More than 50 contract doctors from Sungai Buloh Hospital went on strike today, staging a walkout from the hospital compound in line with the call by the Hartal Doktor Kontrak group.
Wearing black and carrying placards, they circled the area outside the hospital before re-entering the compound.
A second group of doctors then emerged from the hospital, also carrying placards.
A spokesman from the second group who asked not to be named said the move to strike was only in order to receive fairer treatment.
“We didn’t compromise our patients’ health,” he said. “We managed to do everything necessary before we left.
“We would definitely not be here if we were treated fairly,” he added in response to the call by health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah last night, urging the contract doctors to remember their oath of duty.
In a Facebook post, Noor Hisham also said that many lives were on the line and that the demonstration could affect patients as well as the doctors’ careers.
But the spokesman said the contract doctors had no problem carrying out their duties during the pandemic, especially after their hospital was converted into a full Covid-19 facility, adding that they had been forced to this point by unfair treatment.
“We are not having a bad time. Covid is manageable, but we should be appreciated for what we do,” he said.
It is understood that some of the contract doctors serving at Sungai Buloh Hospital are on loan from other hospitals.
Sungai Buloh Hospital was gazetted as the first full Covid-19 facility in October last year. It was followed by Ampang Hospital and Selayang Hospital.
The organisers of the hartal or strike had claimed that some 4,000 contract doctors would join them in the walkout today, despite the government’s offer of a two-year extension of contract announced by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin last week.
The contract system was introduced by former prime minister Najib Razak for medical, dental and pharmacy graduates in the tabling of the 2017 Budget at the Dewan Rakyat, due to constraints on permanent positions.