Respond in 26 days or we walk: doctors threaten strike over govt contract issues

#HartalDoktorKontrak group demand answers on career progression, criteria for permanent positions

KUALA LUMPUR : The group of contract doctors behind the #HartalDoktorKontrak movement has given the government 26 days from tomorrow to meet their demands or the members will hold a one-day work strike.

In a statement sighted by the Vibes, the group distanced itself from the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA), despite both parties fighting for the same goals but via different approaches.

“First of all, we are every junior doctor that is employed by the Health Ministry.

Respond in 26 days or we walk: doctors threaten strike over govt contract issues
Contract doctors behind the #HartalDoktorKontrak movement says, at present, their current employment contracts are either on a biannual or annual basis and there is no clarity on the selection criteria to secure a permanent position. – AFP pic

“The reason why we are doing this is because we believe that we do not have any career progression or any future with the current contract employment scheme,” the group said.

The group said, at present, its current employment contract is either on a biannual or annual basis.

“To become permanent, there is no clarity on the selection criteria. 

“There are too many discrepancies between the benefits of a contract medical officer and a permanent officer.”

Among the criteria include career progression whereby time-based career progression does not apply to them.

“Moreover, no matter how many years we have served the country, our pay grade will remain the same. So do our benefits, such as hazard leave, post-natal leave (cuti menyusu), housing loan schemes and many more. 

“Apart from those mentioned, we are also asking the government about the absurdity of the numbers of medical officers absorbed into the government in recent years,” the group said.

Since 2019, only 789 contract medical officers have been absorbed into permanent positions, whereas before 2016, the government was able to create permanent posts for 100% of house officers, says the group. – Facebook pic, June 30, 2021
Since 2019, only 789 contract medical officers have been absorbed into permanent positions, whereas before 2016, the government was able to create permanent posts for 100% of house officers, says the group. – Facebook pic

Since 2019, only 789 contract medical officers have been absorbed into permanent positions. 

“They are offered grade UD41 with a starting salary of RM2,947, excluding allowances, despite having worked for the past two years as house officers.”

Until December 2016, the government was able to create permanent posts for 100% of house officers. 

“Why the sudden drop from 100% to 3.47%? 

“There is also no clarity on how the selection of these fortunate 3.47% medical officers were made.” 

The group further said that medical officers are employed in cohorts or batches, with each year comprising roughly five to six cohorts.

“If we assume each cohort has 1,000 officers employed, 789 makes up roughly 13% for the year. The number is drastically low.”

The group said the reality of Malaysia’s public healthcare system is one where “we are known to be No. 1 in the world for cost efficiency and effective service, but continue to treat its doctors as second class citizens”.

“Moving forward, we have written an open letter on June 27, 2021, to address the public to engage with us. 

“We urge the public to remain calm as this fight is not against them and we mean no harm to those requiring medical assistance. 

“We have also given the government ample time to sit down and prepare for a reply. And, along the way, we have seen so many responses that were in favour of this movement.”

While the group acknowledged the possibility of negative repercussions from the government, including disciplinary action and termination of contract, they felt their contracts will be terminated either way irrespective of what they choose to do.

The government, the group said, will be given a time frame to issue a proper response, the failure of which will see them perform a walkout. 

“This will be carried out at all hospitals around the country for one day. 

“And, if the memorandum demands are not met, we will continue doing so until the government comes forward to do so,” the group added.

The group behind the  #HartalDoktorKontrak movement, which is quickly gaining traction across social media channels, has reportedly invited their peers, media and the public to participate in their protest.

It is learnt the group will conduct the protest in three phases from tomorrow onwards, starting with the handover of a memorandum, followed by a press conference and, lastly, a strike proposed for July 26.

By : G. Surach – THE VIBES

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