Allowance only for those involved in Covid-19 duties, says 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 were 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.

“Not all officers are instructed to perform duties related to Covid-19. Most of them still do 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, ” he said in a statement yesterday.

He said feedback from Penang Hospital showed that all healthcare officers who performed Covid-19 duties were 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 received 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 was getting the RM600 special allowance.

Some 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 (https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2020/11/07/not-all-penang-hospital-staff-receive-allowance).

“Regarding the healthcare officers who are not directly involved such as medical officers and the nurse ‘Kak Anum’ who was interviewed by the journalist, they only expressed hope that they would 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 was 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, was 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 Budget 2021 a special assistance payment of RM600 to be given to all Grade 56 officers and below in appreciation of their contribution and commitment, ” he said.

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