Underpaid, under appreciated frontliners
Published on: Sunday, April 25, 2021
By: Datuk John Lo
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MY Salutations To Medical Personnel in Sabah.

I would like to devote this week’s column to express my deep appreciation and thanks to our unsung heroes and heroines in the medical professions, from Sabah’s Medical Director, doctors, nurses, to all the supporting staff for their outstanding, excellent services which they have been rendering to Sabahans. All too often, unkind criticisms have been levelled against these selfless nightingales who toil and sweat day and night, often way beyond their working hours. To those who have unthinkingly and overly free with their harsh words and criticism, I would urge them to restrain themselves.

Great Sacrifice from Our Medical Personnel.

Since the emergence of Covid19 in early 2020, our medical personnel have worked way beyond their call of duty to save lives, often working with insufficient PPE [Personal Protective Equipment] and very long taxing hours. They have worked and are still toiling long hours, exposing themselves and their family members and loved ones to this dreadful pandemic. Thanks to them, Sabah has been spared the worst. Lest we forget, these medical personnel are our saviours.

5* Service at Covid19 Vaccine Centre.

The level of service at DEWAN PUSAT PENTADBIRAN KERAJAAN PERSEKUTUAN is impressively touching, as good as at the Shangri-La! On 20 April 2021, I went for my first jab. On arrival, there were smiling faces to greet everyone at the door. They requested me to register by my mobile. Then directed me to the check-in counter. This was done within a minute. Next station is to the nurse who checks my blood pressure, not once but twice to ensure it is ok for me to take the jab. I like this nurse’s caring attitude. She asked all the pertinent questions and ensure that I understand them. Waited for a few minutes before going into a room for the real thing, the Pfizer jab. Done and out in less than 2 minutes. Then was shown to some chairs behind. Told to rest for 15 minutes to ensure I did not have any adverse reaction. The young fella also gave me a slip to show when my 15 minutes would up? During this wait, another personnel registered me for my 2nd dose for 11th May 2021.

Believe me, all this took just less than 45 minutes. More than that. The efficiency was impressive but I was more touched by the polite and friendly attitudes of all the staff, from the entrance to the last station. Never have I experienced that government staff would greet every one “uncle” and “aunty”I could not believe this level of service can happen in Sabah. I am most impressed. This is the best!

Vast Improvements in QE1, QE2 and QE3.

Not fair if I don’t mention the vast improvements in QE1, QE2 and QE3 in recent years. By any standards of government hospitals, ours are comparable to any in the advance countries and are way ahead better than those in many countries. I have gone to all 3 QEs to visit friends and close relatives. 

Some overcrowding no doubt but which government hospital does not have this problem in the world? The 3 QEs are clean, the staff are friendly and have good caring attitudes. Recently, I have 2 family members who fell and were admitted into emergencies at QE 1 and QE3. The staff gave them scans and ensured they were ok before discharging them. All done within a relatively short time. 

Improve their pay.

The quality of government is best seen from the way it looks after its citizens. The most important 3 branches of government service which I call the 3 pillars of society are education, security and medical. Unfortunately, it is a universal truth that personnel in these 3 branches are often poorly paid, more so in Malaysia. I urge the federal government to improve their terms and conditions of employment, including canteen facilities. 

There is a lot of leakages in the procurements and construction of hospitals. The government should plug these leakages and use the savings to better reward our medical staff. They deserve better from the government. 

May God bless our nightingales. May the politicians open eyes to appreciate the contributions to society by our medical personnel. May they have better conscience to accord them with better pay/treatment.



Medical frontliners with three former Chief Ministers who took their vaccination recently. (L-R): Tan Sri Chong Kah Kiat, Tan Sri Pairin Kitingan and Tan Sri Bernard Dompok.

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