When Health Minister, Datuk Chua Jui Meng said that the Cabinet had decided to "put off" the proposed corporatisation of these services, it is clear that the forthcoming general election had been a major factor, especially as the Opposition parties have made it a main election issue.
Although Chua replied in the negative when he was specifically asked
whether the decision was a political gimmick in the light of an impending
general election, claiming that the decision was not influenced by
pressure and campaigning on the issue, it is significant that he was unable to give a clear-cut and satisfactory answer when asked whether the corporatisation proposal would be raised again in the future.
Chua’s lame answer was that he was was unable to reply to that question because he could not ascertain the future plans of the government.
Chua should not evade the issue and be specific and clarify on the time-frame of the Cabinet decision not to proceed with the corporatisation of government hospitals - whether it was only until the next general election when the issue would again be raised, or whether it was binding on the Barisan Nasional government for the next ten to twenty years.
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and the Barisan Nasional leadership have no doubt whatsoever that they would be returned to power in the next election, even claiming that its two-thirds parliamentary majority would remain intact. If this is the case, why is Chua so shy about clarifying the time-frame of the Cabinet decision last Wednesday not to corporatise government hospitals, unless the decision was just to remove the issue from the election campaign but would be revived after the next election.