SIBU, July 6: Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) Education Bureau hopes that the federal government will meet its request that priorities be given to post medical officers (MOs) from Sarawak and Sabah to hospitals in their home states.
Speaking at a press conference today, its Bureau chief, Datuk Ding Kuong Hiing strongly urged all MPs from Sabah and Sarawak to continue to fight for this reasonable request which is in the line with the Borneonisation stipulated under Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
The Meradong assemblyman said the bureau on behalf of the parents of those MOs who were granted six-month contracts, had forwarded a letter of public appeal to the Prime Minister and 222 MPs recently.
Their main requests include asking the government to engage the 79 MOs either permanently or on a 10-year contract and to upgrade existing salaries of MOs on contracts from the scale of UD 41 to UD43.
Ministry of Health (MOH) is also asked to engage MOs on contracts who intend to pursue specialist programmes or postgraduate courses with either long term contracts or scholarships of masters degree programmes which will groom them as medical specialists eventually.
“However, we are very disappointed as we have not heard any news on our requests regarding priorities be given to post Sarawakian/Sabahan MOs to hospitals in their home states.
“We strongly urge all MPs from Sabah and Sarawak to continue to fight for this reasonable request which is in the line with the Borneonisation stipulated under MA63,” he said.
However he was glad that the government had agreed to other issues brought out by the bureau.
“To the best of our knowledge based on reliable information, we have learned that the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) and MOH met on July 2, 2020 in Kuala Lumpur and had reached the following agreements,” he said.
Both sides had in the meeting agreed to upgrade the salary of MOs on contract from UD41 to UD43 where additional funding needed by the MOH was being discussed and it is now at the levels of Public Service Department and the Ministry of Finance, he said.
“MMA was assured by the MOH that a solution was being put in place with suggestions of MMA taken into consideration on the extension contract for specialist training.
“These extended contracts are meant only for those MOs who are attempting to specialise and they will be tied to a bond with the MOH later on,” said Ding.
This policy is also aimed to improve the specialist training as well as providing specialists’ services for the rural areas which seriously lack such medical services .
“Both have also deliberated that the current masters degree system with scholarship may not be free in future.
“The reality is that specialist training is an investment of doctors who in future may have to bear personally some of the fees incurred in the training.
“MMA is of the strong view that any mechanism to be introduced by the MOH must take into account the need to allow for the doctors to attend training in their specialities. This is human rights,” he added.
Accordingly from that meeting, Ding said both sides had agreed to work on the new mechanism for the extended contracts and it might become the norm that in future all medical officers will be engaged on contracts only while permanent positions will be reserved only for qualified specialists and consultants.
These 79 MOs who are given six-month contracts could also now apply for an extension of contracts and permanent posts.
Originally, it was stated in their six-month contracts that it was only a one-off offer.
He was told that details on the mechanism to apply for contract extension will be released by the MOH later. -DayakDaily