Govt will spend RM1.2bil to extend terms of contract doctors

KUALA LUMPUR: Vocal demands for the Prime Minister to answer questions made it difficult for Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz to answer questions about the National Recovery Plan (NRP) at the Dewan Rakyat on Monday (July 26).

The Finance Minister eventually managed to explain measures taken to alleviate the situation faced by contract doctors, reiterating that those affected will have their contracts extended by another two years.

"This extension will cost the government about RM1.2bil," the NRP coordinating minister told the House on Monday (July 26).

However, his reply was not well-received by the Opposition, who called the measure "half-baked".

Tengku Zafrul defended it, saying the extension would allow the government to come up with a more holistic solution.

Tengku Zafrul had difficulty speaking about infections that stemmed from factories but had a little help from former deputy international trade and industries minister Ong Kian Ming (PH-Bangi).

Ong said the government should look at the factory clusters more closely to determine if they indeed emerged from the factories or from workers' accommodation.

Tengku Zafrul also answered a question from Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman (IND-Muar) who earlier suggested that a "windfall tax" should be imposed on companies that gained huge profits during the pandemic.

The Finance Minister said the government needed to carefully consider any such decision as it might cause investors to think that the government is taking advantage of companies that have made big profits during the pandemic.

"It could threaten investor confidence and if they choose to explore other countries, we could lose out on big future investments," he said.

Currently, Tengku Zafrul said a windfall tax is being imposed on the palm oil industry based on monthly crude palm oil prices.

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