PETALING JAYA: Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah has urged healthcare workers against going on strike, saying it is not the best solution for the various issues in the public healthcare system.
Noor Hisham said healthcare was a critical sector and that its workers were just as crucial, warning that going on strike could come at the expense of human lives.
He maintained that healthcare workers were the main assets of the public healthcare sector and that the issues they faced needed to be resolved.
“Nonetheless, I want to reiterate that going on strike is not the best solution and that the issues in the public healthcare system must be handled together and in a more prudent manner,” he said in a statement today.
According to The Star, a group known as “Mogok Doktor Malaysia” claimed that about 8,000 contract doctors could take part in a strike next month and also threatened that these healthcare workers could resign en masse.
The group said those on strike will take emergency or medical leave from April 3 to April 5 as a sign of protest. It did not encourage the doctors to take part in any demonstrations.
In July 2021, groups of contract doctors in several major public hospitals staged a walkout as part of the Hartal Doktor Kontrak strike. The contract doctors were demanding a fair career path and to be offered the same benefits as medical officers in permanent positions, among others.
They were slated to go on strike again in December 2021 but this was called off after then health minister Khairy Jamaluddin said their plight would be brought to the Cabinet.
Noor Hisham maintained that the government had responded and acted on the issues and requests of healthcare workers from time to time.
He said this ranged from creating permanent posts and sponsoring specialisation training, to giving time-based promotions and other promotion opportunities.
“I believe that, from time to time, the government will ensure that every issue and request would be studied and resolved appropriately, based on the nation’s economic capability.
“Based on Budget 2023, we can see that the healthcare service continues to be prioritised by the government. May the public healthcare system continue to be strengthened in the years to come,” he said.