Meteorology internals have been a contentious issue in Malaysia for some time now, with many students questioning their academic standing in the profession, especially with the country’s high-profile coronavirus pandemic having recently brought the issue to the forefront.
The new law, proposed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, states that meteorologists will be allowed to live in Malaysia with their families, and in some cases, even with spouses.
According to a draft law, meteorologists are not required to wear protective clothing and face masks, and the ministry is considering expanding the definition of coronaviruses to include “any circulating organism that causes disease” that is not controlled by antiviral drugs.
The proposed law would allow meteorologists to work in any job they want, and they would also be eligible to apply for any new job in Malaysia if they were hired after the law was passed.
The draft law would also provide that meteorological graduates would be eligible for a certain number of government jobs and would be exempt from other employment restrictions, such as maternity leave and parental leave.
According the draft law drafted by the Malaysian Meteorological Services, the ministry plans to set up a “temporary and permanent office” for meteorologists in Kuala Lumpur to manage their internship contracts, but it would not provide details on the nature of their roles or the exact number of positions that they would be offered.
The law does not specify when meteorologists would be able to start working in Malaysia, nor does it outline how they would find jobs.
The Malaysia Meteorological Service did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether or not the proposed law will impact the recruitment process for the Malaysian National Meteorological Center, which is responsible for providing meteorological services to the country.
“The ministry is not aware of any specific impact on the recruitment of the MMS,” said Anish Kumar, director of the Meteorological Development Institute at the University of Melbourne.
According a 2014 report by the government’s Meteorological Training Agency, Malaysia ranks No. 11 out of the countries in terms of the number of meteorologists per capita.
However, the country has a number of other areas where the government invests resources, including health, education and the environment.
The government also announced on Thursday it would allocate around RM1 billion to fund the recruitment and training of more than 300,000 meteorologists and other meteorological staff in 2019, up from about 120,000.
The Malaysian Meteorology Services said it would also invest RM1.6 billion in new meteorological infrastructure in 2019.