The government has given its assurance that no disciplinary action will be taken against any doctor or contract health officer who participated in the peaceful Hartal Doktor Kontrak demonstration yesterday, says Health Minister Dr Adham Baba.
Replying to MPs’ questions about actions to tackle the Covid-19 outbreak at the special meeting of the Dewan Rakyat today, Adham said the contract doctors had the right to voice their views.
“Insya Allah (God willing), there will be no action against them even though they went out yesterday to demonstrate… we will not take disciplinary action,” he said in response to a question from Dzulkefly Ahmad (PH-Kuala Selangor) on whether the health ministry would take action against the contract doctors involved in the peaceful demonstration.
Earlier, Adham presented his explanation of the actions taken by the ministry to curb the spread of the pandemic. A total of 18 MPs raised questions and sought further clarification.
On the issue of permanent posts for contract doctors, Adham said the government had prepared short- and medium-term plans, including extending the two-year contract term, to enable the health ministry to table amendments to the Pension Act 1980 and the Medical Act 1971.
He said the amendment to the two acts was to enable contract medical officers to obtain permanent positions, with the pension method or the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) contribution option.
“I promise to bring them (amendments to the act) to Parliament so that we can help them (contract officers). I hope for the support of the honourable members, so that it can be discussed (to be amended) and approved so that the contract doctors can be properly protected,” he said.
The issues were raised by almost all MPs including Dzulkefly, Shahidan Kassim (BN-Arau), Mohd Fasiah Mohd Fakeh (Bersatu-Sabak Bernam) and Dr Kelvin Yii (PH-Bandar Kuching) who requested that the issue of the permanent appointment of contract doctors be resolved immediately.
Dzulkefly, who started the debate today, stressed that contract doctors only want their welfare protected and to get fair and equitable treatment.
“Don’t treat them (contract doctors) in this pandemic similar to PPEs (personal protective clothing), to be discarded after use,” he said.
Fasiah, meanwhile, asked about the number of contract medical officers currently serving with the health ministry to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.