Not only Sarawak hospitals lack beds, she also lack doctors and medical assistants. According to Taib, the Chief Minister of Sarawak, out of the 1,334 position, 510 or 38.2% had been filled while out of the 175 specialists posts in Sarawak medical officers’ posts, only General Hospital here, Sibu, Miri and Bintulu Hospitals, 135 or 77.5% had been filled.
In response, Health Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai suggested the following to solve the acute shortage of doctors in Sarawak:
1) Sarawak to give PR status to non-Sarawakian doctors who have served for a number of year in the state. Doctors from outside Sarawak should not be subjected for the application of working permit.
2) Doctors serving in remote areas should be given hardship allowance like those received by teachers.
3) Foreign doctors who are under contract need not to fully understand Bahasa Malaysia when serve his round.
4) The government need to be aggressive to promote medical studies and assist students to further their studies on medicines.
5) The government need to revise and improve doctors renumeration.
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MMA: Allow peninsula docs to work freely in Sarawak
By Jack Wong
KUCHING: The shortage of doctors in Sarawak can be overcome if the state government allows doctors from the peninsula to work freely in the state.
Malaysian Medical Association president Datuk Dr Khoo Kah Lin suggested Sarawak grant permanent resident (PR) status to peninsula doctors after they had served the state for a fixed period.
Speaking at the association’s annual banquet on Friday night, Dr Khoo urged the Health Ministry to lobby the state government on this matter.
Later, in response, Health Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai said he had conveyed the association’s request at a meeting with Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan Hong Nam on Friday.
Liow hoped the matter could be sorted out given the close cooperation between the state and federal governments.
Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud had asked the Health Ministry on Thursday to quickly resolve the acute shortage of medical officers and specialists in hospitals in the state.
Taib said out of the 1,334 510 or 38.2% had been filled while out of the 175 specialists posts in Sarawak medical officers’ posts, only General Hospital here, Sibu, Miri and Bintulu Hospitals, 135 or 77.5% had been filled.
The Chief Minister said specialist posts should also be created for other larger provincial hospitals like in Sri Aman, Sarikei and Kapit.
Dr Khoo said better incentives should be given to doctors working in remote areas in Sarawak and Sabah to retain them there.
“The government has provided hardship allowances to teachers serving in the rural areas. The same incentives should be extended to the doctors,” he added.
Dr Khoo said the government should hasten the process of posting new doctors, and follow what the Singapore government had done.
“Singapore has taken in our doctors to work as the process time for job application for new doctors is short and that their applications and processing are done on-line,” he added.