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PM Muhyiddin announces better terms for Malaysia's contract doctors, pledges to look into their concerns

PM Muhyiddin announces better terms for Malaysia's contract doctors, pledges to look into their concerns

FILE PHOTO: Health workers wearing protective suits work at the Emergency Department in the Kuala Lumpur Hospital, amid the COVID-19 outbreak, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (Reuters/Lim Huey Teng)

PUTRAJAYA:  The Malaysian government has agreed to extend the contract of all contract medical officers, dental officers and pharmaceutical officers for two years upon completion of their mandatory service, as part of the immediate actions to address their concerns, said Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin on Friday (Jul 23).

The lack of job security, limited length of service and other terms and benefits of contract government medical officers have recently come under the spotlight. 

Those on contract said that the scheme, which was first introduced by the health ministry in 2016, has been a major stumbling block in their career progression.

Under the Malaysian public healthcare system, doctors will first need to undergo a 2-year compulsory service period. To become a specialist, they would need to train for a further 4 years. With most contract doctors getting a 5-year tenure, they have found it challenging to complete their specialist training.

A nationwide strike by contract government doctors has been planned next week to express their dissatisfaction with the contract system.

Prior to 2016, all contract medical officers, dental officers and pharmaceutical officers were employed on a permanent basis until retirement.

READ: Malaysia government contract doctors frustrated over lack of job security, benefits as COVID-19 drags on

In a statement on Friday, Mr Muhyiddin said that the contracts of those accepted for further study in specialisation for a maximum of a further four years will also be extended, in order to ensure that they can complete their specialisation training. 

He said the Cabinet understands the concerns and issues faced by those on contract with regard to their career path.

As such, the Cabinet has agreed that contracts of these officers must be in line with the career of a permanent officer, he said. They should also be offered fully paid study leave as well as sponsorship similar to fully paid study leave and Federal Training Awards, said Mr Muhyiddin.

FILE PHOTO: Medical personnel work at a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing centre in Cyberjaya, Malaysia, June 2, 2021. REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng

On top of these, the government would also improve the benefits that are offered to the contract officers, including entitlement to special duties leave and fares to visit their hometown.

“The government understands the demands of the contract healthcare employees and acknowledge their contribution and roles as frontliners in giving the best healthcare to the people, especially in this COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mr Muhyiddin

The prime minister assured that the issues affecting the contract doctors will be given complete attention and handled wholly and effectively.

“I have ordered the Health Ministry and all the relevant agencies to form a comprehensive and inclusive plan involving immediate actions, short-term, medium-term and long-term plans.”

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Source: AGENCIES/ih

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