RM3.4b for permanent positions in Health Ministry

Govt to create 4,186 additional positions in the ministry this year comprising 3,586 MOs, 300 dental officers and 300 pharmacists  

by ASILA JALIL / Pic by BLOOMBERG

THE government is expected to spend RM3.4 billion for the appointment of 11,296 new permanent officers in the Ministry of Health (MoH) until 2025.

Deputy Health Minister II Datuk Aaron Ago Dagang said on Jan 19, 2022, the government agreed to create 4,186 additional positions in the ministry for this year comprising 3,586 medical officers (MOs), 300 dental officers and 300 pharmacists. 

“The implementation of this decision involves an initial financial implication of RM337.5 million a year for this year. The financial implication for emoluments to these officers will continue to increase to RM1.2 billion from 2023 until 2025,” he said in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday. 

He was responding to a query from Kangar MP Noor Amin Ahmad who wanted the ministry to state the costs incurred on the ministry up until 2025 for the appointment of new medical officers, dentists, pharmacists and health experts as announced recently. 

Aaron added due to the existing vacancies for dental officers and pharmacists, a total of 460 dentists would be appointed which is an additional 160 appointments while another 100 additional positions are available for pharmacists bringing the total appointments to 400. 

The deputy minister further explained that the government agreed to create at least 1,500 permanent positions for MOs, dental officers and pharmacists every year starting 2023 until 2025. 

“The estimated financial implication for emoluments would be RM744.5 million during the period. 

“The government also agreed to create 800 permanent specialist positions for MOs and 70 for dentists in MoH every year starting next year until 2025, which will cost the government RM1.1 billion for three years. 

“In total, the estimated financial implication for 11,296 additional permanent positions is RM3.4 billion,” he said. 

Meanwhile, in response to another question, the deputy minister also said no deaths relating to Covid-19 have been reported as at March 11. 

Aaron said the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency had received 607 reports on suspected deaths among Covid-19 vaccine recipients whereby 451 reports have completed investigation and evaluation by the Covid-19 Vaccine Special Pharmacovigilance Committee. 

“The cause of death is based on critical evaluation as well as post-mortem reports. It is confidential and cannot be exposed to the public, unless with consent from the family. 

“Each death will be investigated and reported thoroughly by the research team that was created at the facility level,” he said in response to a query from Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii. 

Yii had asked for the ministry to provide data on the total number of deaths among vaccine recipients and the cause of death. 

Aaron added MoH also currently has no plans to administer the fourth dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. 

He said this in response to a supplementary question from Tumpat MP Datuk Che Abdullah Mat Nawi who said he was informed that the ministry had formed a committee at the end of last year to look into the requirement to administer another round of booster shots to the public due to the Omicron variant. 

“The ministry has no plans to administer a fourth dose to the public,” said Aaron yesterday