Apolitical group alleges 79 junior East Malaysian doctors being unfairly treated

Medicine and healthcare. — DayakDaily.com file pic. // Photo: Pixabay

KUCHING, July 1: The Malaysian Junior Doctors 2020 (MJD2020), a new apolitical group has alleged that at least 79 junior medical doctors from Sarawak and Sabah are being treated unfairly, even after the latter received six-months contract renewal this year.

Formed by Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP), MJD2020 protem chairman Datuk Ding Kuong Hiing and protem secretary Wong Ching Yong in a statement said the group was formed to fight for a just cause and for the junior doctors who deserve better treatment from the Ministry of Health (MOH) and Public Services Commission Malaysia (SPA).

In an open letter dated June 29, 2020 addressed to the prime minister, all Members of Parliament (MP),the Health director-general, doctors and parents, the group cited how Sarawakian and Sabahan doctors were unfairly treated in the allocation of permanent posts in the two East Malaysian states.

“To our best knowledge, many Sarawakian MOs are not offered permanent posts three times in 2020, when as early as January 2020, there were 100 permanent posts given to Sarawak hospitals but less than 10 per cent were MOs who are Sarawakians. Of the 100 permanent posts, 28 rejected and two resigned.”

Ding, who is also Meradong state assemblyman, pointed that the unfair treatment of MOs from Sarawak and Sabah was against Borneonisation as promised in Malaysia Agreement 1963, and therefore the MPs from both states must voice this unfairness in parliament sittings.

Citing that 30 permanent posts in East Malaysia were given to MOs from other states, Ding emphasised that priority must be given to Sarawak and Sabah MOs.

“MOs from West Malaysia will not serve Sarawak for long because Sarawak is not their home.”

Meanwhile, he pointed out a clause in the six-month contract, which prohibits MOs from seeking help from outsiders to support them with regards to the public service, regardless of whether it was for themselves or for other officers.

Ding assured that MJD2020 legal advisors would study if the clause breached MOs’ constitutional rights.

He also called on the new director Datu Dr Norhizan Ismail to revisit an “unfair, weird and illogical” policy under MOH’s Bahagian Perkembangan Perubatan (BPP) where permanent posts are offered to MOs who have not completed their MO training, on the grounds that they did their housemanship locally.

“BPP has to explain why you are not being offered contracts just because you did not do your housemanship locally. MOH must explain other reasons as to why the 79 MOs are not given permanent posts,” Ding asserted.

He pointed out that the 79 MOs, four of whom are from Sarawak, did their housemanship overseas in countries like the United Kingdom and Australia and had duly completed the two-year MO contracts in Malaysia.

Strongly supporting the MOs rights to be given permanent post in government hospitals, Ding explained that doctors who have partially passed their postgraduate specialist examination must be given the priority for the consideration of permanent posts.

“The government owes them the obligation. If not, these doctors could never become specialists. Almost all of them take up postgraduate courses on their own without any financial assistance from the government.”

On top of that, he stated that there were still insufficient specialists in Malaysia which numbered about 7,000 in all.

Hence, MJD2020 asserted that the offer of a 6-month contract to MOs was not only inappropriate but unkind and insulting as well, taking into account that with the outbreak of Covid-19, working in hospitals is now a high risk job for the young MOs.

“Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) has been recommending 10-year contract but its recommendation has fallen onto deaf ears. Adding salt to the wound is that you are earning UD41 as MOs, which is lower than your fellow MOs on permanent posts. Same work, different pay, no career future, it is utterly unfair and cruel of the government for treating you like dirt,” Ding lamented.

He claimed that at least four MOs from Sarawak were denied permanent posts without reason despite their average scores in Sasaran Kerja Tahunan (SKT) being 89 per cent and all having passed part of their postgraduate specialist examinations.

In the event that if they wish to be a GP, which is the first point of contact with patients, Ding said working in a government hospital for about five years is considered as ‘inexperienced and raw’ and they will have a difficult time to survive in the market because the patients have no confidence in them.

He urged all 79 junior doctors to unite and come forward, and join the soon-to-be-created MJD2020 chat group.

He also urged them to return to their constituencies and discuss their problems with their respective MPs and ADUNs who must help them by speaking up in the coming Parliamentary and ADUN sittings.

“If the government is not responding to your appeal, you should consider writing to our King His Majesty, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. Our legal advisors will be most happy to draft a letter for you,” Ding added.

MJD2020 comprises of several prominent personnel such as Sarawak Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian, Sarawak Assistant minister of Housing and Public Health Dr Annuar Rapa’ee, former Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye and MMA Sibu president Dr Wong Chya Wei as medical advisors, while their legal advisors are human rights lawyer Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, DAP Sarawak chairman Chong Chieng Jen, ADUN Piasau Datuk Sebastian Ting Chiew Yew and Senator Robert Lau Hui Yew among others.—DayakDaily