by BERNAMA / pic by RAZAK GHAZALI
THE special COVID-19 allowance for healthcare personnel is given to only those performing duties to fight the pandemic, said Ministry of Health (MOH) secretary-general Datuk Seri Dr Chen Chaw Min.
“The allowance is made on a targeted basis. It is not for all 252,765 permanent officers and more than 40,000 contract officers currently serving in the ministry.
“This is because not all officers are instructed to perform duties related to COVID-19 and most of them are still performing their non-COVID-19 duties as usual in health facilities,” he said in a statement today in response to an article published by a news portal.
Dr Chen explained that this directive is also not continuous in nature whereby any officer who no longer performs the duties or was later directed to work at non-COVID-19 facilities is no longer eligible for the allowance.
He said, however, any healthcare officer who has not previously received the allowance will be eligible to receive it when instructed to perform the duties.
According to Dr Chen, based on feedback by Penang Hospital, all healthcare officers who have been instructed and are still performing duties related to COVID-19 are duly paid the allowance.
He added that the allowance paid from March to September 2020 totalled RM3,076,300.
“In this regard, the hospital also held a series of engagement with officers to explain the allowance and the need for officers to be directly involved in the duties related to COVID-19 at the hospital.
“Not all officers are involved because the hospital also needs to ensure other services continue as usual while avoiding the potential infection of the virus at the hospital. This engagement was also made to ensure all eligible officers receive the allowance,” he said.
He said MOH also took collaborative approaches with takaful providers such as the FWD Takaful Berhad to provide MOH-myHeroes funds amounting to RM5 million for healthcare officers infected with COVID-19 while on duty.
“An allocation of more than RM1 billion has also been made available to supply preventive and safety equipment such as face masks, hand sanitisers and personal protective equipment as measures to prevent infection among health workers and ensure their welfare,” he added.