PUTRAJAYA: Decent cost of living. Better promotion opportunities. These are among the reasons why more and more Malaysian doctors working abroad want to come home and work.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramniam said the ministry said the ministry had begun seeing the return to Malaysia recently.
"When there are reports saying the job and promotion opportunities (for Malaysian doctors) are better abroad than at home, it is not true.
"In fact, we are finding a reversal now (of Malaysian doctors) from different countries who want to come back and work in Malaysia," he said.
Dr Subramaniam was speaking to reporters before chairing his ministry's post-cabinet meeting, today.
The most recent example, Dr Subramaniam said was Doctor’s working in Australia, who are seeking to return home as things become more challenging in the nation.
"Every year, we get around 30 to 40 applications from Malaysian doctors working abroad, wanting to come home and work here.
"The deciding factors that lead to these doctors returning home include better and cheaper cost of living in Malaysia.
"If the opportunities are very good - where they can get job easily; they can get promotion easily, and they can become a consultant - they will stay put (in the foreign countries)," he said.
He was commenting on a report that more than 1,500 Malaysian doctors were working in the United Kingdom's National Health Service as of last September.
"We need to get the age group, either they are young or old doctors. My suspicion is that they are (mostly) elderly doctors because there was a time when many of Malaysians studying overseas (back then) did not return home, instead they chose to work abroad."
In today's scenario, Dr Subramaniam said, majority of those who studied medicine abroad on scholarship programmes would come home once they had completed their studies .
He said annually some 5,000 new doctors are entering the country's healthcare system, comprising local and international graduates as well as those who had previously worked abroad.
Meanwhile, on the recent fake baby formula case in Jerantut Pahang, Dr Subramaniam said, the ministry had initiated its investigation into the case through its Food Safety and Security Division.
"Of course we are conducting our investigation to determine the content (of the baby formula). If there are indication that the milk is fake, we will identidy the source and take action.
"Sometimes, this issue can be resolved at the ministerial level and sometime we need the police's (intervention). Let us conduct our investigation first," he said.
On a recent statement by Deputy Education Minister Datuk P. Kamalanathan allegedly saying that a Form Two student who attempted suicide had tried to kill herself before, Dr Subramaniam said he had asked Kamalanathan about it.
"I had asked him and he said that he did not say that. He said that he was only replying to what the reporters said. I will find out exactly what he said and we will manage it," he said.
To a question about People's Progressive Party (MyPPP)'s interest to contest in Cameron Highlands, Dr Subramaniam, who is also MIC president, replied: "It is MIC’s seat".
MyPPP was reported to have identified several Parliamentary and State seats they intended to contest in the 14th General Election (GE14).
Its president, Tan Sri M. Kayveas said that in addition to Cameron Highlands, the other seats include Buntong state seat in Perak, Kota Alam Shah and Kepong (Selangor), Guchil (Kelantan) and Kota Laksamana (Melaka).