Despite PM’s offer, strike to go on, say contract doctors

PETALING JAYA : The contract doctors’ strike slated for July 26 will proceed despite the prime minister’s announcement that they will be offered a two-year contract of service and fully sponsored study leave to pursue their specialisation.

In a Facebook post, the Hartal Doktor Kontrak group said they would not be accepting Muhyiddin Yassin’s offer, describing it as a half-baked solution proposed by individuals who were not even in their field.

“Offering us another two years of contract is not a solution, it’s a sugar-coated statement to shut us up.

“They don’t even know how the system works, or maybe don’t even bother to think thoroughly about it because the problem is not theirs.

“Give us clear planning and a clear solution for our careers. Can we afford to lose more and more people now? The hartal is definitely going on. Two days to Hartal!” it said.

The Hartal Doktor Kontrak group said the offer of another two years of contract is not a solution but a ‘sugar-coated’ gesture to shut them up.

Meanwhile, in an online press conference today, Dr Umar Baraka, who is a member of  Hartal Doktor Kontrak, said they will continue their protest even after Monday’s strike, if their demands are not met.

“Maybe we will do a Hartal 2.0 or something more than that.

“We will not stop until the government listens to us,” he said.

Umar also said that the group had arranged for a legal team to support its members if the government decides to take disciplinary action against those taking part in Monday’s strike.

“We believe in freedom of speech and, as contract doctors and frontliners, we have the right to voice out,” he added.

To another question on whether they planned to meet Muhyiddin over their unanswered demands, Umar said the group would consider this option.

“Whatever it is, we will focus on the strike first on Monday and see how they will respond,” he added.

Yesterday, Muhyiddin said Putrajaya would extend the contracts of medical and dental officers who have been accepted into specialisation programmes in the first two years of their contract for up to four years.

To ensure a fair career path, he said contract doctors would be offered the same benefits as medical officers in permanent positions.

They will also be eligible for scholarships and fully paid study leave, while other benefits include improved facilities and special medical leave.

Health ministry secretary-general Mohd Shafiq Abdullah had said the offer was just an interim solution, with the ministry ready to “consider” other approaches it can take in the next two years to offer more permanent positions.

A few days ago, Hartal Doktor Kontrak said some contract doctors were giving 24-hour resignation notices, seemingly because of burn-out and frustrations over the lack of career development opportunities.

FMT

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