Zaliha Tells Hartal Doktor Kontrak High-Level Committee Representation ‘Difficult’, Commissions Included In Health White Paper

Hartal Doktor Kontrak calls for a Health Service Commission for better contract doctor job security; the government’s promise of 12,800 permanent positions over 3 years covers only 30% of contract doctors.

PUTRAJAYA, April 11 – Four representatives from Hartal Doktor Kontrak (HDK) today delivered a memorandum to Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa, officially requesting their inclusion in the government’s high-level committee to resolve contract doctor issues.

The request comes after the group expressed their interest last week in being part of the newly formed inter-ministerial and inter-agency committee to tackle contract doctors’ plight. The committee is chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

Speaking to reporters at the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) headquarters here after a 5.30pm meeting with the minister, HDK spokesperson Dr Yassin Muhammad said the health minister acknowledged difficulties of including an HDK representative in the high-level committee due to its Cabinet-level status.

“In that meeting, we handed over the memorandum. The minister went through everything that was in our memorandum. She said it might be difficult for HDK to have a representative in the high-level committee as it is Cabinet level. 

“But she promised that there will be constant engagement with HDK and other groups so that we can act as a middle ground between contract doctors and the government and also the high-level committee,” Dr Yassin said.

According to Dr Yassin, the health minister also said during the meeting that the Health White Paper, set to be tabled in Parliament in June, will include recommendations to establish a Health Service Commission and Health Reform Commission.

Currently, there are 20,300 contract doctors and about 5,000 new contracts are signed every year. HDK pointed out that the government’s previous announcement of 12,800 permanent positions would only cover 30 per cent of contract doctors after three years, leaving the other 70 per cent without job security. 

“Therefore, we emphasise the need for a Health Service Commission, which would have greater authority to manage the human resources of contract doctors,” Dr Yassin said.

When asked whether HDK would consider strike action if their demands are not met, Dr Yassin stated that the group has not yet discussed the possibility of another strike, after a previous strike by Mogok Doktor Kontrak, a group that claimed to represent contract doctors and health care workers, was unsuccessful. 

“For now, let us celebrate Raya first, and then we will see how after this.”

You may also like