Why No Sarawakians Offered Permanent Posting Even When 102 Out Of 203 Asked To Report Duty In Sarawak

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Press statement by YB Kelvin Yii:

The Ministry of Health must make transparent the selection criteria for permanent posting for contract healthcare workers and also announce concrete plans to resolve the long-standing contract issues among health care workers around the country, including proper distributions and placements in places of urgent needs especially in Sabah and Sarawak.

I send my utmost congratulations to the new 203, UD43 Contract Medical Officers from the 3rd cohort 2017 batch who were recently offered permanent posting and will be posted throughout the country to serve starting 2nd August 2021. I wish them all their best in their service to our people and country.

However, the core issues when it comes to transparency and clarity in selection criteria is still not addressed. This calls the need for the whole selection to be more transparent so that there is not only greater certainty in selection, but also to remove any “perception” of favouritism, bias, or even discrimination in selection.

If the criteria are more transparent and ‘certain’, then the junior doctors can be better prepared and know for certain what they need to work for in order to achieve their target in obtaining a permanent posting. This may resolve a lot of the uneasiness and feeling of being under-appreciated that they are feeling now.

On top of that, I would also like to question both the Ministry of Health and the Public Service Department (JPA), why is that in this batch, out of the 203 that were offered permanent posting, none of them are Sarawakians even though 102 of the 203 were asked to report duty in hospitals in Sarawak?

Over the years, many West Malaysian doctors have been transferred to Sarawak and even though they were dedicated and diligent in serving in Sarawak, in most cases, these arrangements were not permanent. In most cases, eventually they are transferred back to their home states after their two-year compulsory service with the government, whether to be closer to their family back home or other legitimate reasons.

That is why since then, I have urged the Ministry to prioritise Sarawakians when making the new offers, especially if they are to eventually be posted in Sarawak to address the urgent needs of doctors here in the state, especially in the rural areas on a long-term basis.

As it is, there are still many Sarawakians doctors or even health care workers that are serving in the State even in the rural area but yet to be offered a permanent posting. This may seem unfair to them especially those that are willing to serve and fill the urgent needs of healthcare workers even in the rural areas.

That is why I question and call upon the Deputy Health Minister II YB Datuk Aaron Ago Dagang to address this issue and as a Sarawakian himself, he should have known better the urgent needs for more healthcare workers in Sarawak on a long-term basis, especially in the rural areas.

However, as a whole, there has to be a comprehensive solution for this long-standing issue for all contract healthcare workers.

It has been more than a week, but nothing have yet to be heard of from the promise given to the healthcare workers by the Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Minister of Health Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba that their concerns and demands will be discussed in Cabinet.

I would like to echo our earlier call for the government to offer a fairer deal to these contract workers. The best way we can appreciate our medical frontliners, especially for their service to our country during this pandemic, is to invest into them and give them better security of tenure and of course a chance for them to further specialise in their desired Master’s Program under the government’s Hadiah Latihan Persekutuan (HLP)

This is, of course, in line with the efforts by the government and hospitals to produce more specialists to address the lack of them nationwide and to improve the quality of healthcare for our patients.

Kelvin Yii Lee Wuen
MP Bandar Kuching