KUCHING, Aug 25: Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii urges the Health Ministry and Public Service Department to swiftly upgrade medical officers (MOs) and healthcare workers under contract from the current UD41 to UD43 which was agreed by the cabinet under the Pakatan Harapan government since November 2019.
“It is not fair for these healthcare workers as they carry out the same responsibility, same workload, and even face the same risk of exposure to any infectious disease including Covid-19, but they are treated differently and not given equal pay grade enjoyed by permanent MOs who enjoy a UD44 grade,” said Dr Yii in a statement today.
He said the upgrading to UD43 and recognition of the importance of all healthcare workers was agreed upon more than nine months ago in cabinet but until now, not only that it has not been implemented.
Based on a parliamentary answer from the Ministry of Health, he said this decision by PH last year to appoint contract medical officers on the UD43 grade will be reviewed by the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government again in August.
“Today I stood up in Parliament to question the YB Dr Adham Baba the Health Minister on why was this decision delayed and was to be reviewed again.”
“The Minister did not answer the question properly and did not give a reason on the delay and the decision to review the decision that was agreed upon by the PH government.”
He said he appreciated the statement by the minister that the ministry is recommending an extension of the duration of the contract to allow them to apply and finish their specialisation programme especially through ‘parallel-pathways’, but he also questioned how many more years their contracts would be extended and what was the timeline for this to be implemented.
“Based on official Ministry statistics, only 3.3 per cent, or 665 doctors, of 19,909 contract medical officers were given permanent positions in the public sector as of July 31 this year.
“That means, almost 97 per cent of our medical officers are getting not just a lower grade, but also do not enjoy other facilities including unpaid-leave facilities, certain hazard leaves and also HLP (Federal Training Award) to further their specialisation in local universities in comparison to those under permanent post even though their responsibility and workload in the same.
“On top of that none of the UD41 medical officers, whose contracts were extended for six months in 2020, received permanent appointments,” said Dr Yii.—DayakDaily