25 July 2008

Government offers perks for doctors

The Star

ALOR STAR: The Health Ministry spends about RM400mil a year on human development programmes which include scholarships for doctors and nurses to further their studies.

Health Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai said this provided doctors and nurses an opportunity to improve themselves.

Centre of attention: Kedah Sultanah Tuanku Haminah Hamidun, accompanied by Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah (partially hidden beside her), playing with baby Khairunisa Dayana during their visit to the Sultanah Bahiyah Hospital in Alor Star yesterday. With them is Liow (left).

“This is one of the benefits provided by the ministry for Malaysian doctors who are working in the country, and we hope this will attract Malaysian doctors working abroad to return home,” he said.

Liow said this when asked to comment on a statement by Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Mohd Johari Baharum that 236 medical graduates studying overseas under Public Service Department scholarships refused to return home to work.

Mohd Johari was quoted by a Malay newspaper yesterday as saying that the Government spent nearly RM1mil to provide overseas training for each doctor.

He said the Government had no other choice but to take legal action against graduates who refuse to return home.

Liow, met after the opening of the Sultanah Bahiyah Hospital by Kedah Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah here yesterday, said the ministry was working closely with the Human Resources Ministry to get medical graduates to return.

He said the two ministries had set up a one-stop centre that would have a database of Malaysians working abroad as doctors or studying medicine overseas.

“There is about 40% vacancy for doctors at hospitals in the country, and I hope medical graduates will return home to serve the people,” Liow said.

The RM552mil hospital, which was built to replace the Alor Star Hospital, began operations on July 23 last year.

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