KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 15 — Contract doctors are planning another strike in December, the second time this year, to demand permanent positions in government, even as Covid-19 cases began rising nationwide last week.
The Gerakan Hartal Doktor Kontrak Secretariat said demands set out to resolve issues involving contract doctors remain unanswered as the government’s Budget 2022 announcement did not include any terms or indication that contract doctors will be offered permanent roles.
According to Utusan Malaysia, citing a statement issued by the secretariat, a large-scale strike will be carried out in December if the government does not offer permanent appointments along with Employees Provident Fund (EPF) benefits to all contract doctors.
“As demands set out in Hartal Doktor Kontrak 1.0 are not met, coupled with frustration among contract officers, we will go ahead with a second nationwide strike in December if this issue persists.
“We call on the government to take the issue of appointing contract medical officers seriously and for the matter to be resolved thoroughly. We will continue to work and consult with the relevant parties to find the best solution for the welfare and justice of all contract doctors,” the secretariat said, as quoted by the Malay-language daily.
The government previously announced that it will extend, by up to four years, the contracts of more than 10,000 medical, dental, and pharmacy officers.
Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz, while tabling Budget 2022 in Parliament last month, said the measure was intended to “ensure continuity of service and to prepare them for specialist study”.
He added that the government has also allocated RM100 million to sponsor specialist studies for 3,000 contract doctors and dentists.
Last July, contract doctors launched a work strike in public hospitals across the country to express their dissatisfaction against the contract scheme with issues like the lack of a clear career progression, as well as inequity in pay and other job benefits enjoyed by their permanent counterparts.
The Hartal movement has demanded permanent positions for doctors in the government sector, saying that an additional two-year contract would not suffice.