The Vibes-Farhana

Bloated civil service? Health Ministry needs more manpower

By The Vibes

Despite the public perception that Malaysia has a bloated civil service, there is a dire need for more healthcare workers to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

Khazanah Research Institute research associate Nazihah Muhamad Noor said the issue of an understaffed Health Ministry is a long-standing one that has been further laid bare by Covid-19.

She stressed the importance of Budget 2021 addressing the matter, and urged the government to do away with its current “one out, one in” policy.

“Yes, parts of the civil service are bloated, but health services are understaffed. We’ve seen plenty of warnings in the past years, and we’re seeing it more than ever now during this Covid-19 crisis.

“The government needs to do away with this thinking that we need one doctor to retire in order to get another.

“The whole idea of contract doctors and other medical personnel not getting permanent positions should also be discarded. This is really not right for the sacrifices they have made,” she told the Budget 2021: Powering Through a Pandemic webinar conducted by The Vibes yesterday.

She was asked to comment on the issue of health frontliners being overworked and overstretched by the pandemic, and how this will affect allocation for the ministry.

It follows mounting calls for the government to hire more health personnel, as some hospitals struggle to keep up in terms of manpower and equipment to contain the virus.

Research for Social Advancement visiting researcher Farhana Roslan said the health sector, along with education, is in need of more staff to assist in the Covid-19 fight.

Employing more health workers, including medical and lab assistants, will ensure sustainable jobs for Malaysians, she said.

“The government can create more jobs within the public sector. I know many are talking about our civil service being bloated, but the two ministries that are most in need of manpower are health and education.”

It was reported that the country’s civil service is among the most bloated in the world with 1.6 million appointments, or one government employee for every 19.37 Malaysians.

 

Full webinar here.

 

– Published in The Vibes on 5 November 2020