Another ‘Black Monday’ for medical officers

PETALING JAYA: Two years after the last “Black Monday” campaign by a different medical group, Mogok Doktor Malaysia (Malaysian Doctors on Strike) has come up with a similar initiative.

Those supporting the nationwide contract doctors’ strike have been asked to change their social media profile pictures to black or monochrome.

“To support our movement, change your profile pictures to black or monochrome. For non-contract doctors, please go to work wearing black,” the movement posted on social media.

When contacted, the group spokesman, who only wanted to be known as Dr Jamal, warned that the public healthcare system might collapse.

“We expect to paralyse the public healthcare system from tomorrow onwards, and to encourage more medical officers to resign from the Health Ministry,” he said.He said the sections that would be most affected were the emergency department, labour room, outpatient department and health clinics, which have a high number of contract medical officers (MOs).

“This is why we have informed the public prior, that this is what will happen if they go to public hospitals and clinics during the strike,” he added.

In 2021, there was a similar campaign dubbed “Code Black” by the Malaysian Medical Association’s Section Concerning House Officers, Medical Officers and Specialists (Schomos), which was a protest against what was seen as an unfair contract MO system.However, this was solely a social media campaign and did not involve any demonstrations.

MMA Schomos’ Code Black campaign ran from July 1 to July 12, 2021, and culminated in a “Black Monday” on July 12, 2021, during which the group requested that supporters change their personal profile pictures, company or institution logo to black or monochrome for the first 12 days of the campaign, while doctors were told to go to work as usual wearing black.

Another group known as Hartal Doktor Kontrak, meanwhile, staged a nationwide walkout on July 26 in the same year. It is learnt that some hospitals have frozen leave and issued warnings against participating in the strike.

Citing the Public Service Department’s circular dated June 30, 2011, the Health Ministry has also issued a warning on its Facebook page, saying that civil servants are barred from participating in any illegal assembly.

In response to this, Dr Jamal said this time, there would be no walkout or demonstration.

“We are not going for any walkout this time – clearly the Health Ministry people don’t understand at all,” he added.

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