No disciplinary action for Hartal Doktor Kontrak participants

pic by BERNAMA

MEDICAL officers (MOs) who participated in the Hartal Doktor Kontrak strike on Monday will not face disciplinary actions, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba (picture).

“Even though they held a strike yesterday (Monday), no action will be taken against them as they have the right to do so,” Dr Adham told Dewan Rakyat in his wrap up speech yesterday.

Extending the doctors’ contract term was one of the points debated by lawmakers on the second day of the special sitting, to which Dr Adham said the government will provide interim, moderate and long-term programmes as solutions.

However, he said the programmes require an amendment to the Pension Act 1980 and Medical Act 1971.

Hundreds of MOs in several public hospitals nationwide went on a peaceful strike on Monday to express discontentment ove the current system which, they claim, hinders their career progress and offers no job security.

The police had said an investigation paper will be launched as the protest held at Hospital Kuala Lumpur violated Rule 10 of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures within Infected Local Areas) (National Recovery Plan) Regulations 2021, which does not allow any gathering at an infected local area.

When tabling the briefing on Actions to Combat Covid-19 Pandemic, Dr Adham said the government has established a consortium made up of agencies under three ministries to increase genome sequencing capacity related to the coronavirus.

He added that the consortium which involves the Health Ministry (MoH), Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry and Higher Education Ministry, has received RM3 million to perform SARS-CoV-2 genome sequencing involving 3,000 samples within three months starting next month.

“To further increase the genome sequencing capacity, a consortium involving several institutions and universities has received an allocation to perform genome sequencing within three months starting August 2021, so that the number of samples performed genome sequencing exceeds 1% of all positive cases.

“Among the criteria used for sampling include cycle threshold value less than 25, samples from high positivity clusters, death cases or brought-in-dead and intensive care unit cases.”

For comparison, Dr Adham read out the genome sequencing capacity in several Asean countries, namely Singapore (6%), Thailand (0.43%), Vietnam (0.31%), Indonesia (0.11%) and Cambodia (0.82%).

“New variants that exist from the SARS-CoV-2 virus are frequently mutating to ensure its survival in the human common environment.

“The variants of concern are a great concern as it can lead to the rapid transmission of infections with severe symptoms and complications.

“However, vaccinations will be able to reduce the severe effects of Covid-19 infection including death,” he said.

On the state of Malaysia’s Covid-19 Quarantine and Treatment Centres, Dr Adham said the centres are operating at 61% capacity with a total of 29,835 beds at 132 centres nationwide.

“The number of medical equipment including ventilators and patient monitoring devices have also been increased to strengthen Malaysia’s capacity and preparedness to fight the Covid-19 pandemic,” he explained.

On the issue of manpower shortage in managing the spike in cases, Dr Adham said as of April 31, 2021, the government has approved a total of 278,023 permanent posts for doctors, while 40,000 contract positions have also been approved.

He said the MoH has also appointed 1,519 additional contract health workers to be placed at health facilities in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Negri Sembilan.