Nurses’ union urges Putrajaya to reconsider critical service allowance cut

Currently, staff nurses with diplomas and higher qualifications receive a 10 to 15 per cent monthly allowance based on their basic salary. — Picture by Azneal Ishak
Currently, staff nurses with diplomas and higher qualifications receive a 10 to 15 per cent monthly allowance based on their basic salary. — Picture by Azneal Ishak

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 26 — The Malayan Nurses Union (MNU) has urged the Public Service Department (JPA) to reconsider its decision to stop paying critical service incentives to newly recruited professional civil servants — particular those serving in the healthcare sector.

Malaysiakini reported that MNU president Nor Hayati Abd Rashid had called upon Putrajaya to discuss the matter with the union before implementing the allowance cut from January 1, 2020.

“We would like to urge the JPA to reconsider and reinstate these critical allowances to young nurses.

“I believe the government will always open the door for discussions, as before this we have been involved in many discussions with government departments in the past,” she reportedly said.

Currently, staff nurses with diplomas and higher qualifications receive a 10 to 15 per cent monthly allowance based on their basic salary.

Nor Hayati, who serves as a matron at Hospital Teluk Intan, pointed out that the allowance cuts would discourage new nurses from staying in the public service in the long run and is also a form of discrimination.

She said that since the job description is the same and existing staff will continue to receive the allowance, it will not be fair to new nurses and the decision smacks of a double standard for government healthcare professionals.

“Psychologically, it will demoralise them. The second thing is probably people will resign [from government service] to go somewhere else... this will be a brain drain, we will lose our nurses,” Nor Hayati, who is also the Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) public service sector vice president, reportedly said.

She explained that the allowance was first introduced as an incentive to retain nurses in the civil service to ensure that they do not leave for greener pastures.

At the moment, MNU represents 40 to 45 per cent of all qualified nurses working in public healthcare in peninsula Malaysia with a membership of 27,000.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad and Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman were caught unaware by the JPA’s decision.

Syed Saddiq, together with Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii, former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, PAS deputy president and Kubang Kerian MP Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man as well as the Malaysian Medical Association have condemned the move.

Others serving in the public sector who will be affected include government-employed nursing lecturers, doctors, pharmacists, medical officers, engineers and lecturers.

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