PETALING JAYA,Mar 24: The decision to not increase the salaries of most of the 22,000 contract medical officers despite their promotion to the UD43 category is an “anomaly and injustice”, says former deputy health minister Dr Lee Boon Chye.
The previous Pakatan Harapan-led (PH) government had decided to promote these contract officers from the UD41 category to UD43 in November 2019, but this was only implemented recently. However, they received no raises.
Lee told FMT the medical officers’ salaries should be backdated to November 2019 when the Cabinet decision was made, accompanied by the annual increment as well.
“This problem of contract medical officers started many years back when there were not enough permanent posts for medical officers after their housemanship.
“A decision was made during the Barisan Nasional era to have contract employment when permanent posts (UD44) were full. These contract officers were categorised as UD41 despite having the same responsibilities as permanent officers,” he said.
FMT reported that most of the 22,000 contract medical officers who were upgraded to UD43 over the past week will not receive any salary increment as they are earning more than the starting pay in the new grade.
Several doctors said they were currently drawing a basic pay of RM3,622 while the starting salary under the UD43 grade is RM3,611.
The civil service union Cuepacs said it would only be fair if they were given one or two increments in the new scale, adding that it would be a meaningless upgrading exercise if no increment was given.
Lee said another problem that had yet to be addressed involved the Public Service Department (JPA) scholarships for post-graduate studies offered to medical officers who held permanent posts.
This meant that contract officers were not eligible for the scholarship, he said, and warned that it would seriously affect the supply of medical specialists in the future.
“Master’s programmes in local public universities will also collapse because of the lack of candidates,” the Gopeng MP said.
He said the best solution to both issues was to create enough permanent posts for medical officers to meet the requirements in the health ministry.