Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Policy to address medical issues faced by migrants in Malaysia, says UNHCR rep

KUALA LUMPUR: More than 150,000 refugees in Malaysia will have access to medical security, thanks to a new insurance scheme.

The Refugee Medical Insurance Scheme (Remedi) is fixed at RM164.30 annually per refugee, for hospitalisation and surgical coverage of RM10,000.

UNHCR representative in Malaysia Richard Towle said the collaboration with RHB Insurance Bhd on the scheme was the correct way to deal with the medical issues faced by refugees in Malaysia.

“This model doesn’t rely on the Government or taxpayers. In fact, it relieves Malaysian taxpayers because the cost of medical treatment is covered through the commercial transaction itself,” he told a press conference at RHB Centre yesterday.

Asked how the refugees could afford to pay for the coverage, Towle said while refugees were not allowed to work legally, they often found “3D” (dirty, dangerous and difficult) jobs to sustain themselves.

“We don't encourage people to break the law in this country but the reality is they need to work to survive,” he added.

Families of five or fewer members pay RM206.70 per annum, with an additional RM20 fixed per child if there are more than three children. The scheme covers up to RM12,000 per family.

For an additional RM12.20, refugees can get personal accident coverage of RM23,000.

RHB Insurance managing director Kong Shu Yin said the company is targeting 30,000 policies over the first year.

“We had more than 500 policies signed up during our soft launch about a week ago,” he said.

As of April, there are 154,140 registered refugees from Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Syria, Pakistan and Somalia in the country.