Socso can assess claims in Miri, Sibu soon


Riot (second left) presents Socso benefits to recipients (insured persons or next-of-kin) at the organisation’s head office yesterday. The Human Resources Minister also announced Socso coverage for the self-employed like taxi drivers, may be a reality by 2015. — Photo by Chimon Upon

KUCHING: Effective early next month, those insured under Social Security Organisation (Socso) from central and northern regions will no longer need to travel to Sarawak General Hospital (SGH) to have their impairment rating assessed for employment injuries or occupational disease.

This was made possible following the announcement by Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Richard Riot that Socso, in collaboration with the Health Ministry, will establish Special Medical Boards each in Miri Hospital and Sibu Hospital effective March 1, 2014.

“Currently, only SGH has such a board and all insured persons who need such assessment have to travel to Kuching and in some cases the expenses they incurred happen to surpass the amount they will receive,” he said.

Speaking at the presentation of Socso benefits to insured persons or their next-of-kin at the organisation’s head office here yesterday, Riot, who is Serian MP said the coverage for occupational disease by Socso was actually under its Employment Injury Scheme.

“Some of the occupational diseases that are covered by Socso are Prolapsed Intervertebral Disc (backache and neck pain) due to poor workplace ergonomics, noise induced hearing loss due to loud work environment, occupational asthma and carpal tunnel (painful hands) syndrome,” he said.

He added that in the last two years (2012 and 2013), a total of 247 occupational disease cases were reported in Sarawak of which 37 cases were from Sibu and 64 cases from Miri.

“So with the establishment of the Special Medical Boards in Sibu Hospital and Miri Hospital, Socso will be able to provide better services for claims involving occupational disease cases in the state,” he said.

In this regard, he encourages all doctors to report occupational disease cases among the insured persons to Socso and the department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH).

According to Riot, there are almost 1.05 million workers protected by Socso’s Employment Injury Insurance scheme in Sarawak.

“All employers are required to register all eligible employees and contribute to Socso. It is mandatory for employers to make contribution for all employees who receive a monthly wage of RM3,000 or less at a rate of 1.25 percent for the Employment Injury Scheme.

“Failure of the employer to do so, will risk him to face legal action where if found guilty is liable to a maximum imprisonment of two years or RM10,000 fine or both”.

Meanwhile, Riot also announced that the government has planned to introduce Socso’s coverage for self-employed people.

“We have completed the paper work and we are now waiting for approval from the Cabinet and hopefully by 2015, it can be implemented because right now those who are doing their own work, including taxi drivers they are not being covered by any scheme.

Among those present at the occasion yesterday were Human Resource chief secretary Dato’ Saripuddin Kasim, Socso CEO Datuk K Selvarajah, political secretary to Prime Minister Major (Rtd) Peter Runin, State Health director Dr Zulkifli Jantan, State Socso director John Riba Marin and several other board members.