Contract doctors to continue with their strikes on July 26 if demands not met


CONTRACT doctors will continue with their plans to go on a strike from work on July 26 if the government does not meet their demands in getting permanent positions and publish the selection criteria.

Hartal Doctor Contract spokesperson Dr Mustapha Kamal said the move — #HartalDoktorKontrak — had to be initiated, saying that contract doctors do not have any career progression or any future with the current contract employment scheme.

“The employment of the contract doctors is on a biannual/annual basis and to become permanent, there is no clear clarity on the selection criteria.

“No matter how many years we have served the country, our paygrade will remain the same. Our career progression — time-based career progression, unfortunately — does not apply to us,” Dr Mustapha Kamal said in a virtual briefing yesterday.

He said no matter how many years they have served the country, their paygrade will remain the same, as well as their benefits such as hazard leaves and other perks, including housing loan schemes, among others.

Dr Mustapha Kamal also questioned the low number of medical officers absorbed into the government in recent years, with only 789 of the contract medical officers absorbed into permanent and they have been offered UD41 with a starting salary of RM2,947, excluding allowances, despite having worked for the past two years as house officers.

“Prior to this up until December 2016, the government was able to create jobs for all 100% of the house officers. Why the sudden drop from 100% to 3.47%?

“There is no clarity between how the selection of these fortunate 3.47% medical officers was done,” he stressed.

Health Minister Dr Adham Baba said yesterday that proposals to amend the contract doctor scheme are being prepared and will be presented to the Cabinet soon.

Dr Adham said there were 35,216 contract doctors comprising 23,077 medical officers, 5,000 dental officers and 7,139 pharmacists.

Recently, Malaysians have geared up to support the Code Black campaign for contract doctors by wearing black and switching their social media profile pictures to monochrome.

The initiative — organised by the Malaysian Medical Association’s (MMA) Section for House Officers, Medical Officers, and Specialists — encourages individuals or companies to go black from July 1 to 12. On the final day, people are asked to go to work dressed in black.

Additionally, Dr Mustapha Kamal clarified that their group is not affiliated with the MMA and that junior doctors working at the Covid-19 designated hospitals will be exempted from joining the strike.

“We understand that the pandemic is a national emergency. The goal of the strike is to get what we have demanded, but at the same time, we do not want to jeopardise our patients’ health — that is the last thing we want to do,” Dr Mustapha Kamal said.