KUALA LUMPUR, August 21 — Contract medical officers will continue their compulsory service at the UD41 grade, lower than permanent government doctors’ UD43, pending a Cabinet decision on their promotion.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) told Gopeng MP Dr Lee Boon Chye (PKR) in a written Parliament reply on August 13 that the government was currently studying the revision of the civil service grade for medical officers who completed their housemanship with full registration from UD41 to UD43, according to the principle of “rate for the job” and in line with permanent medical officers’ career pathways.
“However, to ensure that the compulsory service period runs smoothly, for now, the government is still offering contracts to complete the compulsory service at the UD41 grade,” MOH said.
“The change of officers’ grade to UD43 will be done after the implementation is approved by the government.”
MOH added that a July 20 meeting it had with the Public Service Department (JPA) and the Finance Ministry, chaired by the Chief Secretary to the Government, had in principle agreed that the November 15, 2019 Cabinet decision under the then-Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration — on appointing contract medical officers on the UD43 grade — would be brought up again this month for the consideration of the new Cabinet under the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government. PN wrested the federal government in March this year.
“The Ministry of Health expresses concern with the anxiety and complaints of various parties involved about the difficulty of contract medical officers in pursuing their specialist study; we also take into account the views and suggestions you have brought forward,” MOH told Dr Lee, who is also the PKR health spokesman and former deputy health minister.
Contract doctors who are maintained on the UD41 grade during their two-year mandatory service with the government suffer a basic salary differential of about RM8,000 annually compared to their higher-paid UD43/44 permanent counterparts. UD41 contract medical officers also earn less than their juniors on the same pay grade, as the former lose the RM600 monthly flexi allowance earned by house officers.
Health Minister Dr Adham Baba told the Dewan Rakyat recently that only about 3.3 per cent, or 665 doctors, of 19,909 contract medical officers were given permanent positions in the public sector as of July 31 this year.