KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 17 — Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail today asked the government to give permanent positions to all contract medical frontliners combatting the Covid-19 epidemic.
The former deputy prime minister and Pandan MP also pointed out that the process of applying for over-time allowance is complicated and burdensome for health care workers.
“For example, expenses for frontliners are not comprehensive and some of them complain that the process of applying for overtime payment is complicated and burdensome and not easy,” Dr Wan Azizah told the Dewan Rakyat today while debating Budget 2021.
“In addition, we can also change the status of those with contract employment to permanent employees,” she added.
Doctors who complete their housemanship and become medical officers will now be given a UD43 grade from UD41 grade as a house officer, as decided by the government last Friday, according to Health Minister Dr Adham Baba. However, these UD43 contract medical officers, who are mostly on the epidemic frontline, are still on a contract basis, with no guarantee of permanent employment.
In August, an anonymous medical officer from Sungai Buloh Hospital wrote to CodeBlue saying that the medical officers there have yet to receive their June on-call allowance as well as their June Covid-19 claim. Despite sending in their claims in March or late April, hospital administrators told the doctors that their claims have yet to be processed.
A Kajang Hospital frontliner also wrote to CodeBlue in October, saying that frontline staff have stopped receiving their RM600 monthly special Covid-19 allowance since July. Although they asked their hospital administrators, they did not get a proper explanation or answer.
Selangor state health director Dr Sha’ari Ngadiman then responded to this claim in a statement, saying that the frontliners in Kajang Hospital did not receive their allowance because there was a decline in Covid-19 cases and the Kajang mukim was in the green zone then, meaning no cases reported in the past 14 days.
During her debate on Budget 2021, Dr Wan Azizah also asked the government to ensure that families of frontliners are taken care of in terms of child care, studies, and a guarantee of a safe working environment and protection.
“This step is important as an honour and recognition, which to some extent, can help motivate them as well as reduce the staff’s worries about their families,” said Dr Wan Azizah, who is a trained medical practitioner.
Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh recently urged the government to allocate RM30 million under Budget 2021 to build child care centres for frontliners at government agencies, especially hospitals and police stations, Free Malaysia Today reported.
The former women, family and community development deputy minister suggested for more child care centres to be established in hospitals and police stations so that the frontliners can work effectively, especially during their night shifts.