In a poignant tale of perseverance and heartache, a 50-year-old man who has been bedridden for six years due to a damaged spinal disc has taken to Facebook to voice his plea for access to medical funds from the Employee Provident Fund (EPF). Heartbreakingly, he reveals that he had to sell his late mother's cherished gold chain and pendant to make ends meet. This story has ignited a storm of public sympathy and drawn the attention of netizens.
Yan Jin Bao, the man at the centre of this emotional ordeal, recently shared his heartrending journey with Sin Chew Daily. He revealed that he had struggled on until his financial resources dwindled and his health began showing signs of improvement. Yan still had savings in his EPF account, which prompted him to apply for access to the funds on the grounds of losing his ability to work due to his debilitating medical condition.
"I have meticulously prepared all the required documents, and I am undoubtedly a genuine patient who has lost the ability to work precisely the type of person who should qualify for approval. However, when I submitted my application at the Puchong branch, I encountered officials who seemingly went out of their way to obstruct me, and, as I had anticipated, my application was eventually denied," Yan lamented.
Undeterred by the initial rejection, Yan pursued an appeal at the Shah Alam branch of the EPF, only to have his appeal redirected back to the Puchong branch. A female EPF representative contacted him and offered well wishes along with a promise to process his case. However, her tone left him questioning her sincerity.
"A month later, I decided to call the EPF hotline to check on the status of my application. The operator informed me that my application was still under review. I suspect that my documents, along with the hospital reports, might have been inadvertently shelved with the lady I had spoken to earlier," Yan speculated.
Yan revealed that he had visited the Serdang Hospital in June to undergo an evaluation by a panel doctor designated by EPF. Three weeks later, he received a letter from the doctor stating that he did not meet the "total incapacity" (Hilang Upaya) criteria, leading to the rejection of his application to withdraw funds from his EPF account.
"For the past six years, I have been predominantly confined to my bed, unable to work. Isn't that a crystal-clear demonstration of my incapacity?" Yan questioned.
He expressed his dissatisfaction with the medical assessment, noting that the doctors did not inquire about his medical condition and restricted his opportunity to speak. After the evaluation, they instructed him to wait for two weeks for a notification letter.
"Two weeks elapsed, and no letter arrived. I decided to call the Puchong EPF branch, where an official informed me that I did not meet their criteria, resulting in the rejection of my application," Yan recounted.
In the third week, Yan finally received a letter from the doctor, echoing the official's words, stating that his application was denied due to not meeting the criteria without specifying the reasons.
He continued, "On July 28th, I lodged an appeal at the Shah Alam EPF branch, resubmitting the required documents and files. Officials assured me that I would receive a response within a month, but the deadline came and went without any communication."
"On August 30th, I called the branch again for an update, and the official simply instructed me to continue waiting."
Yan Jin Bao has already sold all the items he could, and eventually, he even sold the gold chain and pendant left to him by his mother, which he was reluctant to part with.
On another note, when questioned about Yan's claims of encountering difficulties with EPF officials, an official from the Puchong EPF branch emphasized that their decisions were based on assessments by designated doctors. They underscored that they evaluate applicants based on reports from 2 to 3 designated doctors, rather than relying solely on one doctor's assessment.
"If one doctor indicates that he is incapable of working, but the other two doctors disagree, the application will not be approved," the official explained.
Regarding Yan's appeal against the Puchong EPF branch's decision, the official declined to comment and suggested that Yan visit their branch personally to inquire about the appeal's status.
Yan's story serves as a stark reminder of the challenges individuals face when seeking medical support while battling chronic illnesses and navigating bureaucratic processes during their most vulnerable moments.