The Public Service Department (PSD) of Malaysia announced a series of incentive and allowance cuts as part of its policy review.
The move greatly affects the Critical Services Incentive Payment (BIPK) allowance scheme. The allowance, established in 1992, was intended to attract and retain skilled workers and professionals considered vital to national development.
The PSD stated that the BIPK was no longer necessary since there is already a surplus of graduates applying in the public service.
“[N]owadays, we have received 24,756 applications for medical officer posts, exceeding the employment requirement of 15,268,” PSD Director-General Datuk Suhaime Mahbar said.
Among those angered by the incentive cuts include incoming medical professionals and healthcare workers who received a fixed allowance of RM750 (S$246) along with their monthly salary under the BIPK.
In a report by The Star, one newly registered dentist said that RM750 was already 20% of their salary, and it could mean “a janitor in Singapore” will be earning more than medical professionals in Malaysia.
Reports state that the typical starting salary of doctors in Malaysia is around RM3,842 (S$1,258) per month. Wages for the cleaning sector in Singapore range from S$1,400 to S$1,800 according to the Ministry of Manpower.
The incentive cut could push many medical professionals to seek better opportunities abroad or practice privately.
The announcement also faced opposition among Ministers and medical organizations.
Thirty-three other service schemes will reportedly be affected by the incentive cuts and professionals like architects, marine officers, engineers and pilots will also be affected.
The BIPK cut was originally planned to be implemented by Jan 1, 2020, but has been postponed following Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s agreement to further discuss the issue at the next Cabinet meeting./TISG