Datuk Ding Kuong Hiing

SIBU: Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) Education Bureau is leading the fight in attempting to resolve the problem of medical officers not being offered long-term contracts after they completed their two-year contract with the Ministry of  Health (MOH), thus negating the opportunity for junior doctors to pursue careers in the field of medical specialisations of their choice.

Recently, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba informed Parliament that the medical officers involved were encouraged to further their specialisations abroad and return to Malaysia to serve the country.

SUPP Education Bureau chairman Datuk Ding Kuong Hiing said that Dr Adham pointed out that at present, there are 23,928 permanent medical officers who have not undergone their specialist training.  

“We are very surprised by Dr Adham’s written reply on issues that will have a profound effect on medical services in the country.

“He should be aware that not all doctors are suitable for specialist training, as advanced training requires higher physical and mental training. It is further noted that it is not easy for doctors who have completed 5-6 years of master’s training to undertake another six to 10 more years of specialist or semi-specialist training.” he said.

Ding, who is also the Meradong assemblyman and the Malaysian Junior Doctors 2020 protem chairman, added that the government should support doctors in their chosen careers and provide them the opportunities to achieve their success.

The offer of a permanent position or a longer contract period of five to six years is the right approach to increase the number of medical experts in the country.

Ding urged Dr Adham to study the distribution of medical experts in the country.

“Both Sabah and Sarawak experienced a severe shortage of medical specialists in 2010. This ongoing problem has not been resolved thus far.

“This is further compounded by the fact that all the medical officers from the Peninsula did not report for their duties in East Malaysia despite being offered a six-month extension of their contracts.

“We cannot blame them because Sarawak is not their home state and the jobs offered are only for six months,” he added.

It is therefore imperative that doctors working in East Malaysia be given permanent posts to ensure the continuity of decent medical treatment in these two states.

According to Ding, it is the responsibility of the MOH and the Finance Ministry to facilitate the training of junior doctors in their chosen fields of specialisations.

“We urge the relevant parties to reveal the criteria for the selection of specialisations and the offer of permanent posts.

“If the authorities make a long-term financial commitment, a five-year contract can be offered to these medical officers to ensure they complete the necessary training,” Ding added.