After working for more than 10 years, starting our jobs right after obtaining our diplomas and working as U29 grade officers (with some of promoted to U32 after 13 years), we have been assured that if we obtained a bachelor’s degree, we will get to apply for and be offered a U41 post.
We were encouraged to upgrade our academic qualification to a bachelor’s degree, and most of us did so — paying the tuition fees on our own, took leave, and studied part-time — despite having busy daily working hours.
Some of us have graduated with bachelor’s degrees many years ago, but still don’t have the chance to apply for a U41 post. The places for this are very limited, and the government does not appreciate physiotherapists who have obtained higher academic qualifications.
We are treated as cheap labour, and the government has failed to promote us to U41. Some physiotherapists even have a master’s qualification, but they are not being offered positions as postgraduates.
There are some under the U29-U40 grade (jurupulih perubatan fisioterapi) who have obtained or are studying for a master’s degree, but they have no chance to apply for a JPA scholarship or latihan dalam perkhidmatan (LDP), just because they are not at the pegawai or pengurusan level. This means that Master’s degree holders are still at a diploma-level grade.
The difference between the U29 and U41 grades, in terms of pay, is vastly different. We have been working for many years and we feel unappreciated, having lost hope.
Physiotherapists have always been neglected when it comes to promotions. We are also not appreciated by the public. The effort and hard work do not match the income.
The government should not only focus on the quantity of patients but should increase staffing so that treatment given to patients can be improved. Increase salaries so that we will feel that it is worth our efforts. We need more physiotherapists, as we are becoming an ageing country.
We demand the following:
- Create more U41 job posts so that U29-40 physiotherapists with bachelor’s degrees can be promoted.
- Consider giving Public Service Department (JPA) scholarships for jurupulih fisioterapi (diploma grade) who want to study for a Master’s degree.
- Allow the physiotherapy profession to have training schemes, similar to housemanships for doctors or provisional schemes for pharmacists, especially in general hospitals, regardless of whether they are from public or private universities. We have to ensure the quality of our physiotherapy graduates who are valuable assets for Malaysia.
CodeBlue is publishing this letter anonymously as civil servants are prohibited from writing to the press without prior authorisation.
- This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of CodeBlue.