Most of the 22,000 contract medical officers who received letters upgrading them from UD41 category to UD43 over the past week will not receive any salary increase as they are earning more than the starting pay in the new scale.
Several doctors said they were currently drawing a basic pay of RM3,622 while the starting salary under the UD43 grade is RM3,611.
“Only those who were appointed recently stand to gain as they start off with a basic of RM3,397. But most of us are already drawing RM3,622 after we got an annual increment of RM225,” said an affected doctor.
Although their new appointments are backdated to between six and nine months, this will mean nothing because of this anamoly.
“Based on the contract, I will continue receiving the same basic until I get my annual increment which is normal,” he said, adding that this upgrading exercise appears to be meaningless.
The salary clause in their new contracts which was sighted by FMT, states that they will be given the starting pay in the new grade only if it is higher than their last drawn salary under their previous lower grade.
The only difference is the maximum salary, with the one in UD43 being higher at RM10,560 compared with RM9,656 in their current scale.
“Based on the annual increment of RM250, it will take more than 20 years before we reach the maximum. But at the moment, we are only being given two-year contracts, so it does not matter,” he said.
Like the other doctors, he hopes the health ministry will make it really meaningful by giving them one or two increments in this upgrading exercise.
Congress of Union of Employees in the Public and Civil Services (Cuepacs) secretary-general Abdul Rahman Mohd Nordin when contacted said it appears to be an upgrading exercise in name only.
“It’s only fair that they are given one or two increments in the new scale as otherwise the upgrading exercise will be meaningless. These doctors are all frontliners and working very hard.
“As it is, they are earning less than their permanent counterparts although they do the same job,” he said.
Rahman also wants the ministry to clarify if the new doctors joining as contract officers after this announcement will be placed in UD43 or they have to start off in UD41 and wait for another upgrading exercise.
Last December, health minister Dr Adham Baba announced that contract medical officers would be promoted to the new category and they would be notified accordingly. - FMT