Dr Annuar: Only 43% medical posts filled in Sarawak

Dr Annuar Rapaee

KUCHIG, Dec 27: Assistant Minister of Housing and Public Health Dr Annuar Rapaee emphasised that it is unreasonable to scrap the Critical Service Incentive Payment (BIPK) when only 43 per cent of the medical posts are filled in Sarawak.

He revealed that the data in Sarawak showed that out of 269 medical posts in Sarawak, only 116 were filled and out of 170 clinics in Sarawak, 99 were still without doctors.

“Patients who require coronary artery by-pass operation in Sarawak General Hospital (SGH) needed to wait for 12 to 18 months. And just in Oya Polyclinic alone, a patient needs to wait for 60 to 80 minutes to see a medical officer.

“With all these happenings, how can the federal government said that these professional jobs do not meet the criteria to be paid BIPK?,” Dr Annuar told Dayakdaily today.

The Public Service Department (PSD) had recently made the announcement of a slew of allowance cuts including BIPK to tighten its annuity system effective next year.

BIPK, which is a special allowance to retain professional talents deemed crucial for country’s development, was among the list. A 2019 review found that these jobs no longer meet the criteria.

The new policy, PSD explained will only affect new intake of civil servants beginning Jan 1, 2020, while those who had been receiving the BIPK would continue to enjoy the critical allowance according to the rates featured in the Service Circular No 17 of 2007, until they leave the service.

This has caused Dr Annuar to question – how can there be two types of pay for the same job?

“This will cause unhappiness among (medical) staff which will in turn lead to reduce productivity. Worse still, it will create a calculative atmosphere which is dangerous in the healthcare services,” he opined.

Dr Annuar pointed out that at present, public hospitals in Sarawak were understaffed as many medical personnel were overworked and have overstretched themselves.

“The fact that 41.3 per cent of patients have to wait for six hours at emergency showed that there is a big shortage of medical doctors.

“It is definitely not true that we have enough doctors and medical personnel and that their allowance should be cut to discourage them from joining public service,” he stressed.

He said that PSD should do a thorough study before scrapping the special allowance for professionals working in the civil service.

Following heavy criticism from all sectors on the new policy, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has agreed to delay the allowance cut for civil servants in critical service pending a decision from the next Cabinet meeting.

Minister of Youth and Sports Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman has today tweeted the decision was made this afternoon after the two talked about the matter.— DayakDaily