KUALA LUMPUR: The Hartal Doktor Kontrak(HDK) movement saw hundreds of junior doctors in Malaysia stage a brief walkout on Monday, demanding permanent jobs from the government, despite the risk of arrest and disciplinary action.
These doctors, who were clad in black, walked from their post at several hospitals and health facilities nationwide at 11 am, holding placards in a bid to demand better employment terms.
A month ago, the group had threatened to organise a strike involving thousands of contract doctors, most of them stationed at Covid-19 treatment centres.
Some aborted the plan, due to heavy police presence and the threats of arrest at some hospitals. The protest comes one day after Malaysia recorded an all-time high of 17,045 daily COVID infections on Sunday.
The doctors returned to assume their duties after the brief walkouts to ensure there was no disruption to patient care. The majority of junior doctors who joined the public health system in 2016 are in contracted positions.
To date, there are over 20,000 contract doctors in Malaysia and they bring home lower salaries than equally experienced peers with permanent contracts
Recently, there have been reports of 10 contract doctors quitting a public hospital in Klang, citing burnout. The Klang Hospital is the country’s most stretched public health facilities due to the surge in Covid-19 cases.
It was revealed last week by the Selangor Health Department Director that 163 government doctors had quit within Selangor alone since January 2021. – THE STRAITS TIMES
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