A Disappointing And An Arrogant Ministry Of Health (MOH) — Ding Kuong Hiing

The SUPP Central Education Bureau is of the view that MOH should at least have the courtesy and goodwill to reply to the Chief Minister of Sarawak and to all the MOs, DOs and pharmacists on contract.

Since December 2019, SUPP Central Education Bureau has been very concerned about the issue of the contract medical officers (MO), dental officers (DO) and pharmacists who did not have their contracts renewed.

Up till now, SUPP Central Education Bureau has altogether issued five press statements and three open letters to 222 MPs. The Ministry of Health, disappointingly, did not reply to any of the said letters or press statements.

On 3 August 2020, the Chief Minister of Sarawak, via his principal private secretary Dato Hj. Khir Hj. Busrah, wrote to YB Datuk Aaron Ago Dagang, Timbalan Menteri Kesihatan II. The Chief Minister expressed clearly in the letter that he supported the four Sarawakian medical officers to be given permanent posts.

Again, the Ministry of Health (MOH) did not even bother to reply the letter from the office of the Chief Minister of Sarawak. The attitude of the MOH is disappointing and arrogant towards the Sarawak government and to the MOs on contract, particularly those who are from Sarawak.

The SUPP Central Education Bureau is of the view that MOH should at least have the courtesy and goodwill to reply to the Chief Minister of Sarawak and to all the MOs, DOs and pharmacists on contract.

Recently, SUPP Central Education Bureau was given a copy of a directive [dated 16 February 2016 (Ruj: KKM.600-1/3/260(2)] issued by MOH to all the State Health Departments (JKN) that medical officers who have passed the part 1 / part A examination in the parallel route, such as MRCP, MRCPCH, MRCOG, MRCS and so on must register with the Medical Development Division.

Such medical officers will be assisted in training, planning, among others, including certain placement (rotation posting), so that they can successfully pass the postgraduate examinations within the stipulated time and be eligible to be gazetted.

We, therefore, are of the view that MOH must walk the talk by immediately implementing the policy stated in the said directive to all JKN.

SUPP Central Education Bureau is of the strong view that the following issues must be resolved:

Formation of Sarawak Medical Council (SMC). On 20 July 2020, SUPP Party President YB Dato Sri Professor Dr Sim Kui Hian suggested forming a Sarawak Medical Council (SMC), which is a separate body to register and regulate medical practice in Sarawak. SMC will operate independently of the nationwide Malaysian Medical Council (MMC).

Many Sarawakian doctors strongly support this proposal of YB Dato Sri Professor Dr Sim Kui Hian. Based on the experience of the recent episode of the Sarawak contract officers, it shows that MOH based in Kuala Lumpur has no understanding, no interests and no sympathy towards the local medical predicaments in Sarawak.

From December 2019 to February 2020, MOH and Jabatan Perkhidmatan Awam (JPA) in Kuala Lumpur created 100 permanent posts for Sarawak hospitals. Sadly, less than 10% of these permanent posts were offered to Sarawak medical officers (MOs) on contract.

Thirty MOs from West Malaysia who were offered permanent posts refused to serve in Sarawak. Instead of offering these permanent posts to Sarawakian MOs, these 30 permanent posts were offered subsequently again to MOs from West Malaysia. This is a gross travesty of justice experienced by Sarawak MOs.

To immediately upgrade existing salaries of MOs on contracts from the scale of UD41 to UD43.

MOH to immediately engage MOs on contract who have passed part of the specialist programmes or postgraduate courses, with either long-term contracts or scholarships of masters degree programmes which will groom them as medical specialists eventually.

Priorities of permanent posts must be given to Sabahan and Sarawakian MOs to work in hospitals in Sabah and Sarawak. This policy is in line with the Borneonisation as clearly stipulated in Malaysia Agreement 1963.

Ding Kuong Hiing is the Meradong assemblyman, chairman of SUPP Education Bureau, and protem chairman of Malaysian Junior Doctors 2020.

  • This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of CodeBlue.

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