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"Doctoring Is A Bad Investment In M'sia" – Comic Artist Shares Wife's Woes As A Govt MO

Nixon Siow highlighted that many doctors have resigned because of their placements away from home.

Cover image via Nixon Siow (Facebook) & Mikhail Ong/New Straits Times

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A comic artist has brought to light the chaos that occurs in a Malaysian medical officer's (MO) life after his wife was placed at a hospital in a different state from where they lived

The series of comics by artist Nixon Siow detailed his wife's experience as a medical officer waiting for her placement by the government.

As of writing, his post has garnered over 8,600 shares and well over 700 comments, especially from health professionals who shared his wife's plights, highlighting the Ministry of Health's (MOH) disorganised manner of handling doctors' placements.

Siow begins his cartoon by introducing himself as an artist and his wife as a 'floating MO' – a medical officer who has completed her housemanship and is waiting for the government to give a placement

The couple, who have been married for less than a year in Kuala Lumpur, were suddenly informed by MOH in the middle of June this year that she would be posted to Perak.

She was told to report for duty on 18 July with no other information or details given.

"Which hospital will [she] be working at? We don't know. Wanna rent a house also cannot. Will they give [her] time to move house? Don't know. How long will [she] be working there? No clue at all," Siow wrote in the comic.

He added that it was a tough situation because her placement meant that they would be uprooting themselves away from their family in Kuala Lumpur.

They had tried to appeal the decision with the ministry twice but were not successful.

Up to the day that his wife reported for duty in Perak, they still did not know which hospital she would be sent to

Siow recounted that even a day later, when she was finally told that she was given a post at Ipoh Hospital, no start date was given.

"We found a house in Ipoh and moved in on the same day," he said.

Explaining his reason for illustrating their ordeal, Siow pointed out the personal sacrifices and cost of his wife's placement on both of them

Not only were they stressed due to the lack of details and options, relocating also affected his business and income as a spouse who chose to relocate with her.

He acknowledged there were many other medical officers who take up their placements alone, leaving their husbands, wives, children, and friends, to take up work at a state determined by the government.

Image via fbcdn.net

"Being a doctor in Malaysia is a bad investment. Do you know how many MOs are experiencing the same situation as us, and maybe worse?" he wrote.

"Do you know how many doctors have resigned because of placement? Malaysia keeps losing talents."

As for his wife, he said she was willing to go through the journey of working with the government for the dream of one day becoming a specialist.

Check out Siow's full comic series here:

In 2021, a movement was founded to pressure the MOH to improve working conditions, benefits, and career pathways for medical officers in Malaysia:

Besides poor employment terms, Malaysian junior doctors also face overwork and bullying within the civil service: