Abolish contract system, health ministry urged

Dr Michael Teo Yu Keng

KUCHING: The Ministry of Health (MoH) has been urged to abolish the contract system and absorb all 23,000 contract medical officers into the public sector as permanent employees.

In making the call, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) vice president Dr Michael Teo said that as Malaysia was still struggling with Covid-19, the contract extension for junior medical officers until the end of 2022 was not an adequate solution in ensuring the long-term reputation and excellence of the country’s medical sector.

Providing permanent posts, he added, would avoid the loss of young local talents to other countries as a result of brain drain.

“There is a growing number of medical, pharmacy and dental graduates who are unable to get permanent positions within the public health system due to budgetary constraints,” he said today (Tuesday).

Teo, who is also Miri MP, stressed that the health ministry must recognise the vital services of all health workers, especially when the country was facing a huge burden on healthcare services brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I urge the PN government, especially the ministry, to ensure that strategic workforce planning can meet the primary health care, mental health and public health needs of our nation,”  he said.

He added that the government must also focus on creating more opportunities for specialist training and medical research.

“Our healthcare workforce remains the bedrock of our society and they must be treated with due respect and recognition, starting with our junior doctor workforce and sustainable employment and training pathways,” he stressed.