KUALA LUMPUR, July 26 — Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail today told the government to resolve disgruntlements among contract doctors, particularly their employment statuses in public health care facilities.
The Pandan MP and former deputy prime minister said the government’s Covid-19 recovery plan would be futile unless contract doctors’ issues are resolved.
“If we want to protect health care institutions, why aren’t we protecting the doctors?” Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail raised a question today in a special Dewan Rakyat meeting.
“Why do we have doctors who served the people for so long were pushed to a level to undergo a strike like this? Please protect the frontliners.”
The PKR lawmaker accused the government of not sympathising at all with the plight and bleak futures of contract government health care workers.
Today, hundreds of contract doctors across the country launched a stop-work strike across to protest against the government’s contract scheme for junior doctors.
The mass walkout of contract health workers at several public hospitals nationwide echoed their dissatisfaction towards what they described as the government’s short-sighted solutions to extend appointments on a contract basis, as it still leads to a lack of career progression, alongside challenges from mounting student debt.
Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim, who concurred with Dr Wan Azizah, said: “The contract doctors are working like permanent doctors. They work so hard.”
Anwar said that the solution for this issue has been procrastinated for too long.
“I urge the government not to push the doctors to carry out ‘hartal’ and you take action against them, threaten them,” Anwar mentioned in Parliament today.
“If they have decided to go on a strike, it shows that they are really disappointed. They don’t have any hope.”
Police reportedly said that it will open an investigation paper on contract doctors who took part in the Hartal movement this morning, following a rally during the implementation of Movement Control Order (MCO) at Kuala Lumpur Hospital.
It is to be noted that the contract employment system for health care workers was introduced in 2016 by the-then Barisan Nasional government and maintained by the then-Pakatan Harapan government in 2018, before Perikatan Nasional came into power last year.
Last week, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said that contract medical officers, dental officers, and pharmacists will be offered an additional two-year contract after completing their mandatory working period.
The Cabinet also agreed to extend the appointments on a contract basis for a maximum of four years for dental and medical officers offered to pursue specialisation studies during the first two years of the contract, to ensure the officers will complete studies of their respective specialisations.