PRIME Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim should give an assurance that the high-level committee headed by Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi will be given a year to resolve the long-standing problem of contract doctors.
Zahid had urged government contract doctors to give him and the high-level committee set up by the Cabinet last week a chance to solve their woes.
Zahid said: “I have formed a high-level committee that involves not only the Health Ministry (MOH) but also other agencies including the Public Service Department, the Public Service Commission and several others.
“Discussions have to be done to finalise a new scheme which has to be developed so we can help the contract doctors whom I believe must be defended. And this must be done through methods and government service schemes.”
Anwar should give this assurance during the PM’s Question Time (PMQT) in the Dewan Rakyat later today as Tuaran MP Madius Tangau has a question on contract doctors vis-à-vis “menyatakan jumlah keseluruhan Pegawai Perubatan lantikan kontrak dalam perkhidmatan awam dan implikasi kewangan yang terlibat jika semua Pegawai Perubatan lantikan kontrak diserap masuk dan seterusnya dilantik secara tetap”.
(Translation: “to state the total number of Medical Officers (MOs) appointed by contract in the public service and the financial implications involved if all MOs appointed by contract are absorbed and subsequently appointed permanently.)
The problem of the contract doctors was inherited from a previous government when it was introduced in 2016 – when the country was faced with a deluge of medical graduates in the job market.
The government should be sensitive to the voices of healthcare workers and ensure that all the concerns raised are solved, including creating permanent positions, sponsoring the studies of doctors, having time-based promotions as well as creating the opportunity for promotions to a special grade.
I endorse the stand of DAPSY (DAP Socialist Youth) leader and Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii that the substantial demands put forth by Mogok Doctor Malaysia on behalf of contract doctors should not be ignored but should be given serious consideration.
Anwar should ask the Mogok Doctor Malaysia to come out into the open and give an assurance that none of the activists will be penalised.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the need to upgrade the health system in the country and this aspect should be taken into consideration by the high-level Cabinet committee. – April 4, 2023
Retired DAP supremo and former Iskandar Puteri MP Lim Kit Siang, 81, has a colourful political career spanning 57 years.
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.