Move to Extend Compulsory Government Service for Doctors

  • Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Senator Datuk T. Murugiah has announced the intention of the Government to extend compulsory service for doctors from 3 to 5 or 10 years today.
  • By John Lo


  • I am saddened to see the Government is initiating this change without careful thoughts as we would expect from responsible leaders. The tone of the Deputy Minister in the newspaper borders on the silly and a straight admission of the failure of the government to provide sufficient doctors to look after Malaysians.
  • A person with a bit of brains will tell you that the extension of compulsory services for doctors to 5 or 10 years will result in more shortages in the future. Very simple –  students will be reluctant to take the tough and long medical course only to be confronted with long compulsory services and very poor pay from the Government. When this eventuates, what is the government going to do? Extend the compulsory service to 20 years? To a life time?
  • In the long-term interest of our country, the Government cannot and must not penalize the young doctors for its policy failure by imprisoning them with a longer extension. First of all, it is not fair to the young doctors as it will impose considerable constraints and impediments on their future. Secondly, by the time the Government releases them, most of them will be in their 30’s and early 40s. With the sort of government salary they will get, grave injustice will be done on their families [if they can afford to get married!].
  • The extension will greatly encourage brain drain of our young, best and brightest Malaysians. Those who are qualified and are still in Malaysia, will seek to migrate to another country where they can practice their profession in a more rewarding manner. Those who are trained overseas will not think twice but many times of returning to serve.
  • The Government must explain why it has failed to produce sufficient doctors to serve the medical needs of Malaysia. Taking the easy way out by imposing unacceptable compulsory service is short sighted. The government cannot expect the young doctors to make sacrifices while they can see so many cases of people with the “right” connections making millions within a short time. The least the government can do is to let these young and bright doctors settle down in their chosen profession, earn a decent living and raise a family.
  • The Government can quite easily increase the number and quality of doctors in Malaysia if it can reduce some of the many cases of corruption and “legalized monopolies”. The funds saved can be channeled to engage the best medical brains in Malaysia and where necessary, from other countries to staff our medical faculties and to enlarge these medical faculties or build new ones.
  • The Government cannot continue to hold our young doctors to ransom and subject them to unfair terms and conditions. In any good democracy, it is the duty of the Government to provide ways and means to add value to its citizens – not to penalize them.
  • Hi Mr. Deputy Minister – can you wake up from your slumber, get out from your comfort zone and think out of the box?