Aida Zabidi
This week marks my official transfer as a doctor in Selangor to a medical officer in Johor. 

I reported to the Johor State Department of Health on Monday and discussed with the officer in-charge regarding my posting, requesting Muar as I had family in the area. 

For those who are unaware of the intricacies of the government service, young doctors completing their housemanship in Klang Valley (which include Selangor and KL) are required to do a minimum of one year service in the district Those who are married are given priority to be as nearby to their partners as possible, depending on the availabilities of openings per state, which is very much a transient thing. 

For a majority of us who have grown up in Klang Valley, the uprooting process is something unsettling, especially since the process is sometimes fraught with administrative challenges. During your final posting as a houseman, you are given a form to fill in where you fill in your top three state preferences to be transferred to. If all goes well, you usually get an answer about a month before you finish your housemanship with a reporting date of approximately a month after you finish. 

You can call the officer in Putrajaya to check the status of your application as well (which I would advise, considering forms can get lost or delayed, in which case you have to deal directly with your human resource officers at your respective hospitals). If you are unhappy with your placement, you are allowed to appeal in hopes that the ministry will consider your appeal, should there be circumstances that merit your appeal. 

The downside of the whole process is the fact that when you’re given the reporting date of the state you are leaving for, you do not actually find out the actual hospital or clinic you have been assigned to until the actual date itself – such is the fate of us government servants. It is inefficient in the least, and doesn’t relieve any of the stress of relocating in the first place, without being able to organize accommodation or ask for advice regarding the areas you are being sent to prior to going. 

In addition, I was informed that because it was nearing the end of the year – and the government allocation per state and district for health services was rapidly dwindling, there was a possibility I would not be able to claim my relocation allowance. Sigh. 

While I do understand the need for us junior officers to go out to the district and learn the ropes of the health industry ground up, I do wish it was done in a more orderly fashion – one where we would have the ability to plan in advance. 

Relocating is never easy, even as a single person as myself, without the extra baggage of family to worry about – and without the promise even to be able to allocate accommodation for us officers at our placements, it does cause additional stress to the individual, and the government loses out on work hours from we officers who are forced to take leave to organize our move the week we actually report for duty. 

Thankfully, there were openings in Muar for medical officers and I made the two hour drive down to then report to the District Health Office. Just remember that you'll basically be filling in the same forms that you filled as a houseman - if your human resource officer didn't inform you what to bring (as I wasn't informed) - make sure you have a copy of your transfer letter, your reporting letter, your full registration, your KWSP form, your salary number, a copy of the front sheet of your bank statement and details for your statement of assets. Delaying these documents will delay the process of transferring your salary from your previous workplace to your latest one. Bring along passport sized photographs as well (I'm uncertain if this was a standard number for every state but I had to bring in four pieces).

Considering the hassle I had prior to actually reporting for duty, I was pleasantly surprised during when I reported to Muar – all the officers I met were so friendly, and were very helpful in advising me regarding the administrative duties I had to fill up. The first officer I met made the effort of introducing me to every single officer in the District Health Office (I have to admit I could barely remember their names by the end of it all). Unnecessary maybe, but it was a nice effort on her part. The staff members I met at my assigned clinic were also lovely, and most of them took the effort to welcome me to my service in the district of Muar. 

It was a very different experience from being part of a big city hospital and I think I am looking forward to what the experience will be like. I start my official duties soon, and I choose to take this opportunity to learn what I can. 

For those who have undergone the process, I salute you.

For those who will be undergoing your transfer soon, take heart and be positive.
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