Zaliha: Public Services Commission Transparent, Effective In Health Human Resources

Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa says the recruitment process by the Public Services Commission (SPA) for MOH staff is “organised, transparent, and effective”, discounting the need for a separate services commission to manage health human resources.

KUALA LUMPUR, June 22 – Dr Zaliha Mustafa has reiterated that there is no need to form a services commission to manage health care professionals separately from other civil servants.

The health minister said recruitments for service schemes under the Ministry of Health (MOH) – made through the Public Services Commission (SPA) – are based on vacancies in permanent positions and need from time to time.

“The recruitment process implemented by the SPA is found to be organised, transparent, and effective,” Dr Zaliha said in a written Dewan Negara reply last Tuesday to Senator Koh Nai Kwong.

“The Ministry of Health and SPA also, from time to time, always conduct engagement sessions to ensure that the process of recruiting staff follows the planned schedule to fulfil the needs of health care facilities.”

Koh had asked the health minister about the government’s stance on forming a National Health Services Commission to enable more organised planning in health human resources, particularly to increase the number of positions and health worker allowances without needing to go through the Public Service Department (JPA).

Dr Zaliha, citing Article 144 of the Federal Constitution on the functions of the Services Commission, said that SPA or another services commission is not empowered to create new positions, form a retirement system, or set emolument or allowance schemes for public servants because such functions are still under the purview of JPA and the Ministry of Finance (MOF), as per financial legislations and regulations in force.

She added that the MOH is currently focusing on the proposal in the Health White Paper (HWP), which has been passed by the Dewan Rakyat, to form a Health Reform Commission to oversee the nation’s health reforms and health issues in general.

During debate on the HWP in Parliament last Thursday, Dr Zaliha told MPs that the process of setting up a new services commission for health human resources was convoluted and required amendments to the Federal Constitution with two-thirds parliamentary support. The 59-page HWP, which is meant to propose health reforms across a period of 15 years, does not suggest establishing a National Health Services Commission.

Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim announced last December that the unity government led by Pakatan Harapan (PH) and Barisan Nasional (BN) has a supermajority in Parliament, controlling more than two-thirds of the Dewan Rakyat.

PH previously pledged in its manifesto for the 15th general election to form a National Health Services Commission to “solve the contract doctors conundrum”.

Hartal Doktor Kontrak (HDK), an informal group representing contract doctors, recently warned the government of an “imminent crisis” in the public health care system that will be triggered by severe staff shortages, following the relocation of some 4,000 contract doctors by the end of next month after they received permanent positions.

HDK also proposed the establishment of a National Health Services Commission – as promised by PH in its GE15 election campaign – for the effective management of human resources, staffing, training, and career progression of health care professionals in the public sector.

“It is abundantly clear that the management of health care workers should no longer fall under the Public Service Department (JPA), which appears to lack an understanding of the unique demands and challenges within the health care sector,” HDK said.

You may also like