Critical Allowance Stays For Government Doctors, Health Workers, Other Professionals This Year

By Boo Su-Lyn | 09 January 2020

90% of critical allowance recipients are from the health sector.

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KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 9 — The government has decided to retain this year the critical allowance for new doctors, health care workers, and other affected professionals joining the civil service.

A Cabinet meeting yesterday decided to review the Critical Service Incentive Payment (BIPK) for professionals across 33 Critical Service schemes in the public sector only at the end of the year.

“Ninety per cent of the recipients comes from the health services sector,” a minister told CodeBlue on condition of anonymity to discuss confidential Cabinet discussions.

“The salary scheme in this sector itself is not attractive enough. To cut BIPK will make it worse.”

The BIPK critical allowance is RM750 monthly for doctors, pharmacists and dentists, and up to 15 per cent of the monthly basic salary for nurses. For other professionals in the civil service, including medical assistants, engineers, architects, and air traffic controllers, it’s between 5 and 10 per cent of their monthly basic salary.

A Public Service Department (JPA) circular issued last month on the repeal of the BIPK for professionals joining the public sector from January 1, 2020, had triggered public uproar, with government doctors complaining of overwork and understaffing.

JPA previously justified the critical allowance cut, pointing out that the BIPK would cost the government over RM1 billion this year, even as there is an “oversupply” of thousands of medical officers, nurses, and pharmacy officers, dental officers, and medical assistants in the public sector.

Associations representing doctors, pharmacists, dentists, nurses, and medical assistants have jointly demanded a reinstatement of their critical allowance in the public sector, even asking for salary raises instead.

Update at 2.25pm:

JPA issued a statement confirming that the government has decided to postpone abolishing the BIPK critical allowance, pending a review by the relevant parties and a decision by the Cabinet. But JPA did not state when this review would take place.

“In line with that, the repeal of the BIPK for new officer appointments involving 33 service schemes as stated in the Service Circular No 10 2019 has been postponed,” Public Service director-general Mohd Khairul Adib Abd Rahman said.

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