The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) wishes to thank the Ministry of Health for their recent decision to promote contract medical and dental officers from Grade UD41 to UD43 to give them the same emoluments as their permanent counterparts.
This would indeed be a relief for many of the medical officers who were previously stuck at Grade UD41, although they were already performing medical officer duties.
The streamlining of salary is only fair as these medical officers have been performing all duties similar to their permanent counterparts, but for lower wages (about RM 8,000 less per annum). MMA had brought up this issue on many occasions and we are pleased that it is now finally being addressed.
While the good news will indeed lift the spirits of many contract medical officers serving in the country, many of whom are frontliners serving in the fight against Covid-19, there is still an uncertainty about their positions that we hope the ministry will take note of. As December draws near, many contract medical officers will also be anxious to know the status of their contracts.
It is our hope that more permanent positions will be created for our junior doctors and contracts extended to allow for specialisation. To pursue the parallel pathway, medical officers will require an extension of 10 years for the specialist training.
Although permanent positions and contract extensions were not included in Budget 2021, MMA hopes this will be looked into in efforts to address the manpower shortages in public health care.
We hope that these measures will not include the retraction of other allowances, such as the critical allowance which has been reinstated early this year. It is hoped the Ministry of Health will soon provide clarification on this.
Dr Subramaniam Muniandy is president of the Malaysian Medical Association.
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