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The Cabinet yesterday agreed to appoint medical officers, dental officers and pharmacists by contract for a period of two years once they have completed their compulsory service to ensure continuity of service and preparation for pursuing specialist studies. — AFP pic
The Cabinet yesterday agreed to appoint medical officers, dental officers and pharmacists by contract for a period of two years once they have completed their compulsory service to ensure continuity of service and preparation for pursuing specialist studies. — AFP pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, July 24 — Members of the #HartalDoktorKontrak movement today said their planned July 26 strike will proceed, after expressing dissatisfaction with the government’s announcement of improved benefits and contract extensions yesterday.

The Cabinet yesterday agreed to appoint medical officers, dental officers and pharmacists by contract for a period of two years once they have completed their compulsory service to ensure continuity of service and preparation for pursuing specialist studies.

The Cabinet also agreed to extend the contractual appointment to a maximum of four years for medical officers and dental officers who are pursuing specialisation studies during the contract period of the first two years.

“Offering us more years of contract is not a solution, it’s a sugarcoating statement to shut us up. We know well how the system works, we are not buying it. Nobody wise enough will accept it.

“Stop giving us a half-cooked solution given by people who are not even in this field, or don’t even know how the system works, or maybe don’t even bother to think thoroughly about it because the problem is not theirs.

“Give us a clear planning, clear solution for our career. Could we afford to lose more and more people now? HARTAL is definitely going on. 2 DAYS TO HARTAL!” the group said in a statement.

The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) has also expressed similar sentiments, saying the contract extension for medical officers, dental officers and pharmacists is not a long-term solution to the problem.

MMA said while it welcomed the decision, a holistic, long-term and sustainable solution is still needed.

The Cabinet decision yesterday came ahead of a planned hartal, or strike, by contract doctors on July 26 under #HartalDoktorKontrak should their demands — which also include promoting all contract doctors to permanent posts and making the criteria for promotion transparent — be ignored.

Healthcare workers and MMA have also taken part in the Code Black and Black Monday campaigns to show solidarity with the contract doctors’ plight.

Since the pandemic began, contract doctors’ issues have become hotly debated within the medical profession.

It was reported that over 23,000 contract doctors in government service who graduated since December 2016 have not been automatically absorbed permanently like in the past.

The movement first gained considerable traction on Twitter through the hashtag #HartalDoktorKontrak.

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