On the 9th March 2010, Dato’ Sri Haji Mohd. Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak, the Prime Minister of Malaysia announced a time-based promotion scheme for medical officers, dental officers and pharmacy officers in the Ministry of Health (MOH). This scheme will greatly accelerate their promotion to the Grade 54 level. Those without specialist qualification can reach the Grade 54 level after only 12 years in service. Those with specialist qualification can reach the Grade 54 level after only 9 years in service.

Pay Grade

Medical Service

Grade 41 –> Grade 44

2 years at Grade 41

 

SPECIALIST

Non-specialist

Grade 44 –> Grade 48

3 years at Grade 44 or date gazzeted as a specialist, whichever earlier.

3 years at Grade 44

Grade 48 –> Grade 52

2 years at Grade 48 or availability of post, whichever earlier, subject
to MOH Expert Review Panel recommendations.

4 years at Grade 48 or availability of post, whichever earlier.

Grade 52 –> Grade 54

2 years at Grade 52 or availability of post, whichever earlier, subject
to MOH Expert Review Panel recommendations.

3 years at Grade 52 or availability of post, whichever earlier.

Grade 54 onwards

 Based on the recommendations of MOH Expert Review Panel.

Subject to  availability of post.

Time to reach Grade 54 from date of appointment.

9 years

12 years

For more information on this time-based promotion scheme, please visit the MOH website or download from HERE!

This scheme was initially available only for those working in the Ministry of Health (MOH). Therefore medical officers, dental officers and pharmacy officers working elsewhere within the government service, such as Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE), Home Ministry and Ministry of Defense (MoD) felt discriminated against. Letters were written to the newspapers, complaining of this inequality.

To assuage the hurt feelings of these overlooked officers within MOHE, on 19th. March 2010, Public Service Department Director-General Tan Sri Ismail Adam extended the same privilege to the medical officers, dental officers and pharmacy officers working in the Public Institutes of Higher Learning (PIHL) within the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE). This piece of good news was widely reported by the  mainstream media. The circular extending this privilege to the MOHE staff is available for download from this LINK!

Somehow the Public Service Department must have forgotten to extend this privilege to the doctors and specialists working in the Army Medical Corps under Ministry of Defense (MoD). I am not surprised of this oversight, otherwise there’ll be a sudden increase in the number of Brigadier-Generals (army equivalent of Grade 54) within the Armed Forces. There won’t be enough batman, ADCs, drivers and staff cars to accomodate all these new one star generals!

When the circular extending this privilege to the MOHE staff was announced in March 2010, none of the Public Institutes of Higher Learning (PIHL) implemented this circular immediately. Why? Previously the promotion of lecturers to Grade 54 was tied to their performance, research conducted and number of publications produced. The lecturers were motivated to do research and publish papers to improve their chance of being promoted. Therefore if the time-based promotion to Grade 54 is extended to the PIHL, medical lecturers would have little desire to conduct research or publish papers since they would be automatically promoted to Grade 54, two years after being gazzeted as a specialist. The number of research and publications from the Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Dentistry and Faculty of Pharmacy would drop. The apex university status would also be at stake due to the lack of research and papers published.

The harmony of the PIHL would also be affected. Non-medical/dentistry/pharmacy lecturers would be envious since they have to do research and publish papers to get promoted, while the medical/dentistry/pharmacy lecturers have an easier pathway. Even among the medical/dentistry/pharmacy lecturers, those promoted earlier via the original pathway due to their hard work in research and publication, would also be envious of the good fortune of the newly promoted Grade 54. So improper implementation of this circular may disrupt the harmony of the public universities.

Instead the deans of all public medical faculties are making a joint proposal, to create a special allowance for the medical associate professors and medical professor, to ensure continuing research work  and publication of papers in medicine. The request should be reasonable though, to avoid being accused of having grandiose delusions of our worth.

Not surprisingly, the universities delayed the implemention the time-based promotion for medical/dentistry/pharmacy lecturers. Meanwhile no sane doctors/dentist/pharmacist from MOH would join universities since just by waiting, they will get promoted all the way till Grade 54. Junior university medical lecturers would be resigning since their peers in MOH are being promoted ahead of them.  Applying for promotion to Associate Professor level would be difficult due to the need of papers published. They will end up leaving for greener pastures elsewhere, which will offer better cash rewards.

If no solution is found, the exodus of specialists from public universities will continue. Their loss will not be replaced by specialists from MOH like before. In the long run, the only lecturers left in the public medical faculties would be the pre-clinical lecturers (no marketable skills for the private sector) and the old clinical professors (waiting for retirement). No more young blood. It is already happening in departments like Anaesthesiology. Even the incentive allowance won’t help.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Kamarul Ariffin Khalid from IIUM analysed the disparity of the two salary schemes. He wrote,

“The medical faculties in the PIHL will not have any new trainee lecturers coming in by next year and no new generation of medical lecturers after the next 4 years. Closure of public medical schools, especially those that are already short of medical lecturers, is a very real possibility; while a decline in the quality of their graduates is a certainty.”

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