Malaysia will probably lose degree-holder nurses due to low pay

Published by on Oct 10, 2016, 05:55 pm

Malaysia is losing highly qualified nurses due to low salaries.


“Nurses are struggling to get pay that commensurates with the educational qualifications and a new nursing graduate holding a degree will get the same pay as a diploma holder in Malaysia,” said Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) Head of Nursing Department Associate Professor Dr Zabidah Putit when interviewed by members of the media at the nursing conference held at the Promenade Hotel near here, yesterday.

Instead of being paid according to thier qualifications, their wages are that of a diploma holder despite them holding degrees. In Malaysia, excluding monthly allowances, means a salary of less than RM2,0000 a month, she said.

She also added that nurses who are qualified degree holders often opt to work in other countries like Singapore, Saudi Arabia and Brunei due to more attractive renumerations and higher rate of exchange. Half of Malaysia's highly qualified nurses are currently working in Singapore.

One reason that probably attributed to the low pay given to nurses with degree qualification is the oversupply of nurses several years ago.

“Presently, the ratio is one nurse for every 200 population. That is currently not that bad but I disagree that there is an oversupply of nurses in the country,” she said. The bulk of nurses in this country are diploma holders. At current, there are 193,000 nurses in Malaysia, with between 10 to 20 percent holding degrees and a small minority with masters of PhDs.

Dr Zabidah also mentioned that the quality of nursing graduates from public universities such as Unimas were sought after by overseas health service providers for their quality.

“Singapore recognises our Unimas graduates. Some of them work also in Saudi Arabia where they can command between RM7,000 and RM8,000 a month,” she said.

A healthy health system composed of highly trained workforce, highly efficient information system, excellent health services, and medical technologies, as well as outstanding governance and adequate financing are seriously needed, Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun said in his speech which was read by his Assistant Minister Datuk Kamarlin Ombi.

“They are required to deliver quality healthcare to all people when they need it, where they need it, and at prices they can afford,” he said.

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