PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) has told the government to speed up healthcare reforms in light of rumours about healthcare workers going on strike.
Noting that the healthcare system and its human resources have been “stretched to its limits” for years, MMA president Dr Muruga Raj Rajathurai said the association is not surprised to hear of a possible strike by public healthcare workers.
Apart from the lack of permanent positions to give contract doctors secure employment, Muruga highlighted overcrowded public healthcare facilities, a shortage of manpower, low pay and long hours as among key issues public healthcare workers have been facing for years.
While he said the MMA does not condone any strike, it is understandable the frustration and burnout among the public healthcare workers have “reached their limit”.
“Although (a possible strike) remains only as a rumour for now, the health and finance ministries and the public services department (JPA) should take the sentiments of the healthcare workers seriously and speed up the much-needed reforms to address the longstanding issues they are facing,” he said in a statement today.
“The issues they are facing (have) been around for years with little or no change.
“There were three changes in government over the last four years (and) there was renewed hope with every new Cabinet line-up and administration, but none was able to solve the issues.”
Muruga said the public healthcare system issues should not be viewed as a problem for the health ministry to address alone. He said many of the issues, especially those involving human resources, require budgeting and planning by the finance ministry and JPA.
He also said the MMA had communicated its concerns about a possible strike to the health ministry during a recent meeting.
It was reported that Ipoh Timor MP Howard Lee had raised concerns about public healthcare workers going on a strike.
Malaysiakini quoted the DAP Youth chief as saying he learnt of the possible strike from over a dozen contract and full-time government doctors across the country.
Lee said the doctors were independent of any movement but shared similar frustrations about the pressure faced by the public healthcare sector.