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Junior medical workers can look forward to ending their contracts soon and become full-fledged doctors. 

On the back of pressures from contract doctors, dentists, and pharmacists threatening to go on strike, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced today that those workers can be placed on another contract lasting two years, after which they can move on to specializing in their specific medical areas in courses sponsored by the government, paving the way for them to become full-time doctors. 

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“The government understands the demands of this group of contract health workers, and is aware of their contribution and roles as frontliners, which are crucial in providing the best services to the people, especially during the pandemic,” Muhyiddin said in his statement today. 

Medical workers placed on contract have voiced frustrations about having to perform the same duties as full-time doctors but not accorded the same benefits such as leave, while others have complained about being kept in the dark about their employment status when their contracts were ending soon. Under the Hartal Doktor Kontrak campaign, many planned to protest the issues on July 26 if the government failed to address them. 

“To ensure this matter is given full attention and addressed comprehensively, I have instructed the Health Ministry, and relevant ministries and agencies to formulate a comprehensive and inclusive plan consisting of immediate actions, as well as medium short-term and long-term plans,” the prime minister added. 

Contract doctors will also have access to the same benefits as their full-time colleagues, he said, on top of scholarships and fully-paid study leave. The cabinet has also agreed to extend the contracts for temporary medical and dental officers who are studying and offer improved facilities and special medical leave.

“Contract appointments for medical and dental officers who are accepted to pursue specialist studies in the first two years of the contract will be extended for a period of up to four years,” he said. “This is to ensure the officers successfully complete the studies of their respective specialties.”

Muhyiddin’s statement comes a week after the Health Ministry submitted proposals on how to improve the career progression of junior health officers under contract.  

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This article, Muhyiddin appeases junior doctors three days before planned protest, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia’s leading alternative media company.

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