By Patriot

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia--The ongoing plight of contract doctors in Malaysia, who have been made to do national service in this period of the health pandemic at government hospitals throughout the country are crying out for justice.

All that they are justifiably asking for is that their terms of contract and service be reviewed in order that these young doctors will have an opportunity to pursue specialization and aim for a progressive career in their chosen medical profession.

The government’s knee jerk response of granting contract doctors a mere two years tenure leaves the doctors in a quandary. They rightfully ask what certainty is there that at the end of the temporary two year extension of their contract employment they would eventually be offered permanent appointments.

So far the Health Ministry has not given any assurance to these contract doctors that they will be absorbed into full time employment.

Such is the predicament of these contract doctors who have been slogging for the past few months to save the lives of the now a million over of infected Covid-19 patients.

Patriot is fully aware that our young doctors are stressed out, with insufficient rest and working long, gruelling hours under extreme duress and challenging conditions.

Being contract doctors, they are not entitled to the full benefits enjoyed by those under permanent employment.

Is the Health Ministry blind to the fact that these young contract doctors are doing their best to save precious lives despite the inherent risks to their own safety and wellbeing?

Is the work and commitment put in by these our front line heroes and heroines not worthy to be given the honour and motivation deserving for their onward progress and continued service to the nation?

If this is not sheer exploitation then what is it, pray tell us?

The Prime Minister, Tan Sri Mahiaddin in a recent statement stated that the government will be looking into proposals to solve the current predicament faced by contract doctors.
But Patriot has yet to see an efficacious resolve. On the contrary what we see is the dishing out of threats against the doctors who are gearing towards staging a protest out of their sheer desperation and the betrayal by the government.

How can our leaders disregard the crucial need, importance and role of our medical staff especially when the country is facing a health pandemic of unprecedented proportions?

The Health Ministry and other related agencies involved in managing the Covid-19 scourge of late is being increasingly and widely perceived as performing poorly and unprofessionally in handling the Covid-19 situation.

The daily and steady increase in the number of infections and death is cause for grave concern.

In this climate of great national peril, Patriot demands to know is the Health Ministry not concerned about losing our precious, young doctors.

From news reports we understand that the Health Ministry has stated that the government is unable to provide permanent employment for the doctors because of budget deficits.

But Patriot seeks to know how come over a million ringgit of monthly salaries can be budgeted to pay the monthly salaries of the prime minister and twenty of his ministers? We are not even talking about the bloated seventy member Cabinet ministers and their deputies and other political appointees whose total monthly salaries – not including their perks and benefits, runs into multi millions of ringgit taking a huge chunk of the country’s wealth.

The Health Ministry itself has one Minister and two Deputies. Yet our young and aspiring doctors who are the very backbone of the nation’s healthcare are being treated without honour and motivation. This is acrimonious in the interest of the larger context of building our beloved nation.

If Ministers and Deputy Ministers are handsomely paid for work that the public does not see and feel, why are these young doctors who are perpetually under pressure to save lives being paid a pittance and dumped into the chute of uncertainty?

Patriot wishes to state without fear or favour that the Health Minister and the prime minister must take the full brunt of the numerous failures in our battle with the national enemy, the Covid-19.

Not only are doctors being side-lined but even the health and medical facilities much needed to meet and battle the virus’ spread leaves much too be desired.

Patriot believes that there is a disproportionate growth in and the strengthening of our
nation’s medical and healthcare services to adequately meet the growing population and its inherent changes in the profile compared to the emphasis on the physical growth and development of the country. Towns and cities are growing at a rapid pace throughout the country, but where are the hospitals, polyclinics and related facilities to provide comprehensive healthcare for the citizens?
The action taken by these contract doctors to resign and or protest at a crucial time when the country needs their services most should never have happened.

Patriot believes and advocates strongly that our country’s contract doctors must be granted permanent employment and career pathways to excel in the interest of our nation. And issues relating to their wages, allowances and other benefits deserve to be reviewed. There should be no racial profiling but purely increasing and improving the country’s medical and healthcare capabilities.

The contract doctors have a legitimate, honourable, going concern and Patriot stands by them in this their hour of crucial need and challenges faced. While some may plead that doctors must remember their oath of primum non nocere to patients, Patriot reminds the government and the Health Ministry in particular of its obligation to inspire, nurture and safeguard Malaysia’s human capital – our young doctors.