Special allowance meant only for those involved in Covid-19 duties, says Health Ministry

PETALING JAYA: The special Covid-19 allowance for frontliners are only for healthcare officers who are involved in Covid-19 duties, says Health Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Dr Chen Chaw Min.

He said the RM600 allowance was not meant for healthcare personnel who are not involved in handling Covid-19 patients.

“The allowance is made on a targeted basis. It is not meant for all 252,765 permanent officers and more than 40,000 contract officers currently serving in the Health Ministry.

“This is because not all officers are instructed to perform duties related to Covid-19. Most of them are still performing their non-Covid-19 duties as usual in health facilities that are not specified for Covid-19.

“Furthermore, this directive is also not continuous in nature. Officers who no longer perform the duties or are later directed to work at non Covid-19 facilities are no longer eligible for the allowance, ” he said in a statement on Wednesday (Nov 18).

He said that feedback from Penang Hospital showed that all healthcare officers who are performing Covid-19 duties are duly paid the allowance.

“The total amount of allowance paid from March to September 2020 was RM3,076,300.

“The hospital also held a series of engagement (sessions) 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.

“This engagement was also made to ensure all eligible officers receive the allowance, ” he said.

Dr Chen was responding to The Star’s article published on Nov 7 that not every staff member of Penang Hospital is getting the RM600 special allowance, but they are glad that their colleagues who are handling the Covid-19 cases will get it.

Some of the staff members in the article also expressed hope for the allowance to be expanded to include frontline hospital staff who don’t deal directly with Covid-19 patients but still face patients directly in general.

“Regarding the healthcare officers who are not directly involved such as medical officers and the nurse ‘Kak Anum’ who have been interviewed by the journalist, they only express hope that they will also be considered to be paid the allowance.

“In this case, the government through the Health Ministry appreciates their concerns, sacrifices and contribution towards delivering excellent services to all patients, ” he said.

He added that the Health Ministry is collaborating with takaful providers for the MOH-myHeroes fund amounting to RM5mil to be given to healthcare officers infected with Covid-19 while on duty.

An allocation of RM1bil, he added, has also been set aside for the supply of preventive and safety equipment such as face masks, hand sanitisers and personal protective equipment.

“Apart from that, the government also proposed through the Budget 2021 a special assistance payment of RM600 be given to all Grade 56 officers and below in appreciation of their contribution and commitment, ” he said.

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