KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) has urged the government to pay equal salaries to doctors who work under contract and those already absorbed as permanent staff in the civil service.
Currently, fresh graduates who are referred as medical officers (MOs), are placed in Grade U41 while those who have been absorbed as permanent staff are placed in Grade U44.
Under this scheme, the MOs are paid RM364 less.
Dr Kevin Ng Wei Shan, chairman of the MMA section concerning house officers, medical officers and specialists, said it was unfair that MOs are paid less although they have also completed a two-year housemanship.
“Although RM364 is not a big difference, but there is also the issue of them being recognised as equals.”
Ng said MOs should also be offered longer contracts.
“A six-year stint would be optimal to give them the opportunity to specialise.
“A doctor may opt to specialise after four years of practice.”
He said if MOs were not given the opportunity to specialise, the country could lose potentially excellent specialists.
MOs are currently required to serve a two-year housemanship, followed by two years of service.
Ng said this made it difficult for them to go on to pursue a masters degree since it required four years of practical training to qualify.
On another matter, the association welcomes the Health Ministry’s call to open up 21,000 new positions.
“We have enough public hospitals to sustain the appointment of more permanent doctors.”
Ng said there would eventually be a need to control the number of medical graduates from the more than 350 recognised medical programmes offered by local and international universities.
However, he said revoking such recognition would be unfair to those in the midst of pursuing those qualifications.
He suggested that entrance examinations for medical and common licensing practices be introduced to set a uniform standard as a long-term objective.
Ng also proposed that outpatient charges at public hospitals and government clinics be raised to increase funding for the health sector.
Currently, the charge is RM1.
He said an increase of up to RM5 could generate an additional RM110 million annually.