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YOURSAY | Brain drain - studies and more studies, no action

YOURSAY | ‘If meritocracy is practised, brain drain will slowly stop but are we bothered?’

Zaliha: Ministry continues studying brain drain among healthcare workers

P Dev Anand Pillai: That is what we are good at, we keep studying and studying but there is no action after studying. If meritocracy is practised, the brain drain will slowly stop but are we bothered?

If you don’t recognise talent and seniority, what do you expect of medical professionals? Even the better nurses are leaving in droves to nations that recognise their talents and remunerate them accordingly.

What do we do when this happens? We keep studying and studying and filling the vacancies with half-baked entrants who need further training and mentoring because they are simply not capable both intellectually and socially.

So, we have successfully changed state and federal governments now, but the question is when are we going to change ourselves? Until we begin to practice meritocracy, the brain drain will continue.

To begin with, the Malays who are the policy makers need to implement and practice it amongst themselves first so that the best amongst them leads.

If that happens, the rest of the nation will follow and fall into place. The question is, will they do that?

BOBBYO: (We have) a clueless minister or a minister who knows the problems but does not have any ideas or possesses no power to change the situation.

The main priority is wages. The disparity and the avenue for promotion in the government service is another problem.

The fact is, there is a huge disparity in wages between the government sector and the private sector. The truth to that problem is the lack of funds due to the massive corrupt acts of the previous administrations.

The second fact is there is no meritocracy in the promotion of these workers. This is a well-known fact and must be addressed.

Until the minister is willing to correct these two main areas of the brain drain, it will continue happening for the time the minister finishes her tenure as a minister.

Let us see whether anything is done to help raise the wages of those working in the medical sector. The budget will expose the details of how sincere the Madani government is in helping to stop the brain drain, especially in this sector.

Otherwise, the brain drain will continue and the health ministry will continue to study the issue without bringing any improvement to the sector.

GreenRusa4781: The reasons for the brain drain are obvious. To say we will continue to study brain drain among healthcare workers is nonsensical and somewhat political in nature.

Who doesn’t know the reasons except for the current and all previous prime ministers and health ministers? If you don’t have the political will to end it then just keep quiet.

If the health minister is serious about brain drain, just publish/discuss the following at a town hall forum in Kuala Lumpur. Publish the date and time and learned Malaysians will come to educate the health minister and her staff.

1) How many have left for the private sector - this will reveal that non-Malays top the list and it will also reveal that, among them, are some of the brightest in medicine here in Malaysia;

2) How much do specialists earn in the public sector compared to the private sector?

3) Why do we hear that promotions are based on race not ability/attitude/qualifications? Is this true and if so, why?

4) Why are there so many local medical colleges that accept students with mediocre A-Levels and STPM results?

Worse still, students after their SPM (with mediocre results) enrol for foundation programmes and are passed to pursue a medical degree. It is all about money and never about quality

5) Why do we hear about excessive working hours and burnout among healthcare workers, in particular doctors?

Is it because, in the first place these workers were never qualified and when given the job, they can’t cope?

6) Why do we hear that promotions are also race-based, not on merit? I can go on and on about the many reasons for the brain drain but there is only one solution. It is a meritocracy that must be practised at all levels, irrespective of race and religion.

The health minister would be extremely foolish to think that the learned Malaysians don’t know the reasons why there is this eternal brain drain among healthcare workers in Malaysia.

Falcon: I have heard this mantra over 48 years of my involvement in the same sector.  Absolutely nothing comes out of this. The “orang kita (our people) syndrome” is far too entrenched.

Just look at those currently helming the Health Ministry leadership. They are most clueless - we need to thank a former director-general who planted the toxic seeds.

Even the sitting health minister is clueless and inexperienced to lead a senior ministry like this.

UB40: Brain drain happens not only in healthcare but in other sectors as well. For example, in government-linked companies, why are new faces not given a chance to lead? It appears that mostly the same old faces are appointed, like musical chairs moving around.

The current health minister like the previous ones has no idea how to bring changes to the ministry. They always seem to tackle the low-hanging fruits but the difficult problem areas are not investigated at all.

This is very much like the education minister, who appears to be just good at looking at how to keep toilets in schools clean. Where are reforms on the syllabus including improving the study of the English language?

Rku020: This is just paying lip service to the issue with no intention of fixing the problem. Just focus on creating and reporting activities but not the results. Who doesn’t know the reason for the brain drain?

Em Chan: There are many doctors (including me) who want to remain in the public service despite the low pay compared to private practice. The reason we leave is not because of the money - it's because of the unfair way we are treated in government service.

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