SEREMBAN: Contract doctors planning to hold a protest on Monday (July 26) have been urged to reconsider their decision.
Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan said although they had the right to speak out, they should reconsider this as the country was facing the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Our country is facing a health crisis, and I urge all of you to think it through thoroughly.
"We respect and recognise your contributions to the country," he said in a statement on Monday.
Mohamad also urged the government to offer permanent positions to these doctors.
At the same time, he said the authorities should also come up with new guidelines clearly spelling out the requirements for new doctors entering government service to avoid a potential influx of medical officers in the future.
He said the recent announcement by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin – that the contracts of all contract medical officers, dental officers and pharmaceutical officers would be extended by two years upon completion of their mandatory service – was a welcome move but it would not solve the problem.
“Although the announcement is a step in the right direction, it still does not meet the demand of the contract medical officers.
“Granting them permanent positions is the true solution Malaysia needs,” he said.
Muhyiddin had also said that the government has agreed to extend the contracts of officers accepted for specialist studies for a maximum of a further four years to ensure they can complete their specialisation studies.
Mohamad said the government should permanently absorb these officers considering their contributions and sacrifices, especially during the pandemic.
“Do it as a special recognition in... national healthcare,” he said.
Based on media reports, some 23,000 contract doctors planned to go on a nationwide strike after their efforts to be permanently absorbed did not yield any result.
The junior doctors have also claimed that the current contract system in the civil service has been unfair to them and hampered their career progression.
Mohamad said the 18-month pandemic has also trained the spotlight on the weaknesses of the country’s healthcare system, and there was a need for a drastic upgrade.
“We desperately need to increase our investment in the healthcare sector.
“A healthier doctor-to-patient ratio must be prioritised and we must increase the number of specialist doctors for every 10,000 patients from 3.4 in 2018 to 15 and in line with benchmarks set by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and and Development,” he added.