KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 6 – Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin told government doctors not to hold out hope for the abolishment of the contract system in the public health care sector.
He acknowledged manpower issues in Ministry of Health (MOH) health care facilities, but indicated that the controversial contract system introduced in 2016 for medical, dental and pharmacy officers was here to stay.
“I can’t give everyone permanent posts. I’m a minister who tells you the truth. I’m not going to lie to you. I’m not going to give you false promises,” Khairy told the first town hall on the Health White Paper in Kuching, Sarawak, yesterday.
“I can’t give permanent posts to every single houseman that comes through our doors. Those days are over.
“Some senior doctors counselled me that you must also look at the quality of those that are coming through.”
Khairy said MOH has come up with a programme, where the Public Service Department (JPA) will provide MOH 2,000 permanent posts for doctors, dentists, and pharmacists every year.
The health minister also acknowledged that although he managed to get JPA to offer MOH over 4,000 permanent positions this year, including 3,215 for medical officers – the highest number of permanent appointments in the past five years – 9,000 people had applied for the positions.
Before this, in the contract system, permanent positions for doctors, dentists and pharmacists in the public health care sector were only created when someone retired.
Khairy told the town hall that he also succeeded in getting government scholarships for specialisation training for contract doctors.
He noted dissatisfaction from applicants who failed to get permanent posts this year despite their qualifications.
The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) said last month that among the rejected contract doctor applicants were those who had undertaken parallel pathway programmes and those who were excellent in their work.
However, despite MMA’s call for MOH to make public the selection criteria for permanent positions for government doctors, Khairy did not commit to this at yesterday’s town hall.
Instead, he merely said that a task force would be formed so that house officers in future “will know why they didn’t get permanent posts”.
“We’ll make sure the process is more transparent,” Khairy said.