"I'm Happier Now" — 28-Year-Old Pharmacist Explains Why She Left MOH To Go Private

"It was the final straw. It's not the money, it's the gesture."

Cover image via Afifah Aziz (Facebook)

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A Malaysian pharmacist recently shared why she chose to leave the Ministry of Health (MOH) to work in the private sector

In a Facebook post on her personal account, the former UF41 pharmacy officer, Afifah Aziz, said the decision did not come easy.

"My personal experience is what pushed me to the edge. The reason why I chose to 'betray' MOH, as some would call it, is because they [betrayed] me first," she wrote.

The 28-year-old related that there were three instances that made her come to the decision to leave the public service

She said the first strike was when the ministry only offered her a permanent position in the service if she, a contractual UF44 pharmacy officer at the time, accepted a position as a permanent UF41 officer in Sabah.

"After four years of being denied a permanent posting with a grade of UF44, I was called to report for duty in Sabah with the grade of UF41. Downgrading my grade means disregarding my four years of service in MOH all this while," she protested.

However, she said she accepted the posting because she still saw the value of a permanent appointment.

The pharmacist's second grouse was that the ministry did not cover her expenses for moving to Sabah because she was deemed not eligible

Coming from Kulim, Kedah, Afifah said not being given the relocation allowance was unfair.

"Although it is our service that is needed in a place far away from where we call home, [I was] treated like a desperate beggar for work," she said.

She added that when she voiced her dissatisfaction to her colleagues, they often told her: "That's normal. They will say if you don't want to move, then quit. There are others who want your spot."

Afifah said the last straw was when she found out that, besides being downgraded in position, her salary would also be cut as a UF41 officer

"You're no longer eligible to be paid as per UF44, we will deduct the sum of money we 'overpaid' you and start paying you with a lowered wage because you're now UF41," Afifah claimed she was told.

Afifah said that was when, even though she had already flown to Sandakan to begin work, it took her only three days to change her mind and accept a job offer in the private sector back in Semenanjung.

"It was the final straw. It's not the money, it's the gesture. It's not easy moving out and being far away from family, but I held my anger in because I've heard of worse experiences from other colleagues," she said, adding that she had asked herself whether she would lose anything if she left MOH.

"That is why, with nothing to lose, I'm now on my flight back to Kulim, hopeful for my next adventure," she penned in her Facebook post that has since garnered over 11,000 reactions and 5,400 shares.

Afifah told SAYS that she is thankful to the government for her education, but she felt disappointed by the way she and many of her fellow batchmates have been treated

"After all factors considered, I made my decision to leave. Everyone is trying to do the best for themselves and their family. If they can work well in MOH, by all means, stay.

"If quitting and working in private sector makes them feel more whole, go. You do you. Choose whatever makes you happy. I'm happier now. I feel valued and appreciated in my new workplace. That's all that I ever hoped for," she said.

She also hoped that the ministry could address the issue of permanent positions among healthcare staff with more urgency to avoid losing more employees.

"Action needs to be taken now, or else they will keep losing good and credible staff that they have trained. Take care of them and they will take care of you and your patients," she advised the ministry.

The issues with the public healthcare system and employment terms have long been highlighted by junior officers:

Due to the issues in Malaysia, many professionals look abroad for employment: