KUALA LUMPUR, June 2 — Despite repeated assurances, another group of contract healthcare professionals have taken to the internet to press the Health Ministry for guarantees that they will be given permanent positions in public hospitals.
The unnamed group set up a petition on online site change.org calling for public support next Tuesday, ahead of a Health White Paper that is expected to be tabled in Parliament this month.
According to the petition, set up under an account holder called Frontliner Solidarity, a total of 1,271 contract medical staff have been terminated from service since earlier this year.
The account claimed another 1,889 officers will face the same fate this month.
It said those at risk of losing their contract jobs include medical assistant officers, medical laboratory technologists, assistant environmental health officers and X-ray operators from private colleges.
The group is the third to be formed after Mogok Doktor Malaysia in April and Hartal Doktor Kontrak in July 2021.
Their campaign, called #SepakatSuaraKontrak, listed June 6 as the date for “solidarity”, but did not provide further details.
As of time of writing, the petition received 7,601 signatures with their target being 10,000.
“This solidarity is to welcome the Ministry of Health's intention in improving the quality of service to the public. With that in mind, we need a guaranteed contract extension such as the sponsored contract appointments and we hope that the government can consider a permanent appointment for all of us in the future.
“We love our country and this is one of our ways to be more passionate and responsible to carry out our duties with dedication for the sake of the nation's children and nations. That love for everyone has made us choose to continue in this field that we are involved in,” the account said.
The group said that the government had appointed contract workers to support the healthcare system at the height of Covid-19 and claimed that they were being let go in phases now that the crisis is over.
“Where is the justice for us?” the group asked.
On April 18, Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa gave an assurance that her ministry is on track to provide permanent positions to its contract doctors, amid continued grievances about their employment prospects.
She said 4,263 contract doctors have been absorbed into permanent service so far.