KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 20 — The government should offer medical officers a five-year contract after their two-year mandatory government service so that doctors can complete their specialist training, the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) said today.
MMA president Dr N. Ganabaskaran also urged the government to increase new medical officer positions annually by 1,500 to 2,000 to match population growth and rising demand on the health care system.
“The extended contract will end at five years as it should be sufficient time for a doctor to complete their specialist training and from there, be absorbed as a specialist with a specialist bond to the government of five years, to ensure that they are adequately trained with sufficient experience to become independent consultants.
“The absorption into government service should ideally be that of a permanent position within the service,” Dr Ganabaskaran said in a statement.
The doctors’ group also noted that the first batch of contract medical officers has just completed their first year of compulsory government service, out of which only 15 per cent of the total medical officers from that one-year cohort received permanent positions.
“The selection process was less than transparent with many left still wondering on their fate,” Dr Ganabaskaran said.
“Despite many meeting all the criteria and being exemplary doctors, many will be left unemployed and dreams of specialisation dashed as they are just not enough available vacancies to be filled.”
He also questioned the status of promoting contract medical officers from their UD41 civil service grade to their permanent counterparts’ UD43/44, who receive higher pay, after Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad announced last November that Cabinet has approved their promotions.
SUPP highlighted last Saturday two Sibu General Hospital female doctors in their 20s — Dr Wong Woan Hui, an MO with the obstetrics & gynaecology (O&G) department, and Dr Bong Ing Hui, an MO with the paediatric department — whose contracts were not renewed by the Health Ministry last November after they served their compulsory two-year service with the government since 2017.
Dr Bong reportedly said she declined a job offer with a seven-year contract from the United Kingdom after getting her paediatric degree there because she wanted to serve her home country. Dzulkefly has since said he will look into the Sarawakians’ cases.
Two other young contract MOs from Hospital Sultanah Nora Ismail, Johor, and Hospital Tengku Ampuan Afzan, Pahang, also failed to get permanent positions or contract renewals last November after completion of their two-year mandatory government service since 2017.
Late last year, Dzulkefly told doctors to seek employment in the private sector, like in pharmaceutical companies or medical labs, if they fail to obtain permanent positions in the civil service due to a lack of vacancies. However, these young people will likely struggle in finding jobs as doctors because private hospitals mostly employ specialists.