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MOH directive forcing over 1,000 doctors to resign caused wage discrepancy- MMA

Publish date: Fri, 01 Dec 2023, 04:21 PM

KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry's directive instructing contract doctors to resign from their positions upon receiving permanent posts has led to a discrepancy in wages for the 1,004 doctors among other issues, says the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA).

MMA President Dr Azizan Abdul Aziz said despite the group's letter addressing concerns to the ministry on Nov 9 and multiple subsequent notifications, there has been no response.

According to the latest circular from the health ministry's human resources department dated Nov 23, the cohort of UD43 doctors who have been given permanent positions are required to tender their notice of resignation as UD43 medical officers with effect from Dec 18- the date they have been instructed to report for duty in their new location.

The circular states that this notice of resignation is irrevocable and that any other matters concerning services under contract should not arise after notice is submitted.

Among the concerns raised by Azizan is that since the doctors would need to resign, their years served as contract doctors are not acknowledged for salary grades and promotions, resulting in unfair payment discrepancies among doctors with the same total years of service.

"The notice of resignation referred to raises a number of concerns. It may have an impact on their existing years of service. A medical officer needs 3 years of meeting their annual work target set to qualify to apply for study leave and specialist training.

"Furthermore, a number of the UD43 medical officers are JPA scholarship-sponsored; hence, it is hoped that the terms and arrangements for the settlement of their study loans will remain under the existing scheme.

"The cohort's replacement leave days should also be carried forward and continue from Dec 18, the date they report for duty as permanent medical officers," she said in a statement.

She added that the contract doctors are also unable to claim transport and cargo allowance, despite their continuous work, due to being categorised as "between contracts."

Azizan has called on the importance of prioritising doctors' welfare over bureaucratic semantics.

She added that the ministry should also speed up the settlement of the balance contract rewards which have yet to be expedited by the hospitals they currently serve in to ensure a smooth handover and transition to their new location.

"It is also hoped that all contract doctors in this cohort and in future placement exercises will receive their offer letter stating their basic salary and allowances they are entitled to at least three months before the date they are expected to tender their notice of resignation," she said.

She added that there should also be flexibility in relocation plans, especially for doctors with family commitments, requesting sufficient time and support for smooth transitions.

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