16 March 2022
More healthcare companies will be roped in to provide Covid-19 screening services at the country’s airports, effectively ending the current monopoly held by a private healthcare firm, the Dewan Rakyat was told today.
Deputy health minister Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali said the health ministry was informed that Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) has started the process of inviting other healthcare companies to provide the same services via an open tender.
He was answering a question by Tiong King Sing (GPS-Bintulu) on whether the government would consider opening up the RT-PCR Covid-19 screening services at KLIA and klia2 which is now only provided by BP Clinical Lab Sdn Bhd.
According to Tiong, the monopoly had resulted in the RT-PCR tests being provided at a very high cost to travellers at these airports.
“In China, people only pay 40 renminbi (RM27) while we are paying between RM300 to RM400 per test,” he said.
Noor Azmi said aside from adding new healthcare companies, MAHB was also looking into the issue of pricing.
“The ministry will look into the matter raised by Bintulu (Tiong) to ensure that the price of RT-PCR test will be reduced in the near future,” he added.
Earlier, the deputy minister said that BP Clinical Lab, which is a subsidiary of BP Healthcare Sdn Bhd, had previously been appointed by MAHB to conduct screenings at KLIA and klia2 via an open tender process.
In December last year, FMT reported that the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) had advised the government to open up screening test services at airports to more companies to encourage competition, which will reduce test prices and reduce monopoly by one company.
Earlier the same month, FMT also reported on a complaint made by the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) on the cost of Covid-19 tests at airports, which it said would discourage foreigners from choosing to travel to Malaysia.
Did you find what you are looking for? Try out the enhanced Google Search: