PETALING JAYA: Hartal Doktor Kontrak (HDK) has called off a second nationwide strike planned for today pending the outcome of a Cabinet meeting.
The group pushing for contract medical officers to be given permanent posts said the decision to cancel the strike was taken in light of a Nov 26 statement by health minister Khairy Jamaluddin that their plight would be brought to the Cabinet in two weeks’ time.
It was previously reported that more than 5,000 contract doctors would stage a protest today over several unresolved issues involving their service.
“The HDK secretariat is aware of the health minister’s statement that he will bring the matter to the Cabinet within two weeks so a solution can be reached,” it said in a statement.
“With this, the HDK secretariat has temporarily postponed the second strike on Dec 8 while awaiting a detailed explanation from the health ministry.”
HDK said contract doctors were an important group in ensuring that the country overcome the Covid-19 pandemic, which had yet to end.
“Failure to reach a constructive solution that is convincing and immediate ensures the welfare (of doctors) will only invite a massive #ExitKKM exodus – the second hartal wave,” it said.
“We once again urge the government to take this issue seriously and not make any excuses. The decision is in your hands.”
The group held its first strike on July 26, which saw hundreds of contract doctors deliver on their promise to stage a walkout in several major hospitals to demand a fair career path and the same benefits as medical officers in permanent positions.
On June 29, the Malaysian Medical Association revealed that only 789 out of 23,077 contract doctors had been given permanent positions in the country’s public healthcare system since 2016.
HDK said extending the doctors’ contracts by two to four years as set out in the Budget 2022 did not give them confidence that they would remain in the public sector in the long- term.
Instead, it said, such measures only “continue the problematic legacy” which medical officers had faced.
It said the move was also insensitive to the young doctors and should not be accepted, “even as a short-term solution”.
It was previously reported that 514 contract medical officers have resigned from government service between January and Nov 26 this year.