The Ministry of Health (MOH) announced at a town hall meeting with the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) on February 10, 2022 that 3,586 permanent positions for medical doctors will be created this year, with at least 1,500 additional permanent posts for medical officers, dental officers, and pharmacists to be opened up annually from 2023 to 2025. This is indeed welcome news.
We — the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA), Gerakan Hartal Doktor Kontrak (HDK), Islamic Medical Association of Malaysia (IMAM), and Malaysian Medics International (MMI) — would to thank Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin for making it happen. We are finally seeing some light at the end of the tunnel on this longstanding issue.
We also welcome the MOH’s announcement on the creation of 800 more permanent positions for specialists on an annual basis. We hope that more specialist positions will contribute towards the target of having more than 18,000 specialists in the country by 2025.
There was meaningful engagement during the town hall session, where all stakeholders, from medical students to sub-specialists were given the opportunity to voice their thoughts and concerns on various issues. In our discussions, the health minister also assured us that the MOH will be looking into the proposal to promote deserving doctors to Grade UD 47.
The health minister was frank in explaining the situation and challenges faced in securing more permanent positions for our junior doctors. We nevertheless view yesterday’s announcement with optimism that the issue of contract doctors will eventually be resolved.
Of course, some time will be needed to work through all issues. However, we strongly believe that with the comprehensive and inclusive approach demonstrated by the MOH, the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service Department in yesterday’s engagement, we can get there sooner than expected.
Moving forward, continuing fruitful engagement with the authorities will be crucial to resolve many other pressing issues, among which is the current situation of contract doctors facing an uncertain future.
While new permanent positions will be opened up yearly as announced, the number of new medical students in the country still needs to be controlled, lest we return to square one.
This letter was signed by the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA), Gerakan Hartal Doktor Kontrak (HDK), Islamic Medical Association of Malaysia (IMAM), and Malaysian Medics International (MMI).
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