PETALING JAYA: The dissatisfaction among contract doctors came about because they were left in the system for far too long, says former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
“Contract doctors are a normal occurrence. Every now and then, we will have contract doctors.
“But after a certain period of time, they should be given permanent posts.
“During my time, they did not complain because they could see that after a certain period, they could be taken on as permanent employees.
“This was not a problem during my time or Najib Razak's time. Now, it is a problem as they have been there for a long time... they feel they have not been treated well by the government," said Dr Mahathir at a press conference on Monday (July 26).
"It is grossly unfair that after so many years, they are still under contract. They are performing the same as permanent staff but not given the same perks and treatment.
"The government should not give them ‘sweets’ to stop them from going on strike," said Dr Mahathir.
He was asked to comment on the Hartal Doktor Kontrak movement and protest staged by contract medical officers nationwide on Monday.
They called for reform to the system to allow them to be absorbed as permanent employees into the public service for career progression and job security.
The Hartal protestors later returned to their duties after their demonstration.