Hartal Farmasi emerges on social media to seek justice for contract pharmacists

PETALING JAYA: After the Hartal Doktor Kontrak movement that fights for the plight of contract doctors, the Hartal Farmasi has emerged on social media to seek justice for contract pharmacists.

In a series of tweets on Saturday (Jan 21), Hartal Farmasi said pharmacists from the 2016-2017 batch, which had served for more than five to six years and worked during the Covid-19 pandemic, have been sidelined and denied permanent positions.

It also questioned why only over 300 positions will be offered to pharmacists, as opposed to 4,263 for doctors.

“After patients meet doctors, they will have to get medicines from the pharmacy. This will lead to congestion, and pressure at the pharmacy. Majority of health clinics have contract staff,” it said.

It added that the interview system for permanent positions was a waste of time and money as a healthcare worker's performance can be evaluated while they are on the job.

“The superiors and interviewers are not present when the officer is at work.”

Another post read: “To whom this may concern. We are writing to you in hopes that our voices are heard in light of the new updates with regards to our status as contract pharmacists currently employed with the government.

“We hope that the community understands the vital role a pharmacy department plays in ensuring that healthcare facilities are able to operate smoothly and deliver quality service to our clients,” it added.

It noted that the role of pharmacy in both government and private settings cannot be refuted, hence the recent developments with regards to pharmacists’ employment status is disheartening.

The Twitter account was established in January 2023 and it is unclear whether Hartal Farmasi will stage a walkout similar to what was done by Hartal Doktor Kontrak in July 2021.

The Star is attempting to get more information on the movement.

Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa said on Jan 6, that a total of 4,914 permanent positions will be available in the ministry in 2023 with 4,263 for medical officers, 335 openings for dentists and 316 for pharmacists.

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