As contract doctors across hospitals staged a planned peaceful strike on demands for their contracts to be extended, the Parliament convened for the first this since March 2020 when Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin declared a state of emergency to combat the insurgent of Covid-19. Among the issues raised and addressed during the first day session was to extend the contract of over 14,000 medical doctors, dentists and pharmacists for a period of two years.
According to Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul the commitment will involve for the government to allocate of RM1.2 billion. This is a follow-up to the government’s decision for contract-appointed medical officers, dental officers and pharmacists to be also offered contractual appointments for a period of two years after completing the compulsory service period to ensure continuity of service and preparation for specialist studies.
“The government is very concerned about the demands of the contract-status health workers group and is aware of their contribution and role as the front line of health in providing the best health services to the people, especially in the Covid-19 pandemic situation,” he said in Parliament.
During the session, the Finance Minister added that the government has also agreed to extend the appointment on a contract basis for a maximum period of four years, medical officers and dental officers who are accepted to pursue specialist studies during the first two-year contract period, a move to ensure that the officers can successfully complete their specialist studies.
Frontliners have been battling tirelessly for the past 18 months with some having not seen their families for months, there is still some time before those working in the healthcare sector can take a breather as Malaysia continues to facing a challenging fourth wave of the pandemic. Contract doctors and healthcare officers are chalking in the hours in support of the national call to defend the healthcare system from collapsing, but many of whom have no inclination if they still have a job or prospect in coming months.
The latest announcement comes as a respite, progressively for the long term solution the Prime Minister had instructed the Health Ministry and relevant agencies to draw up a comprehensive and inclusive plan comprising immediate action, short-term, medium and long-term plans to enable the direction for the medical services to be drawn up.