Hartal Doktor Kontrak Seeks To Join High-Level Committee

Hartal Doktor Kontrak wants to join the High-Level Committee – which is chaired by DPM Ahmad Zahid Hamidi – to “properly represent” contract doctors, saying: “Without proper representation, the committee will not be impactful enough to solve the issue”.

KUALA LUMPUR, April 3 — Hartal Doktor Kontrak (HDK) today requested to be included in the government’s new interministerial and inter-agency high-level committee formed to resolve contract doctor issues.

HDK, in making its request to Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa today, also reiterated that it was not involved in the current three-day strike by a group called Mogok Doktor Kontrak that began today. 

“Dr Zaliha recently spoke about a new high-level committee to discuss and tackle contract doctors plight; we believe it is one of the correct step to go given that it involves multiple ministry officials to expedite discussion and analysis,” the HDK secretariat said in a statement.

“However, we urge that Dr Zaliha includes Hartal Doktor Kontrak as [a] member of the committee to properly represent contract doctors in the committee. Without proper representation, the committee will not be impactful enough to solve the issue and will be the same as the multiple previous committees looking into this issue.

“Our next step [is] to set up [a] national health care commission that will oversee, decide and improve our nation’s health care services. We will work with Dr Zaliha and other ministries to expedite this process.”

Last Friday, amid press coverage of Mogok Doktor Kontrak’s three-day strike action from today until Wednesday, Dr Zaliha said in a statement that the Cabinet has agreed to establish a high-level committee to deal with the issue of contract doctors. 

She stated that the committee will include representatives from several ministries and agencies, including Chief Secretary to the Government Mohd Zuki Ali.

Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who chairs the high-level committee, told reporters yesterday that the committee – which includes the Ministry of Health (MOH), the Public Service Department (JPA), and the Public Services Commission (SPA) – has discussed several proposals, including permanent employment for contract doctors in the public health service.

“Several conditions of the new scheme will be discussed, so I hope they (contract doctors) will give me the chance in my capacity as chairman of the committee to resolve it,” Zahid was quoted saying.

HDK said today that although it was not involved with the strike action by Mogok Doktor Kontrak, it supported doctors’ right to go on strike. 

“While we are not involved, we believe it is their right to protest and leave the circumstances of the protest to them. We do hope patient care [is] not jeopardised and health care services can resume once the protest [is] done.”

The New Straits Times reported today that the purported strike by Mogok Doktor Kontrak appeared to have minimal impact on operations at public hospitals, such as Kuala Lumpur Hospital and Shah Alam Hospital in the Klang Valley. 

The strike action received much public support, particularly on Twitter, as well as sympathy from legislators on both sides of the divide.

Kuala Langat MP Dr Ahmad Yunus Hairi, who chairs Perikatan Nasional’s health committee, said in a statement yesterday that the government should not punish public servants involved in the strike, after MOH warned staff last Saturday that the involvement of civil servants in “illegal assemblies” could be punished with disciplinary action.

Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii, who is an adviser to the health minister, tweeted today that he would continue to push for systemic reforms, saying: “We all want what’s best for our patients, and for that we also want what’s best for our health care workers and caregivers”.

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