Special leave does not solve our problem, says Hartal Doktor Kontrak

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Contract doctors hold aloft placards demanding equal treatment as they go on strike at the Kuala Lumpur Hospital July 26, 2021. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Contract doctors hold aloft placards demanding equal treatment as they go on strike at the Kuala Lumpur Hospital July 26, 2021. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 2 — Hartal Doktor Kontrak (HDK) has reportedly said that the provision of special medical duty leave does not solve the problem the team has highlighted, and their stance on the matter will not change.

Malay Sunday newspaper Mingguan Malaysia quoted a group spokesman, Dr Muhammad Yassin, as saying that the special leave was also not comprehensive, as it was only applicable to those who have finished their mandatory service that usually ends after five years.

“This leave is part of our requests, but government circulars state that it can only be taken by those who have completed the mandatory service. Meaning housemanship of two years and continuation of their contract for another three years,” he reportedly said yesterday.

On Friday, the Ministry of Health (MoH) announced that the government had agreed to approve special medical duty leave and TB leave for contract pharmacists, dentists and doctors who are diagnosed with cancer, tuberculosis (TB) and leprosy.

“What about the fate of doctors who serve less than that time (mandatory service)?

“I hope that the provision of the leave can be extended at least to all contract doctors. Why is the leave suddenly now only given to doctors that have completed mandatory service?” Dr Muhammad reportedly added.

The group has been advocating for the rights of health workers working under contract, asking for more permanent placements, benefits and career growth opportunities — which have been scarce in past years.

Dr Muhammad was quoted as saying that HDK may continue with plans for a strike at the end of this month or in February — a move that has been delayed due to persistent floods in several areas of Malaysia.

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