Urologist will not have Maal Hijrah award revoked (Updated)

File picture of Datuk Dr Azhar Amir Hamzah.

GEORGE TOWN: A Malaysian urologist who was disqualified from practising in Australia after allegedly cheating on overtime claims and other allowances at a hospital, has denied the allegations.

Datuk Dr Azhar Amir Hamza, in a letter through his lawyer, said that at no point did he falsify patient records or make false overtime claims as alleged.

"Our client did not challenge the claims made by the Medical Board of Australia as he was advised by the solicitors acting for the board that a challenge would necessitate our client flying back to Western Australia and incurring a substantial legal cost," the lawyer said. The lawyer did not want to be named.

The lawyer said Azhar had made the decision not to challenge the claim "based on his understanding at that time that it was the most practicable, expedient and cost-effective way to resolve the matter as he was no longer practising in Western Australia".

He said all his overtime claims were checked and approved by his superior when he was at the hospital.

Meanwhile, the Penang Malays Association has no plan to revoke the Maal Hijrah Award given to Azhar over the alleged misconduct in Australia.

Its president, Tan Sri Yusoff Latiff, said the acknowledgement was based on Azhar's work and his success as a specialist in the country.

"The Issue whether the award be taken back from him does not arise at all as the offence was committed years ago and Azhar has paid the price for his misconduct", he told theSun.

Reports in Perth-based news agency Perthnow. com.au said Azhar was also ordered to pay A$11,500 (RM38,000) as costs for the proceedings.

Azhar has returned the claims money to the South Metropolitan Health Service and has expressed remorse for his actions.

He is currently with Universiti Sains Malaysia Hospital in Kubang Kerian, Kelantan.

A USM spokesman, meanwhile, said its legal office was looking at the matter but did not elaborate further.