PETALING JAYA: With employers losing a whopping RM2.9bil (S$0.96 bil) annually to pay workers who are replacing colleagues on medical leave, a Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officer said workers who submit false sick claims are committing corruption.
Mohamad Tarmize Abdul Manaf, the commission's community education division officer, explained why producing a medical certificate with false information or claim was an offence under Section 18 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act.
He said submitting a medical cert was no different from submitting a claim, a receipt or an invoice.
"Did you know that producing a medical certificate with false information about one's illness is corruption? It is under the fake claims category," he wrote on the MACC's official blog ourdifferentview.com - Menipu Sakit, Satu Kesalahan Rasuah (Faking Illness, A Corruption Crime).
Mohamad Tarmize cited a legal precedent where the accused was charged for falsely taking two sick days with full pay.
He was found guilty after it was proven that he was not ill during the two days.
The defence said the MCs were not covered under the Act.
But the judge ruled that MCs had monetary value as the accused had received full salary on both "sick" days.
He was then ordered to repay the money and slapped with a fine.
Mohamad Tarmize hoped people would not take sick leave and MCs lightly.
"Doctors also have a responsibility to be cautious when a patient applies for sick leave," he added.
MACC deputy chief commissioner (prevention) Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali confirmed that fake claims submitted to employers was an act of deceiving the principal and an offence.
He added that under Section 24, workers making false claims could be jailed for up to 20 years and fined.
It was reported previously that Malaysian employers were incurring more than RM1bil in losses annually because of workers who feigned illnesses to get sick leave or MCs.
In a 2014 report, the Malaysia Employers Federation revealed that employers lost RM2.9bil annually in overtime payments to workers who are replacing those on medical leave.