Malaysian nurses look abroad for better wages

Higher salaries are luring Malaysian nurses abroad, to place such as Saudi Arabia and Singapore.


December 12, 2022

KUALA LUMPUR – Higher salaries are luring Malaysian nurses abroad.

A 30-year-old nurse, who wanted to be known only as Nadia, said she opted to take up a job in Saudi Arabia so that she could support her family.

“If I work in Malaysia, I would be earning a four-figure salary. I definitely cannot afford to provide financially for my family with that amount.

“But with my higher pay in Saudi Arabia, I can pay my family’s bills and help my siblings with their education,” said the Kuala Lumpur native who has been in the Middle East for two years now.

Another nurse from Penang who works in Singapore said the weaker ringgit against the Singapore dollar was one of the reasons she chose to work in the republic.

“I was able to pay for a down payment on my house by the age of 28,” said the nurse, who declined to be named.

Saudi Arabia and Singapore are some of the preferred destinations for Malaysian nurses.Malayan Nurses Union president Nor Hayati Abdul Rashid said better allowances and opportunities to further their studies attract nurses to work in Malaysia.

She, however, acknowledged that the pay was better abroad, noting that the starting salary for nurses in Malaysia is in the RM2,000 range.

“Naturally, the more experienced they are and with their qualification, of course there will be good offers elsewhere. And they get more take-home pay, if you were to compare the ringgit with the Singapore dollar.

“Besides the better pay, they are also seeking a different working experience because this will add to their resume,” she added.

Nor Hayati said there was a shortage of nurses not just in Malaysia but all over the world.

Nonetheless, she added that a balance had been struck with nurses retiring and leaving the service with new ones entering the job market.

Back in May, the Johor government said that the state’s proximity to Singapore had led to many local nurses taking up better offers in the city-state.

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