Waiting hours will be longer during doctors’ strike on April 3-5, says Mogok Doktor Malaysia

PETALING JAYA: After threatening a nationwide strike, the Mogok Doktor Malaysia (Malaysian Doctors on Strike) has now cautioned people not to go to health clinics and public hospitals on April 3 to April 5, as the waiting hours at health clinics and public hospitals are expected to be longer while the strike is underway.

Previously, the movement of doctors attached to the Health Ministry had urged contract medical officers to take emergency or medical leave on the said dates as a sign of protest.

"Kindly do not visit any general hospitals or government clinics from April 3 to April 5," it said in an Instagram post on Thursday (March 30).

"There are more than 8,000 contract doctors who are going on a job strike by taking medical/emergency leave, as a protest against the unfair system and low wages.

"So your waiting time will be longer than usual. Thank you," it added.

Organisers told The Star on March 29 that they had asked doctors to take emergency or medical leave on April 3-5 as a sign of protest, adding that they do not encourage demonstrations or flashmobs.

They also warned of potential mass resignations on April 1.

A representative of the group, who declined to be named, told The Star that it had decided to proceed with the strike peacefully by taking emergency leave or medical leave "because demonstration or walkouts will cause harm".

"We have confirmed that an estimated 8,000 out of some 20,000 contract medical officers (MOs) will participate in this strike or mass resignation event," the representative said when contacted.

"(Some) 3,000 contract MOs will resign on April 1, while the rest will not be present to work from April 3-5," the representative said.

The group’s demands include the absorption of all contract MOs into permanent positions without any conditions or interviews; basic salary increments; higher on-call rates; a resolution to the shortage of specialists, MOs and house officers; and an automatic reduction in the compulsory service term for medical officers to three years.

It is also calling for a reduction in on-call and work hours for MOs and house officers, while on-call hours should not exceed six times a month, and working hours needed to be capped at 60 hours a week.

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah had also responded to the development where he said a strike was not the best solution to handle issues related to the medical profession or any other profession.

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