SIBU: Four medical officers (MOs) here have had their contracts with their respective hospitals terminated abruptly without reason, it was revealed.
Of the four, Dr Bong Ing Hui and Dr Wong Woan Hui had been serving at the Sibu General Hospital (SGH). The other two doctors were serving at Hospital Sultanah Nora Ismail in Johor and Hospital Tengku Ampuan Afzan in Pahang.
The Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) Education Bureau, which exposed the issue, wants the Federal Government to publicly disclose the criteria of approving permanent posts to medical and dental officers.
Speaking at a press conference here yesterday, bureau chairman Ding Kuong Hiing said the termination of the service of the four doctors was the first case in the country of contracts of medical officers not being renewed.
“We demand that Health Minister Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad publicly disclose the criteria of giving permanent posts to medical and dental officers. Since he assumed office in May 2018, there were several controversial policies resulting in an outcry, ” he said.
Ding said it was not acceptable that no reason was given in the letters of termination.
“There are four doctors whose contracts have been terminated. They have passed their Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (MRCOG) Part 1 and Membership of the Royal Colleges of Physicians of the United Kingdom (MRCP) (Pediatric) Part 1, ” he added.
He said without working in an approved hospital for a period of not less than four years, the doctors could not sit for their final O&G and Paediatrics exam.
Ding, who is the Meradong assemblyman, said Dr Wong and Dr Bong were also let down for another reason.
“Though they were engaged as medical officers, they received their wages in grade UD41 for two years because they were MOs on contract and not permanent staff. The difference in wages was significant.
“Their monthly basic salary was RM664 lesser, and the loss totals RM7,968 per year, excluding the annual increment, ” he said.
Ding said the MOs were further “humiliated” as house officers (HOs) were getting an additional flexi allowance amounting to RM600 per month, adding that the workload of a UD41 contract medical officer was heavy.
“All medical officers who wish to become specialists have legitimate expectations that the ministry would allow them to work in government hospitals for a period of, say, seven years like in the United Kingdom, ” he added.
Ding said the ministry and the Public Service Department must either extend the contracts of the medical officers for up to a period of seven years or make them permanent staff so that the MOs could be trained to be specialists who are in severe shortage in Malaysia.
He said the termination of the contracts further rubbed salt into the wound as SGH, in a letter dated Nov 22,2019, to the ministry, confirmed that the O&G and Pediatric departments in the hospital were understaffed.