18 July 2008

Shorter stint to woo docs home

The Star

NIBONG TEBAL: Young medical specialists practising overseas may only have to serve one year mandatory service at government hospitals, an incentive proposed by the Health Ministry to woo Malaysian doctors working abroad to return home.

Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai said the proposed one-year tenure would be offered to specialists aged 35 and below while those aged 45 and above would be exempted from serving at government hospitals.

He said the three-year mandatory service requirement had been identified as the main stumbling block for Malaysian doctors overseas to come home and work.

He said that besides the mandatory service, incentives for doctors at government hospitals were not attractive to these specialists.

“The ministry is studying ways to abolish the three-year mandatory service requirement to woo back Malaysian doctors who are above 45 and have served more than 10 years overseas.

“For those aged 35 and below, the mandatory service will be shortened to only a year,” he said after accompanying Yang di-Pertua Negri Tun Abdul Rahman Abbas and his consort, Toh Puan Majimor Shariff, during a visit to the Sungai Bakap Hospital here yesterday.

Liow said the number of Malaysian doctors abroad was high.

He said the number of local specialists was about 1,800 and it was not sufficient for the high number of chronic patients nationwide.

“In the last two years, we managed to attract only 100 Malaysian specialists home,” he said.

He said his ministry would have joint efforts with other ministries to create career opportunities for medical students in the country to stop the brain drain.

On another issue, Liow said Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim should cooperate with the police by allowing the authorities to take his DNA sample to facilitate investigations into an alleged sodomy case.

“As a responsible citizen, Anwar should co-operate with the police,” he said.

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