Penang official claims medical grads selling nasi lemak to survive

Penang state health executive councillor Dr Afif Bahardin. — Picture by K.E.Ooi
Penang state health executive councillor Dr Afif Bahardin. — Picture by K.E.Ooi

GEORGE TOWN, Feb 27 — Medical graduates are resorting to hawking and driving for ride-hailing services while waiting for placement in government hospitals, Penang exco Dr Afif Bahardin alleged today.

The health, agriculture and rural development committee chairman said about 200 medical graduates in Penang could not find placement for their mandatory housemanship over a year after graduating.

“Some graduates had to wait one-and-half years, so they had to sell nasi lemak, drive Uber or work in fast food restaurants while waiting,” he said in a press conference at Komtar today.

He said this delay in placing the graduates was because there were not enough hospitals and specialists hospitals in the country.

“This is also due to a failure in the system as there were too many leakages in Putrajaya so the government do not have money to build hospitals,” he added.

Dr Afif said the problem was nationwide, and not just in Penang.

The graduates were also in a limbo as they could not practise medicine until the complete their housemanship.

The delay in placing them could also hurt their chances of completing the mandatory placement successfully, he added.

The state official then asked Putrajaya what it was doing with tax collections since it was not building more hospitals or expanding existing ones.

Citing Hospital Balik Pulau as an example, he said Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya promised in 2012 that this would be upgraded, but noted that this was yet to be done.

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