THE Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia (Abim) refers to the #HartalDoktorKontrak event yesterday that saw contract doctors and other healthcare professionals supporting them going on strike.
Abim welcomes the Prime Minister’s statement on July 23 regarding several improvements to the contract doctors’ system, including the offer of appointment on a contract basis for a two-year period after completing the mandatory period of service as well as some additional benefits that are equivalent to those a doctor with a permanent position enjoys.
These decisions will, to some extent, standardise the terms of service between contract and full time doctors.
However, Abim stresses that there should be more long-term guarantees for contract doctors, especially after the stated contract extension period ends.
For one, more permanent appointments for contract doctors should be realised as soon as possible.
This will increase the number of doctors in the public sector to meet the country’s growing healthcare needs for years to come.
Also, the government’s offer of an extension is most likely insufficient for specialist training (either for a Masters programme or the parallel pathways/fellowship exams).
Therefore, the minimum period for contract appointments needs to be reconsidered, possibly for up to 10 years as recommended by the Malaysian Health Coalition on July 26 (“Good start, but more needed for healthcare profes- sionals”, The Star; online at bit.ly/star_meddocs).
In a similar development, staffing for critical positions in other healthcare sectors, such as dentists, pharmacists, nurses and medical assistants, should also be scrutinised and improved, especially in terms of their welfare and the security of their future.
The current developments in all categories of frontline workers are of great concern, considering all that has emerged on social media about the emotional stress and work environments they have to endure, as well as reports about resignations.
Therefore, Abim stresses the importance of fair and equitable government decisions for all frontline workers to increase the effectiveness of Malaysia’s efforts to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.
MUHAMMAD FAISAL ABDUL AZIZ
President, Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia (Abim)