PETALING JAYA: More than 1,000 contract doctors have been left in the dark over certain issues pertaining to their upcoming permanent postings, according to the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA).
MMA president Dr Azizan Abdul Aziz said the association had sought clarification on several issues faced by 1,004 grade UD43 contract doctors who had been approved for permanent posts. However, MMA has not received any feedback from the health ministry.
“MMA sent the letter on Nov 9. However, there has been no response from the ministry despite many reminders given to the minister’s office,” Azizan said in a statement today.
She said a critical problem is the directive requiring the doctors to resign from their current contract positions by Dec 18, as contained in a ministry circular dated Nov 2.
She voiced concern that this would affect their existing years of service as a minimum of three years is needed for them to apply for specialist training and study leave.
“The doctors are still not allowed to claim transport and cargo allowances with the excuse being that they are ‘between contracts’ when, in reality, they have been working throughout the entire duration.”
If the time spent in the contract role is not recognised for salary and promotion assessments, she said, this could lead to pay inequalities.
“This raises the issue of unfairness as doctors who serve the same number of years will be paid differently depending on the date of promotion to permanent positions.”
Azizan urged the ministry to give greater consideration when it came to giving adequate notice and leave for these transitions and prompt communication regarding salaries and allowances.
“A change in workplace, especially when it involves moving to another state, requires time for planning and to facilitate financial arrangements,” she said.
On Jan 6, health minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa said the ministry would be offering 4,914 permanent posts for doctors this year.
Three months later, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim told the Dewan Rakyat that nearly 4,300 contract doctors would be offered permanent appointments this year alone at a cost of about RM1.7 billion.
Anwar also said the government was committed to absorbing 12,800 contract doctors into permanent positions within the next three years.