PETALING JAYA: The reasons why permanent positions offered to 100 contract doctors were rejected should be explained by the Health Ministry, says the Malaysian Medical Association.
Its president Prof Datuk Dr Subramaniam Muniady said MMA had requested for clear and transparent criteria of the selection system for those eligible to be selected for permanent posts but had yet to receive any clarification.
On Wednesday (Aug 25), Health ministry secretary-general Datuk Mohd Shafiq Abdullah said a third of 300 permanent positions offered to contract doctors this month had been rejected, adding that the positions would no longer be offered to those who turned it down.
He said that of the 300 positions offered, 85 rejected the offer while 15 resigned after gaining employment elsewhere.
Dr Subramaniam said the 15 doctors who resigned from government service needed to be looked into although it was only 5% of the total posts offered.
On the 85 doctors rejecting the offer, Dr Subramaniam said more clarity needed to be provided why they did so.
"MMA has received information that some doctors who have quit prior to this exercise also received this offer," he said.
He added that with many in the system awaiting offers for permanent posts, it did not make sense why those who left received the offer.
In reference to media reports of doctors refusing to serve in permanent positions in Sabah and Sarawak, Dr Subramaniam said if permanent posts were a priority, then the placement offered should not have mattered.
"These doctors should consider this as national service and agree to be placed where the need is. Once the pandemic is under control, they should then be allowed to apply for placements of their choice based on positions available," he said.
He added that the 100 rejections should also not affect the pandemic's human resource management as there are many more among the 23,000 junior doctors who are still awaiting offers for permanent posts.
Dr Subramaniam pointed out that the MMA had also written to the Health Ministry on Aug 3 to request for information including the attrition rate, the total number of permanent positions offered from each cohort, the cost difference between hiring doctors on a permanent and contractual position and some other information but have not received a reply to date.
He believed that these figures would help them to assist the government to come up with a framework or policy for junior doctors.