On Dec 24 last year, The Star in its Page 1 report “Plugging the brain drain” highlighted how more doctors were looking for greener pastures in other countries due to career uncertainty and better pay. Since then, the government has taken steps to remedy the outflow of talent.
Higher Education Ministry.
Noting that developed nations have done much to attract students from around the world – including from Malaysia – to contribute to their development, Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said Kuala Lumpur would be made Malaysia’s capital for the country’s best talent.
And Malaysia, he said, would be turned into a talent hub for countries in the Global South. Promising to beef up the country’s intellectual resources, the Higher Education Minister said efforts to empower talent would be doubled through three important strategies, namely, by investing in postgraduate training, doctorate and speciality education; attracting the best talent from outside Malaysia; and stopping the brain drain to other countries.
To plug the drain, he said a comprehensive talent management system aimed at keeping and growing contributors to their full potential was necessary. Starting this year, higher learning institutions nationwide must present a plan to retain and develop their talent. Multiple appointment schemes would be considered and “brain sharing” would be made a national policy. Regardless of which ecosystem they serve in, talent working in various agencies in and outside the country would still be a gain for Malaysia, he said when delivering his New Year Message to ministry staff on Jan 30.
On Jan 6, Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa announced that 4,263 permanent positions would be offered to medical officers this year, the highest number of permanent positions allocated since the contract model was rolled out. And on Feb 22, Dr Zaliha had a closed-door townhall meeting with 400 government doctors to hear their views, feedback and proposals in an effort to resolve healthcare workers’ issues.
During the tabling of the revised Budget 2023 on Feb 24, Prime Minister and Finance Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim announced an RM3bil allocation for the hiring of 1,500 medical officers, dentists and pharmacists for permanent and contract positions to help address problems at understaffed healthcare facilities.