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  • Writer's pictureVincent Chuah

Malaysia Doctor's Oncall Claim RM200/15hr

#KKM announcement to explain the oncall claim

Kenyataan Media KKM - Penjelasan Tentang Pemberian Elaun Tugas Atas Panggilan (ETAP) Bagi
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Working in a Malaysian government hospital can be a disheartening experience.

We often start work earlier than the designated hours and end up going back home late. There is no specific lunchtime, and healthcare workers face difficulties finding parking spaces. Resources are lacking, and we are expected to work for free on weekends, dealing with frustrated patients whose surgeries are delayed due to the hospital's overload. The emotional distress of dealing with life and death situations adds to the strain. Despite the challenging conditions, the welfare still being exploited. For year bonus, we received mere RM 500+, while others in different fields receive bonuses of 2-3 months' salary.

In essence, we feel like we are working as slaves. We are being exploited, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, where we risk our lives dealing with a dangerous virus. We constantly don and doff astronaut-like protective gear. Unfortunately, even after the pandemic, the government hasn't taken adequate steps to prioritize the welfare of healthcare workers. Consequently, many contract doctors are considering strikes Mogok or displaying aggressive behavior.

While I acknowledge that the government has limited funds and needs to focus on supporting the B40 group, it is unfair to exploit the welfare of healthcare workers for the benefit of others.

Why should doctors, especially government doctors, bear the brunt of this exploitation?

Doctors are not lazy; we work tirelessly, facing emotional and physical stress every day. Due to the poor welfare conditions, many healthcare workers choose to leave for private practice or migrate to countries like Singapore or Australia. Malaysia is losing a significant portion of its healthcare workforce, perpetuating a vicious cycle where those remaining in government hospitals continue to overwork until they eventually quit as well. How many specialists does Malaysia lose each year to private practice? I've witnessed numerous senior doctors leave for private practice, presumably in search of a better life.

Now, let's discuss the remuneration. Is RM 200 for an on-call shift a substantial amount?

  • Consider working on weekdays from 8 am to 5 pm and then continuing from 5 pm to 8 am the next day (a 15-hour on-call shift).

  • On weekends, it's a 24-hour on-call shift from 8 am to 8 am.

If we calculate our earnings per hour, it becomes evident that our pay is ridiculous minimal amount.

The journey to becoming a doctor is full of obstacles and cruel.

  1. It begins with striving for excellent grades in SPM to secure a spot in matriculation. If you are rich, you can go to private university

  2. After a year of matriculation, you must work hard to achieve four A's to have a chance at studying medicine.

  3. Five years of clinical and non-clinical hard work follow, leading to graduation as a junior house officer.

  4. Enduring two years as a house officer, the lowest rank in the hospital, and finally becoming a medical officer (currently on a contract basis).

  5. Before deciding whether to stay in government service or leave, we must work for another 1-2 years of compulsory service. If we choose to remain, we may be assigned to any location (including sabah/sarawak), leaving us with little control over our lives.

It's a rather disheartening journey, but a sad life doesn't guarantee better welfare. Some may argue, it is your choice to become a doctor mah? Nobody force you. It is a noble job, you should earn less mah....

Yes, it is our choice to become doctor. But why the welfare is not on our side? Why we cannot enjoy both good welfare and saving people life in government hospital?

Why private hospital can, government hospital cannot? This mean you wan chase us out to work in private?

We are professionals, and our working hours should not be equated with non-professional jobs. I pay my air conditioning technician RM 150 for less than an hour of service, and a car engineer charges me several hundred bucks for an hour of car repair.

Can the Ministry of Health show us a bit more care and love? Dont providing unrealistic numbers or exaggerated salaries. It wont help us, but we can see you are keep exploiting the remaining healthcare workforce.

Ten years of our youth are dedicated to this field, including 6-7 years of study and 3 years of compulsory service.

Can we be spared from further humiliation? Stop labeling us as ungrateful or unsatisfied, and don't undermine us by mentioning high salaries. What lies behind the untold stories? If you were to interview doctors, you would realize that most of us are dissatisfied with the current system, welfare, and quality of life. Some doctors even need to see psychiatry for anxiety disorder.

Do doctors have a good quality of life in Malaysia? I highly doubt it.

Still, be positive. Life is fantasy.

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