Tiong to push for Bintulu doctors’ contracts renewal, demand cutting red tape and clearer prospects

Dato Sri Tiong King Sing

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KUCHING, Aug 11: Bintulu MP Dato Sri Tiong King Sing has pledged to push for the renewal of contracts for Bintulu doctors which are about to expire, in order to retain their services.

He will also be writing in to the Ministry of Health (MOH) secretary-general and Public Service Department (PSD) to demand that the relevant departments cut and simplify the bureaucratic red tape and make clear the procedures and prospects for a contract doctor to enter the public health service without undue worry and ambiguity.

“It is necessary for the MOH and PSD to clarify the appointment of contract doctors and the procedures as well as standards involved in being offered a permanent post as soon as possible.

“The departments have constantly refused the requests of the contract doctors due to insufficient permanent posts. Are we really not in need of more doctors considering the current pandemic situation Malaysia is facing?” he said in a statement posted on his social media page today.

Tiong, who is also Prime Minister’s Special Envoy to China, claimed that since the implementation of the contract system in 2016, less than five per cent of contract doctors have been promoted to full positions and yet, the criteria for evaluation and selection have never been made clear.

“This has caused many contract doctors who are devoted to the medical profession to look for alternatives. It is not right to even let these professionals face the risk of unemployment especially during this pandemic,” he said.

He is also aware that contract doctors from Peninsular Malaysia all the way to Sabah and Sarawak have complained facing inequality at work without equal pay when they too are dealing with high pressure and work intensity on the same level as full time doctors, while benefits and allowances were restricted, thus making them feel underappreciated and uncertain of their futures.

“Furthermore, under this vague and ambiguous contract system, there is a general inability to be granted fully-paid study leave and government scholarship. This has effectively dashed the dreams of contract doctors who wish to pursue specialist studies and have caused our medical talents to leave the service.

“Losing more and more of our talents from government service is something we need to urgently address,” he pointed out.

Tiong also opined that MOH must systematically send doctors into the rural areas in rotation to serve, such as on a three-year period, to allow them to accumulate valuable clinical experience in a wider variety of conditions.

“This would provide doctors with far greater real-world experience instead of being stuck in the same place for a long time. Limited experience results in stagnation of knowledge and stunted learning.

“Of course, I also hope that all contract doctors can hold on to their sense of public service by not resisting the opportunity to be stationed in remote places for a time. Seize the chance to learn and service under different medical conditions and provide their best service to all who need it,” he said.

Tiong reiterated his promise to further discuss issues concerning contract doctors with the Minister of Health Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba including clearer job prospects and on dispatching medical officers to various hospitals fairly and minimise unintended consequences to the public. — DayakDaily