Read this Malaysiakini report and weep twice – once for poor S Subramaniam’s medical problem, and a second time for him for being given the bullsh*t runaround by the MIC.
The world came crashing down on S Subramaniam, 45 and unemployed, when he was diagnosed with a tumour on his right kidney in early June. But he saw a glimmer of hope when friends told him that MIC leaders gave financial aid to worthy cases.
After seeking advice from the MIC headquarters, he headed for the office of party deputy president G Palanivel who is also women and family development minister which oversees the Welfare Department.
That was when he met Palanivel’s private secretary, Dr Vijay Shanmugam, who listened to his plight and subsequently issued a letter of appeal to the hospital concerned to waive Subramaniam’s medical bills which was about RM2,000.
“Dr Vijay told me that I needn’t worry, as the letter would settle everything,” said Subramaniam (right), a former lorry driver.
Back at the hospital, Subramaniam was met with a rude shock when admissions staff refused to entertain the letter and demanded a RM1,000 deposit for his treatment, despite his repeated pleas.
“I was told that the MIC issue these letters all the time and that they were tidak laku (worthless),” he said, adding that he spent the whole day at the hospital as he was given the run-around to meet various admission department officers.
“I have a tumour in my kidney and doctors said it would leak anytime. But eventually, they sent me away. I was humiliated and embarrassed. If it wasn’t for that letter and assurance that I don’t have to foot the bill, I would have found ways to finance the operation,” he added.
Eventually, Subramaniam sought a guarantee letter from the Employees Provident Fund which agreed to release enough funds for his medical bills and had the kidney removed on Aug 3.
But this was not before having sought Vijay's help again, who issued another letter, this time urging the Hulu Langat Social Welfare Department to provide supporting documents for the medical bill waiver.
Even the department’s letters, was met with the same response from the hospital, said Subramaniam.
“If government institutions, such as hospitals, do not accept these letters, why is the deputy minister’s office issuing them? They have done me more harm than good,” said an upset Subramaniam, who had to travel from Semenyih to Kuala Lumpur frequently by public transport during the three-month ordeal.
Repeated attempts yesterday and today to contact Vijay at his office were futile.
Two opposition leaders known for their grassroots activities said such letters often give false hope to the lesser informed members of society.
Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) vice youth chief S Manikavasagam said Subramaniam’s cases was not isolated as he has in possession plenty of ‘endorsement letters’ signed by top MIC leaders which did not solve anything.
“Take for example the letters by (MIC president) Samy Vellu which asked local authorities to stop demolition of Hindu temple. Not even one worked,” he said.
What can we say about the new leaders in MIC? I suppose it's the same old same old.