Malaysian Ministry Of Health (MOH) Orders More Than 1,000 Doctors To Resign Prior To Accepting Permanent Posts

doctors resign in Malaysia

The MOH’s directive saw over 1,000 contract medical officers being told that matters concerning contract service cannot arise after the resignation notice.

A circular dated November 2, 2023 by the MOH’s human resource division confirmed the approval of 1,226 UD43 contract medical officers as UD43 medical officers would take effect on December 18, 2023. The circular stated that officers who accepted permanent appointments must tender a notice of resignation to resign as a UD43 contract medical officer before taking on their permanent roles.

Concerns Related To The Circular

The circular declares contract doctors’ resignation notices as irrevocable. It asserts that service-related issues should not arise post-resignation submission. This development raises concerns. It could lead to several issues impacting the contract doctors.

Should doctors resign, their contract service years won’t count towards salary grades and promotions. This may cause unfair pay discrepancies among doctors with equal years of service. A medical officer also requires three years of fulfilling their annual work target to qualify for study leave applications and specialist training.

Additionally, contract medical officers cannot claim transport and cargo allowances. This is due to their classification as “between contracts.

Malaysian Medical Association’s (MMA) Reacts

The government’s major decision seems to aim at resolving issues with contract doctors. They encourage resignations before transitioning into permanent public service roles. Dr. Azizan Abdul Aziz, the current president of the MMA, expressed uncertainty regarding the impact of this new requirement for resignations set by the government. 

She stated that the MMA would like to understand the reason behind the move as well. The circular also did not state if offer letters for permanent appointments would be provided before the date of their resignation as contract doctors. Demanding immediate resignation without any guarantee forces the contract doctors to rely on the good faith of the government to proceed with the permanent appointments without an official offer letter.  

Doctor’s Insight

Dr Azizan lamented that semantics and bureaucracy seem to be prioritised while the welfare of doctors has taken a back seat. She also brought up the issue of medical officers being in the same pay grade (on their third year of service) even after completing their housemanship ( for two years). She also noted that a number of UD43 medical officers were sponsored by the Public Service Department (JPA). Additionally, she requested that the terms and arrangements for their loan settlements remain under the existing scheme. 

Dr Azizan also urged the MOH to follow through with the settlement of the remaining contract rewards. Hospitals have not yet expedited these processes for their contract doctors. She hopes contract doctors get offer letters detailing salary and allowances. Ideally, this should happen at least three months before they submit their resignation notices.

Last but not least, Dr Azizan also expressed the need for flexibility in allowing for sufficient leave days when doctors need to shift to a different workplace. This is especially important when the new role is located in a different state.

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