Contract docs look to unionise, warn of Hartal 2.0

PETALING JAYA : The Hartal Doktor Kontrak movement is now in the process of forming a union for junior doctors as a way to better communicate and fight for reforms.

In a virtual media briefing today, the movement’s spokesman Dr Mustapha Kamal said they had engaged with the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) and Cuepacs, the umbrella body for civil services unions.

The hope is that the union can be established prior to the tabling of the 2022 national budget, or alternatively before the end of the year if the budget deadline cannot be met.

The union would be able to amplify the voices of junior medical officers in a professional manner, akin to the British Medical Association (BMA) in the UK.

Mustapha added that the government’s proposed two-year extension for contract doctors was not a suitable solution and lacked a clear plan, with many questions still unanswered for contract medical officers, such as what happens after the extension lapses and whether any changes would be made to specialisation pathways.

A group of contract doctors during their strike action recently.

He warned of further industrial action if their demands were not met promptly.

“We hope before the 2022 budget, the government can come up with a solution and also tell us what it will take for the government to absorb all of us into permanent posts.

“There is no formal document stating what the guidelines to become permanent are, only statements to the media. We want to see it in writing, in black and white, chopped and signed.

“We will allow them to discuss and come up with a plan. (Health minister) Dr Adam Baba said he requires two years, but I think that is quite long, given the political instability in our country.

“The government can have some time but if they do not respond before the next budget, we will most likely proceed with Hartal 2.0.”

However, he stopped short of calling it a strike and said that the Covid-19 situation and political landscape all needed to be considered before specific plans could be made.

By : Imran Ariff – FMT

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