Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Who pays my salary?

Had an interesting discussion with my wife the other day.

Her department's overworked and understaffed, so naturally the service time for client turnover would be slightly prolonged (slightly may be an understatement). But it is really a catch 21 situation, on one hand you want to provide prompt consultation to all your patients but on the other hand each patient demands extra attention and time to be treated. So in the end, you do what's best and try to work as fast without trying to seem rushed.

That is until someone spoils your day by shouting at you....

"What's with you people (govt servants)......you work so slow and make me wait all day....I dont have all day to wait. I have to work to pay your salary you know....."

Well excuse me for taking up your time.....

Its a common misunderstanding I guess that the public tend to believe that since they are tax-payers and we as govt doctors are clumped in the govt sector, then it would mean that they are paying our income. In fact I use to fall prey and think that apart from me paying income taxes too (which honestly is not much since I don't make that much) so therefore I have no retort to their disparaging grouse.

That was until I started thinking out of the government box.....

Let's do some 10 year old maths (so that at least for some of us we can proudly proclaim that we're still smarter than a 10 year old)

The government doctor salary is a fair sum. (Fair because we have to choice but to accept it, and if we claimed it to be unfair nothing would be done about it too). So having said..... a govt doctor may earn UP to about 4000 ringgit a month. This is just very rough estimation. Perhaps a little overestimated too but just for discussion sake and to dispel the urban legend of other people paying our salary....

Where else any decent bloke of a doctor can earn a decent 10,000 ringgit in a private clinic (pre-tax).
So a decent bloke of a doctor who decides to stay in the government sector is making a gross loss of 6,000 ringgit per month.

Put in a year and round it up to the nearest ten thousand it would mean that the average bloke doc is losing 70,000 ringgit a month in salary difference by choosing to serve the people. And to add salt to injury, apart from losing out on the 70k worth of renumeration, we have to still pay income tax.


In a reversal of maths, if SOMONE pays 70 thousand ringgit worth of income tax then HE/SHE can have some right to say that they pay for any doctor's salary coz that's just about how much we're giving back to the government and the people.

Heck, to all the doctors in govt service out there......next time someone who pays less than 70K worth of taxes tries to tell you that they pay for your salary, stand tall and tell them that...

1. Maybe.....just maybe they pay for our salary
2. But we pay for their hospital and medication cost
3. We pay for their children's subsidised education
4. We're paying for their subsidised petrol
5. We're paying for their daily subsidised rice
6. And just about all other governtment subsidies that they receive in their miserable life, they have us to thank for.

It's funny.....I don't feel any richer. But I feel better blogging about it and doing my part to educate my colleagues how to give a smart retort in such situations.

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