Malaysia’s Klinik Kesihatan(s) vs. Singapore’s Polyclinics

Klinik Kesihatan is a Malay word for Health Clinic. They are better of referred to as Klinik Kesihatan(s) back home or just KK(s). When one mentions KK(s), it automatically means government clinics in Malaysia. And truth be told, there is no plural form for Klinik Kesihatan, hence the (s) behind it.

Anyway, the reason for this post is to point out the differences between Malaysia’s KK(s) and Singapore’s government clinics, also known as polyclinics.


Identical. The workload is massive! Even though I knew how it was, I can’t help but to laugh at myself for stepping into the same black pit all over again. Government sector clinics will always be busy no matter where you are. It’s fun, but you’ve just got to work your arse off.


Patient wise, I see more Chinese nowadays. And there are quite a number of Chinese from mainland China too. And occasionally I do dread seeing them (China’s Chinese) because I find myself struggling to understand what they’re trying to tell me. The way they roll their tongues when they speak, my gawd. No offense to the original Chinese out there! It’s just how it is since Mandarin ain’t my first language, or even second. They are quite a number of Filipinos here too, but at least they speak English. However, I find most comfortable in speaking to the Malay patients.

Generally, Singaporean patients are kinda an impatient lot and they tend to get angry as easily as flicking a switch. Pushy and demanding too. It’s not just my observation. Everyone (the doctors) have been complaining about it at work each day. Just imagine how bad that can be. I rarely see them back home though.


Both sides have nice bosses in general. It’s just the matter of perception and it is very much dependent on the particular person’s personality.


Paper back home. Computerized in Singapore, with all clinics and hospitals linked up through a platform. One can assess the patient’s hospitalization records from the clinic itself. Back in Malaysia, the most favorite word used in the clinics or hospital settings under the daily plans was “Trace patient’s medical records”, knowing that most of the time, records are either missing or they’re too old to be kept therefore burnt in the incinerator. Sad but true.


I’m sure you know who wins this category hands down.


Lack of Space!

It’s almost a month now that I’ve been staying here in Singapore, I realized that my private personal space is getting smaller each time I go to a mall. Many times I’ve noticed myself avoiding people coming from the opposite direction. Miss those days where I can walk freely, without having to worry about knocking into someone, or worry that I might be blocking someone who’s walking behind me because I wanted to stop a while to look at stuff. It’s still not as bad as Hong Kong or Japan, but it’s close.

Going to one place to another at peak hours are totally horrendous, especially weekends. Instead of going out for a stroll, I rather just stay in than  having someone’s armpit shoved unto my face when I’m taking a ride in the MRT. Makes me miss driving too!


Playing games are my favorite past time, even more now knowing that the situation I’ll be in if I’m out. At the very least, I know that I’m free to wander to where I want to be.

How to work in Singapore as a doctor?

The current options that I know of so far are these 3 pathways.

  1. You graduate from a university that is recognized by Singapore Medical Council. List HERE. (Conditional Registration)
  2. You have a post-graduate degree such as MRCP, MRCS, MRCPCH or MRCOG to be entitled for a registrar post. (Conditional Registration)
  3. You have at least 3-4 years of experience working as a medical officer. (Temporary Registration)

If you do qualify to any of these 3, you can apply for a post through Singapore’s Ministry of Health Holdings (MOHH). You can email them at

What is the difference between conditional and temporary registration? The pay, of course. You do the same tedious job. The same work load. However, you earn at least SGD 1000 extra with conditional registration. In order to achieve conditional registration, you would have to take up one of their approved diplomas under their Staff Registrar Scheme (SRS).

And what exactly is Staff Registrar Scheme? When you start working in Singapore, you would start to realize that there are a lot of jargons and short forms around. Took me a while to get use to it. To my understanding, like what I’ve mentioned earlier, it’s a program to let you achieve conditional status. You can find the list of diplomas available HERE. To achieve full registration, you would have to pass one of the diplomas and stick with the Singapore government for 4 years. If you are granted conditional registration, you just need to serve for 4 years to get full registration.

Then what’s full registration? It means that you’re allowed to practice freely in Singapore anywhere unsupervised. To work in the private sector or to open up your own clinic. For Malaysians, it’s just the same as completing your compulsory service with the government. Same theory behind it.

Would it be possible to stay as temporary? Well, you can if you don’t mind getting paid less for the same equal amount of job. However, MOHH does not make it any easier for you. You’ll be given a the job on a contract basis, possibly to at least 6-7 years (renewed 2 yearly) but that’s usually the maximum they can go. By then, if they don’t see any progress from you, they would probably kick you out for good.

So is it worth working in Singapore? Your call. It really depends on which category you’re in and the plans that you have in the coming years.

Take A Break

Work has been getting intense lately. Loads of patients to see each day. Quick decisions had to be made for each patient that’s seen, or else I’ll be showered with complaints about the long waiting time. That itself, takes up a couple of minutes just to calm them down, not including the consultation time. Brain’s all frizzed up once work ends up 5 pm. Then again, a good break comes after a long hard day at work, they say. And how so true that is.


Hanging out at small cozy dining cafes’ definitely my kinda thing. Unfortunately, a close to empty wallet does not allow me to do so frequently. If you’re wondering, this photo was taken at Canopy Garden. Food’s decent but ain’t gonna talk about that. Not really into food critics but do try it out if you’re around the area. You might like it.