THE unity government has made yearly health check-ups for MPs and senators mandatory in Parliament. The decision was made following today’s Agenda Nasional Sihat Malaysia (ANSM) Cabinet Committee meeting.
This follows reports of nine deaths involving elected representatives from 2018 to 2020 linked to various health issues including liver problems, diabetes, heart trouble and cancer, according to Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamid.
“The screenings of Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara members for this year will be done during the next Parliament session in May,” the Bagan Datuk MP told a media conference after chairing the ANSM meeting.
“Dewan Rakyat speaker Datuk Johari Abdul has suggested for MPs and maybe Dewan Negara members to undergo screenings on a regular basis. But the committee has suggested that health screenings be conducted once a year during Parliament sittings.”
Zahid further noted that the ANSM committee which comprises representatives from several ministries had decided to launch a massive public awareness campaign.
ANSM is a 10-year wellness strategy adopted in 2020 and officially launched in 2021 during the presidency of Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob to guide the nation in making healthy living a culture as it navigates the COVID-19 pandemic.
It comprises four pillars, namely strengthening the promotion of healthy living, strengthening health promotion services, empowering personal health and strengthening environmental cleanliness.
In a statement today, the DPM’s Office said Phase One of the ANSM which ran from 2020 to 2022 had focused on planning, engagement with strategic partners and the preparation of relevant policy papers.
Today’s meeting agreed to initiatives in Phase Two consisting of policies and financial implications of the programme in the long term.
Meanwhile, Johari told The Star that MPs would soon have to undergo compulsory regular health checks to ensure they are fit for duty on Feb 28. This was in response to a recent scare in which Gerik MP Fathul Huzir Ayob experienced respiratory difficulties in the august house.
On Feb 20, Fathul ran into difficulties five minutes into his debate on the motion of thanks for the Royal Address. He was spotted loosening his tie while looking nervous and spoke in a muted tone, prompting several MPs to stand up and express their concern.
On a separate matter, approximately one in five Malaysians have diabetes, according to the 2019 National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS).
Zahid pointed out that three out of 10 people have high cholesterol, and one out of every two is obese. “Several initiatives to address this will be taken by the government via the Health Ministry, including campaigns to raise awareness involving non-communicable diseases,” he added. — March 29, 2023
Main photo credit: JPM