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Earlier today the Cabinet 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
Earlier today the Cabinet 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 23 — Contract extension announced by the government today for medical officers, dental officers and pharmacists is not a long-term solution towards the problem, the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) said.

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

“This is not a solution to the problem as this pandemic has shown how critical healthcare workers are and therefore more positions should be created for permanent posts.

“Besides this, the current proposal of a contract extension needs to be reviewed as other factors that may delay specialisation should be taken into account,” said MMA president Datuk Dr Subramaniam Muniandy in a statement.

He also noted that, during a virtual meeting with the Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin today, due to the pandemic, there are currently several limitations in providing a permanent solution to the issue at this time.

“He however expressed his strong commitment in addressing these issues and vowed that he will personally monitor its progress going forward.

“The prime minister also stated that MMA should be involved in healthcare-related policies for the government to get a better picture of the situation on the ground,” said Dr Subramaniam.

Earlier today the Cabinet has 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.

“We look forward to working closely with the prime minister and Health Ministry on the holistic development of a medium and long term plan for healthcare worker’s employment in the government healthcare system,” said Dr Subramaniam.

The decision comes 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 — are 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.

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