KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 12 – Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad has promised to “try” resolving contract medical officers’ lower salary scale compared to their permanent counterparts.
“InsyaAllah we’ll try to address the quandary of Contract HO/MO, award them UD43 instead of UD41- a short term solution,” he said in a tweet yesterday, referring to house officers (HO) and medical officers (MO).
A petition for fair wages for contract medical officers, who were maintained on housemen’s UD41 civil service grade, claimed that the basic salary differential with their UD43/44 permanent counterparts amounted to almost RM8,000 annually.
Dzulkefly also suggested that the government must be more proactive in making decisions that do not compromise the quality of doctors in the country.
“Moving fwd, the PH Govt must plan well & take tough steps-decisions to produce high quality graduates/doctors to meet health challenges & needs of the nation.”
Since the tweet was posted late last night, it has received 218 likes and 147 retweets.
Many responses were in support of his tweet, with a number of others pointing out similar issue faced by other professions in the health industry.
“We ILKKM graduates also need your team’s attention. The July 2016 batch of dental surgery assistant, for almost two years, have no news about postings. Help us Dr,” Twitter user rv said in Malay, referring to Institut Latihan Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia.
Last Friday, Dzulkefly repeated his previous statements in Parliament that the Ministry of Health (MOH) could no longer guarantee permanent employment to MOs, who may be reappointed on contract to serve the government for a mandatory two years instead. These junior doctors were told that after their compulsory service with MOH, they could seek jobs in public university hospitals or in the private sector.
MOH also confirmed last week that all contract MOs would continue their two-year mandatory service on housemen’s UD41 civil service grade, instead of being promoted like their permanent counterparts to UD44.
A ministry official said that a UD41 officer’s monthly salary in the last year of their first housemanship contract could be RM3,397, noting that the difference with a UD44/43 officer was “not a lot”.
According to the Public Services Commission (PSC) website, the UD44/43 pay grade has a starting salary of RM3,611, with an RM250 annual increment. Contract UD41 medical officers are eligible for an annual increment of RM225.