Yesterday the Minister of Health YB Dr Adham Baba announced the PN Cabinet has decided last Friday to upgrade the contract Medical Officers from UD41 to UD43 to enjoy the same pay grade as their permanent counterparts as they have the same responsibility and face the same risk in the hospitals.
I welcome such move although there are pertinent questions that needs to be answered by the Minister to make sure that this is not merely an announcement, but that tangible actions and implementations will be done for the sake of our young healthcare workers.
First and foremost, such a decision was ALREADY MADE in cabinet under the PH government in November 2019, but yet it was slow to be implemented under the current government.
So, in order for it not just to be a mere announcement, the Minister must be transparent and clarify;
All these has to be clarified and we want to see it clearly in budget so its not merely an announcement.
On top of that, i believe that the government should take an extra step to allow these contract workers similar access to perks enjoyed by the permanent MOs as their responsibility, work load and even risk is the same.
It is only a policy decision that can be made on a Ministry level which includes access for them to get special leave such as Hazard Leave, study leave etc.
On top of that, they should allow them to apply for Hadiah Latihan Persekutuan(HLP) to further their Masters and Specialists in Local Universities to address the lack of Specialist in our country.
The best way we can appreciate our medical frontliners, especially for their service to our country during this pandemic, is to invest into them and give them better security of tenure and of course a chance for them to further specialise in their desired Masters Program.
This is, of course, in line with the efforts by the government and hospitals to produce more specialists to address the lack of them nationwide and also to improve the quality of healthcare for our patients.