KUALA LUMPUR, July 8 – The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) said it was informed by Health Minister Dr Adham Baba that medical doctors would risk deregistration by going on strike.
According to MMA and Schomos (MMA’s Section Concerning House Officers, Medical Officers and Specialists), which had a “productive” meeting yesterday with Dr Adham and Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, among others, the health minister assured them that he would submit his plan on addressing contract doctors’ welfare and career progression to the Cabinet next week.
“YBMK stressed that a strike is against the law and those involved risk disciplinary action and being struck off the register by MMC (Malaysian Medical Council),” MMA Schomos said in a post on Facebook yesterday.
“MMA maintains our stand that we do not condone a strike but remain committed in protecting the welfare of doctors and the medical profession. We will work with KKM (Ministry of Health) to do so.”
The MMC was established under the Medical Act 1971 as the regulatory body of the medical profession to oversee the registration of medical practitioners in the country.
However, unlike medical councils in other countries such as the United Kingdom, Singapore, Myanmar, and Mauritius, the MMC does not operate as an autonomous body independent of the government.
The Medical Act 1971 names the Director-General of Health as the registrar of medical practitioners. Health DG Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah is currently president of the MMC.
The Ministry of Health (MOH), as a health care provider in the public sector, is also led by the Health director-general.
Section 29(2) of the Medical Act stipulates that the MMC may take disciplinary action over registered individuals who have been “convicted in Malaysia or elsewhere of any offence punishable with imprisonment” or “guilty of infamous conduct in any professional respect”. Disciplinary punishments include striking offenders off the register, suspension from the register, and reprimands.
A group of disgruntled contract doctors working in MOH have launched a #HartalDoktorKontrak movement, planning to strike for at least a day from work on July 26 to express dissatisfaction over the lack of permanent positions in the government sector for some 23,000 contract medical officers nationwide.