PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) today called on the government to look into permanent contract extensions for healthcare workers as a long-term solution.
While it applauded the health ministry’s recent announcement that contracts of 2,070 medical, dental and pharmaceutical officers would be extended by a further six months on a one-off basis, MMA urged the government to look into a 10-year extended contract for all doctors.
“This should not be looked at as an expense but rather an investment in the next generation of specialists.
“In the long run, the extension of contracts to 10 years will translate into savings for the government as we will have ample trained specialists without the need to import specialists,” said its president Dr Subramaniam Muniandy in a statement.
He said while healthcare costs were on the rise, maintaining long-term permanent positions was inevitable, and that issues such as brain drain, adequate specialist training and self-esteem among junior doctors should also be taken into consideration.
On Monday, the health ministry announced that the extension was on top of the previous six-month extension given to those whose contracts were set to expire this year or had already expired late 2019.
The latest extension involves 79 medical officers, 852 dental officers and 1,139 pharmaceutical officers who have completed their mandatory service. The total budget approved for the extension is RM81 million.