GEORGE TOWN: Some 200 medical graduates in Penang have yet to receive their postings as of last year, a Penang executive councillor said today.
Dr Afif Bahardin, who is state Health, Agriculture and Rural Development committee chairman, attributed the backlog to a lack of hospitals and specialist centres, as well as the failure of the federal government to ensure graduates continued to serve and work in the field.
“Many medical graduates have to wait a year and a half for their placements.
“As a result, these graduates had to resort to working other jobs such as being a Uber or Grab driver, selling nasi lemak or working in fast food chains like McDonald’s,” he said in a press conference here today.
Afif also asked why the budget for hospitals was being cut, even with the collection of the goods and services tax (GST).
He said many patients these days had to buy their medicine at pharmacies.
“The federal government has already earned so much in terms of tax. It goes to show that the financial management is not efficient under the Barisan Nasional (BN) government,” he said.
Afif also asked what had become of the plans to upgrade the Balik Pulau Hospital, which Balik Pulau MP Dr Hilmi Yahaya had promised in 2012.
“What has he done for Balik Pulau in the past five years? I don’t blame him. I believe he wants the hospital, but the federal government is not managing the economy well.
“They do not stop wastage from happening, so there is no money to build hospitals,” he said.
Earlier in the press conference, Afif also refuted claims by Balik Pulau Umno that the cost of living allowance for fishermen would be stopped if Pakatan Harapan takes over the federal government in the 14th general election (GE14).
Sinar Harian had reported Hilmi as saying PH would not be able to continue paying the allowance as it would not have enough funds due to its proposal to abolish the GST.
Calling it an irresponsible statement and an attempt to scare the people, Afif said PH would continue giving subsidies and handing out the cost of living allowance for fishermen.
“The PH state government allocated RM1 million a year in aid to fishermen from 2013 to 2018, recognising the contributions of the fishermen regardless of colour or creed.
“A total of 2,500 fishermen have benefitted from the RM400 aid. It shows how committed the state government is to helping the fishermen.”