Monday, May 22, 2006

Comments about Malaysia efforts to draw back doctors and specialists

RM4,000 jump for Malaysian medical specialists who return
By CHOI TUCK WO

LONDON: Malaysian specialist doctors will be rewarded with an “instant” pay rise of about RM4,000 if they were to return home and serve the country.
Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek said they would immediately move up from the Grade U41 salary scale of RM3,000 to Grade U48 of RM7,000.
He said the Public Services Department (PSD) had approved the “big jump” in recognition of their specialised skills and training in Britain.
“So my advice is return home while the going’s still good,” he said during a dialogue with a group of Malaysian doctors and medical students in Malaysia Hall here on Saturday.
Dr Chua urged them not to take too long as there could be a surplus of doctors in Malaysia in 10 to 15 years.
“It’s either doctor laku or doctor yang tak laku,” he said, adding that the competition was intense in the Klang Valley, which had a ratio of about one doctor to 400 people.
Dr Chua also cautioned Malaysian medical students that they would find it more difficult to work in Britain in the next three to five years.
This is because the British government would increasingly give preference to its citizens and EU nationals, while Malaysians would be lumped together with other nationalities.
He said he was not appealing to them on the grounds of nationalism or patriotism.
“We’re appealing to them on the basis that there is definitely a better future in their own country.”
Elaborating on the incentive for Malaysian specialists, he said those with post-basic qualifications such as Membership of the Royal College of Physicians, United Kingdom (MRCP) and MRCOG (Obstetrics and Gynaecology), as well as two years' experience would start off on the U48 salary scale.
“That’s a big jump and they’re only two rungs away from Special Scale already,” he said.
Dr Chua said the ministry was also developing 32 sub-speciality services that faced shortages.
He said they had taken over from the PSD the task of selecting medical students for masters and postgraduate programmes.
“We plan to send 400 students for sub-speciality training, both in Malaysia and overseas every year.”
He said the ministry hoped to overcome mismatches as had happened in the past, where the students’ aspirations were not matched by their scholarships.
Dr Chua also touched on a wide range of incentives as well as career advancement prospects including:
ON-CALL allowance in- creased from RM25 to RM170;
ALLOWING locum in government hospitals;
SIMPLIFIED Bahasa Malaysia exam for service confirmation;
FULL-PAYING patients in Putrajaya and Selayang hospitals as a pilot project, where part of the full rates go to doctors; and
298 promotional posts approved for senior positions.
Present were Malaysian High Commissioner Datuk Abdul Aziz Mohamed, Malaysian Students Department director Dr

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