KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 16 — Dr Adham Baba confirmed that the Cabinet has approved the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) proposal to promote contract medical officers to Grade UD43 like their permanent counterparts.
The health minister said the proposal for the salary adjustment of contract doctors in the public sector was approved in a Cabinet meeting on November 6.
UD41 contract medical officers are maintained on the same salary scheme as their junior housemen, but without an RM600 monthly flexi allowance that trainee doctors receive. The annual salary differential between UD41 contract medical officers and their UD43/44 permanent counterparts is about RM8,000.
“It has already been approved in a Cabinet meeting last Friday,” Dr Adham told CodeBlue yesterday.
CodeBlue had asked the health minister to clarify his November 12 written Parliament reply to Muar MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, where he said the government had asked MOH to review its proposal to promote contract medical officers by including several “cost-saving measures”. Dr Adham told Syed Saddiq that MOH then updated its proposal.
When CodeBlue asked Dr Adham if the paper approved by Cabinet had included the “cost-saving measures”, if all contract medical officers would be promoted to Grade UD43, and the effective date for the salary adjustment, the health minister replied: “I will issue a statement in the nearest time”.
Syed Saddiq had asked Dr Adham for updates on MOH’s proposal on the salary adjustment of contract doctors based on the principle of “Wages According to Work”.
According to Syed Saddiq, the principle is not implemented for all MOH doctors, as he asked the ministry if it acknowledges that contract doctors perform the same duties and responsibilities as permanent doctors in the public sector.
“The grade streamlining process is implemented based on the rate for the job and in accordance with the career path of permanent doctors. However, in order to ensure that the compulsory service runs smoothly, at the moment, the government is still offering contracts to complete compulsory service under Grade UD41,” Dr Adham replied.
“The change of grade for officers will be streamlined to Grade UD43 once the implementation is approved by the government.”
Dr Adham previously told a press conference on November 6 that the government has agreed to promote contract medical officers from Grade UD41 to UD43, and that MOH was planning to absorb these contract staff after the salary adjustment is carried out.
“MOH is always striving to increase the number of doctors to meet current and future health service needs. However, it should be understood that the recruitment of new medical officers depends on the needs of service, especially in new and upgraded facilities, as well as the financial capabilities of the government, and not based on the number of annual medical graduates,” Dr Adham told Syed Saddiq.
One-Off Contract Extensions Aimed At Safeguarding Doctors’ Financial Welfare
Earlier on November 9, Dr Adham, who had answered Permatang Pauh MP Nurul Izzah Anwar (PKR) in a written Parliament reply, highlighted that the permanent posts offered to doctors in MOH depends on the availability of permanent positions in the ministry.
He had stated that the UD41 doctors are required to fulfil the general and technical criteria in order to be absorbed into permanent posts under MOH.
Nurul Izzah had asked MOH to state the details of the selection criteria of UD41 contract doctors to be upgraded to permanent doctors with the UD44 grade. Nurul Izzah also asked the ministry to clarify the career path of the contract doctors after ending their contract extension.
The permanent appointment is subject to the available vacancies of permanent posts, besides considering doctors who have fulfilled the appointment criteria and merits set by the evaluation committee, according to Dr Adham.
“Besides the opportunities for permanent appointments in MOH, officers also have the opportunity to apply for jobs in other public agencies, like public university hospitals, and also in the private sector and companies that need workers with knowledge and skills in the health sector, like private medical laboratories, pharmaceutical companies, and others,” said Dr Adham.
It is to be noted that the grade of doctors appointed on a permanent basis will be upgraded to UD43 after being approved by the government, following a salary hike and other allowances.
Earlier, the government had approved two one-off contract extensions to medical officers under Grade UD41, who have completed their two-year compulsory service with the government, to ensure continuity of service delivery, especially to address the Covid-19 epidemic.
Dr Adham told Nurul Izzah that the contract extensions also aimed to “take care of the welfare of doctors in unfavourable economic conditions during the Covid-19 epidemic”.