that the coffers have been emptied by political looters.”

A week later, in jest, I asked one of the friends: “Why did you stop with the hospital? When are you starting a collection for the police station? They need two more personal computers at the inquiry office. Maybe you should consider supplying stationary like A4 paper and printer ink for to all the government offices in Klang.”

These brief exchanges of messages on WhatsApp over a week sum up the state of the healthcare system in the country. Neither here nor there, the system is struggling with insufficient equipment and overworked and fatigued frontliners and a host of other problems.

The situation is further aggravated by over-zealous bosses, some of whom themselves need to attend a course on communications and managing people.

My argument was and still is: Shouldn’t the supply of proper equipment be made available by the government? As a matter of fact, the government has allocated billions for the fight against Covid-19 and if hospitals are going out with begging bowls, then we can only assume it is mismanagement.

Subang Jaya assemblyperson Michelle Ng Mei Sze’s has chronicled the events which led to her running from pillar to post just to get an ambulance to transport a constituent to the hospital. It is a telling story on how even support services are collapsing because of the sheer numbers and that nothing is being done about it.

In her Facebook on Tuesday, she noted: “At about 10.30pm, I got an urgent call from a woman who lives in one of Subang’s low-cost flats. My assistant called various ambulance services but none could assist. He called 999 only to be told that the request had been channelled to the nearest hospital, ‘but it is up to the hospital to decide whether or not to respond’.”

Private ambulance services are charging between RM700 and RM1,400 plus RM200 to every hospital the patient is taken to. To cut a long story short, the patient was finally taken to Kuala Lumpur Hospital (HKL).

At about 2am, the assistant texted to inform Ng that the ambulance had arrived, and updated that woman’s blood pressure was soaring. They had to give her oxygen as she had difficulty breathing after walking down the stairs.

At 2.52am, the ambulance reached HKL, and had to wait under the tent outside the door for a doctor. Finally, at 7.43am, the assistant updated: “She is in the decompression room now. There are seven other people before her waiting for a bed. At least she is inside.”

One live may have been saved but how many are being lost because of the shambles the health system is in? Hopefully, the money allocated by the Treasury has not been cleaned out – yet.

In his budget speech last November, Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz said a total of RM475 million has been allocated for the purchase of reagent supplies, test kits and consumables for the Health Ministry (MOH).

Meanwhile, some RM318 million has been set aside for Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and hand sanitisers to frontliners while RM150 million was allocated to the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma).

Since then, there have been additional allocations for health services. As recent as May 22, Zafrul announced an additional allocation of RM200 million to help the ministry treat and fight Covid-19, including buying equipment.

The additional sum would make the total Covid-19 allocation for MOH this year RM1 billion. This does not include donations from the public and a whopping RM400 million from glove manufacturers.

Thumping chests and patting each other on the shoulders and claiming that Malaysia’s daily vaccination rate is amongst the highest in the world counts little when our health workers are not provided the basic equipment – stethoscopes.

If the government cannot even provide ambulance services and when patients have to wait hours to be attended to, something is severely wrong with how the ministry manages its finances and allocations.

If you have no money to buy a basic necessity such as a stethoscope, what else can be said? Where has all the money gone to? Pray tell us.

R NADESWARAN is a veteran journalist who writes on bread and butter issues.

*The views expressed are those of the author. If you have any questions about the content, copyright or other issues of the work, please contact Newswav.





他,就是美国房地产科技独角兽之一Compass的联合创办人Robert Reffkin。




旨在为房产经纪提供最利营销科技武器的Compass,在今年4月上市,各别持有6%股份的两位创始人Robert Reffkin及Ori Allon,身家马上爆涨,Robert更被誉为全美国最富有的黑人富豪之一。



英雄何必 问出处






唯在麦肯锡2年期间, 他并未获得续留转正的机会,加上10万美元存款与工作收入都全赔在股市投资上,Robert在此时决定重返哥伦比亚大学,攻读工商学硕士课程。

心存正念 贵人多






机会来了 先捉牢

2012年,Robert想申请一个非营利组织的工作,为面试准备了一份企划书(business plan),由于企划书内的点子太好,反而获得对方反建议出资50万美元让他去创办公司,还告诉他,如果1年后失败了,才聘请他在非营利组织工作。


于是,Robert联同Ori创立了Compass,一家为房产经纪提供最利营销武器的科技公司!凭着两人强大人脉, 筹得800万美元的创始资金,成为2012年筹得最多种子基金的初创企业。







该平台本来取名Urban Compass,因为平台内的经纪都是熟悉用户所在地区的“地头虫”(社区专家)。

此外, Compass与经纪之间的合作也非以绩效佣金来建立,反之经纪都是被全职雇佣,并按客户满意度获得基本薪酬和奖金。


一、Compass Collection(即时在线交互):功能包括搜索房源及预约,用户也可以给予评价和反馈,并在完成线下看房及“面签”等。用可以通过“整理清单”功能,搜索属意中的房屋,并像网购APP里的“购物车”那样,随时添加或移除。用户还可以邀请其他用户(比如家人、伴侣及设计师等)加入,在“亲友给力”功能里一起讨论。用户还可以在APP内即时跟进房价和最新状态,甚至设置“提醒”讯息的推送。

二、Compass CRM(客户关系管理):经纪业务性质是非常讲究关系建立与管理,但在“错的时间里找对的人”,很可能从此搞砸了一段关系,甚至一单生意。







另外,Compass也为购屋者提供过渡贷款(Bridge Loan),提供更优惠的贷款利率,及提供6个月短期周转贷款。








尽管面对许多相似竞争者 Zillow、Redfin等的挑战,但是Robert认为,科技的投资是必然的;20年前就不断投资科技的公司,就可以在20年后的今天跑得比同行快。




Robert Reffkin人生格言带给我们的领会:

  1. 我是C级生:从C级生变亿万富翁,Robert的人生格言之一就是“feel comfortable with being uncomfortable”,意思就是跟心里内在的不安相协共处,不安也是一种推动力,只有不断感到不安又能与之相协共处,才会一直驱动自我成长。
  2. 认命不认输:他是犹太裔又是黑人,在他认清这个身份的无法切换后,就全然接受,并且不再成为他追梦的重大阻碍。我们有时总会因为自己的出身而自我矮化,但提早认清与接受,绝对可以让你更快反击并且赢得漂亮的一战。
  3. 聚焦在强项:我们常会陷入一个思维上的误区,就是尝试把自己打造得更完美,把弱点转化为优点。但其实不完美,才是人生,更应该做的是把弱点极小化,极力专注及放大自己的强项,才能更突显自己。