It cost RM1 to see the doctor at a Johor Bahru polyclinic. Yes! Its no gimmick, the only condition is that you must be Malaysian (its free if you are 60 and above). For foreigners like me, it is a flat fee of Rm$40 (Sg$13).
A few day back my better half was down with flu, so around 8am we went to the nearby private clinic. However the counter staff told us that the doctor will be arriving late, not wanting to wait, my other half suggested that we head to the polyclinic at Tebrau which is about 10 minutes drive. Initially I protested as I felt that we should not wait three to four hours in a hot and humid waiting area filled with other sick patients (vivid recollection of my last visit to a polyclinic in Singapore) , we could always find another clinic. She just gave me the nonchalant chill look. (Non verbal meaning: " I'm not bothered, why should you be").
After packing four hours worth of work into my laptop bag from home we headed to Tebrau Polyclinic. The first thing I realize upon reaching is that there were ample parking space at the polyclinic. Honestly I expected to park along the roadside cause by the time we were there it was already 8.00 am. If you live in JB City Centre long enough you will realize that vacant parking lots are a prized as Mao Shan Wang.
Upon entering the polyclinic, I walk straight to the nearest vacant seat while my other half went to register. thinking that she will take forever I turn on my computer to do some work. Just as my word document open, she return and told me she finish registration and she was going to take her blood pressure.
12 minutes later she was back. It didn't take long for her number to be called again. I peep into the consultation room (the door was ajar) and I realize that there were two doctor attending to two patients in the same room.So much for privacy. The doctor did not examine my better half, she just asked her a couple of questions jotted down on the medical card and told her to wait outside the dispensary. Gosh! It is faster then ordering at Mc Donalds. Either the doctor assume that she was knowledgeable enough to self-diagnose, so examining her was unnecessary or....
One very obvious difference between the polyclinics of Singapore and Johor Bahru is the doctors in attendance. In Johor Bahru, the doctors are local ( mini survey of nine doctors i observe at the polyclinic) while in Singapore it is a mini United Nations. I had problems communicating with the doctor in Singapore due to their/our accent and lingo. Miscommunication leads to wrong diagnostic and prescription, which may lead to heath problems. I don't think it will be the case in Johor Bahru were doctors are Malaysians.
Another 14min and it was her turn at the dispensary. They gave her a bottle of cough syrup and three stripes of different type of tablet. I was expecting them to pour out the syrup and tablets from a huge economy size bottles.
Time in to time out it was a grand total of 48 min. Much better then the 4 hours I spent at the polyclinic in Toa payoh, Singapore. Best of all she paid only RM1 (sg 33 cents) for consultation and medicine.