Critical Allowances Removed



There has been an uproar of the removal of the critical allowances from 33 professions. Based on the comment from PSD deputy director-general (Development) Datuk Suhaime Mahbar, the introduction of the allowance in 1992 was because some of the roles that were offered by PSD was not attractive enough. Resulting in a lot of vacancies. Reference here.

But decades past, there are far more doctors that are coming into the service versus the number of vacancies available. What puzzles me is that, if not enough vacancies, why is there an impression that the junior doctors are overworked and underpaid. The estimation of the headcount should take into consideration the required FTE per the estimated volume. As such, there should not be a situation where the junior doctors are overworked. There is something wrong somewhere.

I am not a doctor, but I am not a fan of an underpaid or overworked situation. Plus, because the transition is so abrupt, there will be a case where two individuals, doing the same type of work are paid differently. And for an amount of RM750 over a basic salary of RM2,947 – that is quite significant.

I do think that something needs to be done here. There are a couple of options out there, few on top of my mind this morning are:

  1. Reintroduce back the Critical Service Allowance
  2. Make sure enough FTE so that there are no cases of overworked

I don’t have any comments on the salary of a junior doctor because I am not in the industry. But I do think, a basic salary of circa RM4000 is not enough for a fresh graduate in this day and age. When I first started work back in 1999, my basic salary was about RM2400 and then add up the overtime, I was paid about RM3500. Of course, it is definitely the case of overworked because I do generally spend 10-12 hours at work. About a year later, the firm did an adjustment of the salary scheme and removed the overtime allowance and introduced a higher basic salary. My salary was adjusted to RM3500. Mind you, this was back in the year 2000. And of course, with quick progression, my salary was already up to RM6000 in the next 2 years. For comparison sake, by the time I was already earning RM6000, my friends who were studying medicine would have just graduated and started their journey as a houseman earning a meagre salary.

So. is it fair for a doctor who spent more than 5 years studying (versus an engineer like me who only spent 3 years), and worked as much if not longer than me – to earn such a small salary? Their services are far more important than me who is doing for profit. They are doing the nation a service by providing healthcare to the common citizens. Yes, eventually, as they progress, they will be able to gain their specialization and earn much more money than I do. But – to be fair, they are an important aspect to society and we should give them the right and fair benefit.

This article is of my own personal views,