THE Malaysian Medical Association has this to tell the Health Ministry (MOH), Finance Ministry (MOF) and the Public Services Department (JPA): “It does not come as a surprise to us to hear of a possible strike by public healthcare workers”.
After all, the alarm bells on the country’s healthcare system and its human resources being stretched to its limits have been sounded for years.
“The MMA does not condone any strike; however, it is understandable that the frustration and burnout among our public healthcare workers have reached its limits and they now want their voices heard,” MMA president Dr Muruga Raj Rajathurai pointed out in a media statement.
“The issues they (healthcare workers) are facing are not new; it has been around for years and with little or no change. In the last four years, there were three changes in government. With every new cabinet line-up and administration, there was renewed hope but none were able to resolve their issues.”
Dr Muruga further noted that there are still not enough permanent positions to offer contract doctors secure employment.
“Our public healthcare facilities are still overcrowded; there are still shortages in manpower and most healthcare workers are overworked and underpaid. These issues have been brought up in a number of meetings with the MOH and various media statements issued by the MMA over the years and even recently,” he lamented.
“Although (a possible strike) remains as only rumours now, the MOH, MOF and JPA should take the sentiments of the healthcare workers seriously by speeding-up the much-needed reforms to address the long-standing issues they are facing.”
Dr Muruga also called on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim who is also the Finance Minister to step in if there are any roadblocks in implementing these reforms.
“We hope that the current PM as a reformist himself – with the power he now has after waiting over 30 years – will right the wrongs of the past,” he enthused.
“We wish to remind the PM that Malaysians have not forgotten all the promises made (on improving healthcare) during the GE15 (15th General Election) campaigning period by his political coalition and MPs who are now in government.”
Touching on the re-tabling of Budget 2023 on Feb 24, Dr Muruga shared that MMA had asked for an increase in the health budget to 5% of the nation’s gross domestic product GDP. “This should be the minimum spend allocated for health,” he added. – Feb 14, 2023
Main pic credit: Twitter account of @StPinkie