Dr Yii: JPA’s critical allowance cut demoralising, demotivating for new civil servants

Dr Kelvin Yii

KUCHING, Dec 26: Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii was willing to sacrifice his allowance and suggested the same of other politicians’ allowances in light of the recent Public Service Department (JPA) announcement.

Responding to the Dec 20 announcement to remove critical allowances for new doctors, pharmacists, dentists and other critical service workers, Dr Yii said he was against the idea as majority of these workers were already “underpaid, underappreciated and overworked”.

JPA recently announced a slew of allowance cuts as part of a policy shake-up meant to tighten its annuity system.

Among those affected by the move was the Critical Services Incentive Payment (BIPK), a special allowance intended to attract and retain skilled workers in professions deemed vital to the country’s development.

The new policy which will take effect on January 1, 2020 affecting 33 critical service schemes include medical officers and pharmacists, architects, engineers and assistant engineers, legal officers, agricultural and marine engineers, and medical researchers among others whose appointments begin 2020.

“Such circular does not only demoralise the upcoming batch of new healthcare professionals, but also may affect productivity which as a result again may compromise quality of care given to the patients.

“This should not be how we treat our future civil servants who needs to work day in and day out, taking long shifts in the hospital, and also exposing themselves to diseases and infection,” Dr Yii said in a statement, today.

He added that the recent audit report clearly stated that Malaysia’s public healthcare system is understaffed, overcrowded, underfunded and overstretched.

“I understand the need to be prudent in our expenditures, but austerity should start in other areas, even right from the top, without affecting those who really need it not just as an act of appreciation, but also motivation to keep them in the public service.

“We need more doctors in the public sector as we are looking at a further increase of patient load especially in view of our aging society and even the prevalent non communal disease (NCD). That means the workload of these doctors will definitely increase,” he asserted.

He explained that it was vital to find ways to incentivise more to stay, instead of under-appreciating them and pushing them away from the public sector.

Calling on the cabinet to review this decision, Dr Yii said they must find other alternatives and explain the whole situation so a better understanding of the matter can be done and a solution found.

“Many Backbenchers including myself have pushed for the Cabinet to make a decision on the matter in the upcoming meeting and to reconsider this directive by JPA. This is the open democratic process we practice where Backbenchers can also scrutinize the executive,” he said.

However, the Backbenchers were informed that this was not discussed in Cabinet and thus he hoped they would look at this issue objectively and not just on angle or whether this profession was still ‘critical’ is in terms of supply.

“JPA must view this. If it still comes to cutting allowances, I rather they cut the allowances of the politicians including myself, instead of these young healthcare professionals or other civil servants in the critical sector,” he said.—DayakDaily