Unacceptable To Delay Two Months’ Wages For Hero Frontliners, MPs Say

By Kanmani Batumalai | 22 May 2020

Technicality issues between MOHE and MOH should have been resolved earlier.

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KUALA LUMPUR, May 22 — Opposition MPs today urged the government to expedite salary payments for junior doctors posted to Sungai Buloh Hospital who haven’t received two months’ wages yet.

CodeBlue reported earlier today that an estimated 30 contract medical officers from three university hospitals — Universiti Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC), Hospital UKM (HUKM), and Hospital USM (HUSM) — who were posted to Sungai Buloh Hospital last March to do Covid-19 work, have yet to receive their April and May salaries ahead of Hari Raya this weekend.

Former Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching said although two ministries were involved — as university hospitals are under the purview of the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE), while Sungai Buloh Hospital is under the Ministry of Health (MOH) — the government departments should talk to each other and pay the doctors their due.

“It is Hari Raya Aidilfitri in two days and we have frontliners who have served tirelessly without two months’ salary,” Teo told CodeBlue, as she also shared her statement on Facebook.

“These are the frontliners we have been hailing as our nation’s heroes, risking their own lives to protect everyone else. Their basic salary must be paid to them in time.

“It is absolutely unacceptable that they have been relying on their savings to pay for phone bills and buy food,” added the Kulai MP from DAP.

Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii said doctors are supposed to be respected and honoured for all their sacrifices during the coronavirus crisis.

“While there will be technicalities that need to be ironed out even in salary payment since these 30 doctors are from university hospitals, thus under MOHE, not MOH, but it should not have taken so long,” Dr Yii told CodeBlue.

“This points to a systemic failure in coordination between ministries and warrants a better integrated approach by both the ministries. This issue should have been looked into the moment the transfer was done.

“On top of that they should also look into getting them the special allowance for Covid-19 since they are directly part of dealing with the outbreak,” added the DAP lawmaker.

Former Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad said he trusted that MOH officials would look into the matter.

“It is unfortunate if indeed it’s true, I’m sure it’s unintentional, as there is no seamless transition between ministries in administrative matters like this (at least as far as l’m aware),” Dzulkefly told CodeBlue.

“During challenging times like this, oversight of this nature does happen, much as l also heard that there are frontliners who have not been paid of their Covid-19 allowances to date,” added the Kuala Selangor MP from Amanah.

“Nevertheless, I trust the officials at MOH will look into this matter and respond accordingly. They have been doing great thus far. Kudos to them.”

Update at 4.30pm: Sungai Buloh Hospital paid today the outstanding April and May wages for 31 contract medical officers posted from university hospitals, explaining that it only received salary-related documents from the university hospitals after the last salary payment date this month. Read more here.

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