KJ: Contract doctor issue to be raised in Cabinet

SEREMBAN: The plight of contract doctors in government service who are demanding to be made permanent will be raised in Cabinet in a fortnight, says Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

He said a solution was needed to prevent the issue from being raised every now and then.

“I will present a memorandum on the short- and long-term solutions to this matter to the Cabinet,” he told reporters when met after the state-level national Youth Consultative Council meeting here yesterday.

Khairy expressed hope that the doctors would defer plans to hold a protest until the Cabinet decided on the matter.

On Nov 16, the Hartal Doktor Kontrak movement said it would stage a “symbolic mass resignation” next month if the government did not hire 22,288 contract doctors on a permanent basis soon.The movement’s spokesman, Dr Muhammad Yassin, said the planned protest would see affected contract doctors staging a protest march while carrying placards with the words “Mass Resignation”.

The movement was organising a second protest as it felt that the government did not address the contract doctor issue in Budget 2022.

He said the protest could last up to an hour, followed by en masse resignation in the same month.Khairy expressed hope that the Cabinet would give its nod to hire a certain number of contract doctors for now.

“Once we get the green light, I will announce the number we can take.

“I hope those planning the protest will wait until the paper is taken to the Cabinet and not disrupt medical services that are being provided,” said Khairy, adding that the government was in no position to make all contract doctors permanent at one go.“We can probably absorb those who have finished their housemanship, compulsory service or those in the first few cohorts.

“The rest will depend on the longer-term solution,” he said.

Separately, Khairy said the standard operating procedures for the Sarawak state election would be finalised by Nov 30.

He said Deputy Health Minister II Datuk Aaron Ago Dagang had been tasked to look into the matter.“I had a discussion with the Sarawak state secretary this (Thursday) afternoon on the SOP for the state election.

“There are some issues that we need to fine tune and once this is done, we will submit the recommendations to the Election Commission,” Khairy added.

The Sarawak election will be held on Dec 18, with nomination on Dec 6 and early voting on Dec 14.

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