PETALING JAYA: An online petition by the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) against Putrajaya’s decision to revoke the critical service allowance for government healthcare staff has gained close to 60,000 signatures in less than 24 hours.
MMA, in its petition, said the decision would see a 15% pay cut for newly-graduated doctors, nurses, pharmacists and dentists who join the public sector next year.
“Why does the civil service seem to be targeting the healthcare workers? We are the only professional scheme with contract juniors. We are now faced with a sharp reduction in our incentives. There seems to be an ever-increasing burden being placed on our juniors, and we from the association feel this is unfair,” MMA said on popular online petition platform change.org.
At press time, the petition has attracted about 56,000 signatures.
Earlier today, the Public Service Department (JPA) said the decision to stop paying the critical service allowance was taken after a careful review mandated by the Government Remuneration System (SSB), introduced in 1992.
It said the allowance is designed to be needs-based and not permanent, and is subject to revisions every five years, adding that the last review was done 12 years ago.
Doctors and nurses joining the public sector next year are among those affected by the decision.
MMA said the decision would not only affect the morale of the junior healthcare professionals but also productivity and job satisfaction.
“A question to ask: is money all there is? It is most definitely not just the monetary gain, but the recognition that the services we provide are critical and appreciated,” it said.
“While we support prudence and ensuring a leaner civil service, this should never come at the expense of the critical areas for the development of the country, namely health and education,” it added.