I am a doctor who resigned from the Ministry of Health (MOH) last July as a UD43 contract medical officer, previously serving in Selangor.
I’m writing this letter after discussing with my former doctor and pharmacist (UF44 contract pharmacy officer) colleagues, who are facing the same issues as me.
All of us served at least four years before resigning from government between June and September 2023.
I was a “calon simpanan” (reserve candidate) since April 2023, before resigning in July 2023.
Although 1,912 permanent posts were recently offered by MOH, it is sad that some of these offers were considered not valid (“terbatal”) due to the resignation of contract workers.
My colleagues and I were few of those affected by this offer, wherein we were offered permanent posts on October 2, 2023, but we’re not eligible to choose placements because we have resigned from the MOH.
These offers were given by the Public Service Commission (SPA) to those who attended the interview and received “calon simpanan” status, although some might have resigned before October 2, when the permanent posts were offered.
The list was filtered by the Human Resource Division (BSM), MOH, to allow only those who are still serving to choose their placements in E-housemen/ E-dentist/ E-pharmacist, though there are instances where those who resigned were not filtered out as they received emails for placement selection in the respective e-placement systems.
When enquiries were sent to BSM, BSM replied that SPA has not updated or it takes time to update their data, so permanent post offers are invalid once a staff resigns.
Although this is stated in the offer letter, the criteria listed (e.g., still serving in MOH, have never resigned) were originally used to qualify for the permanent post interview back in March 2023.
Therefore, my former coworkers and I were not able to proceed with placement selection, although we read on social media that a doctor who resigned in September received an email for E-housemen selection.
The permanent appointment offer for dentists and pharmacists requires them to be downgraded to UG41 and UF41, but not doctors.
Because it is considered a restart in service, we are writing this letter in hopes that MOH can allow us (those willing to go back to serve) to take up the offer.
BSM has been a barrier to health care worker retention in MOH. Although we acknowledge the criteria set which made us ineligible, we hope BSM/ MOH can understand the plight of contract workers who need permanent positions for career progression in MOH and give us a chance to go back into service.
While we understand the rules and criteria for this permanent post offer, we hope that MOH can review these criteria and allow us to re-join service with the permanent post offer.
We initially left due to the uncertainties with our contract that would end this year.
A lot of contract workers, us included, would like to continue serving in MOH but our contract status has really affected our career progression, with no permanent post offer in sight before this month due to the large number of candidates being placed in the reserve list (“calon simpanan”).
Some might have left for better opportunities, but there are also many of us who are struggling or going through difficult times after leaving MOH, due to the lack of opportunities to specialise, job insecurity and many other reasons.
As these offers were from SPA, there should be some accountability from SPA or BSM/ MOH to provide some transparency on this issue, as the retraction of these offers would affect many contract workers who left within this year, but initially hoped to continue serving in MOH.
If we do not voice out, BSM or MOH would just release the data as those who did not choose their placements or rejected permanent post offers, although this is not true because many were not able to proceed with the offers due to their prior resignations.
While we understand the strict procedures by BSM, we hope that the MOH can consider allowing those who wish to return to service with the permanent post offers, as a step to retain health care workers in MOH.
This is not to benefit us because our grades and pay will be downgraded with the permanent post offer, but it is the only route for us to specialise, progress in our career, and continue serving in MOH.
We are also technically restarting service – despite serving for the past four or five years (under contract) – due to the “lantikan baru” (new appointment) status from the permanent post offer.
So this actually makes it viable for MOH to consider not retracting offers to those who are willing to come back to serve.
The shortage of health care workers is not something that can be resolved if the MOH does not intervene in such issues that affect health care workers, particularly those with contract posts.
The author is a former UD43 contract medical officer who previously served Selangor.
- This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of CodeBlue.