KUALA LUMPUR, July 23 — The Cabinet has agreed to appoint medical officers, dental officers and pharmacists by contract for a period of two years once they have completed their compulsory service to ensure continuity of service and preparation for pursuing specialist studies.
Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the Cabinet also agreed to extend the contractual appointment to a maximum of four years for medical officers and dental officers who are
pursuing specialisation studies during the contract period of the first two years.
“This step is to make sure they successfully complete their studies in their respective expertise.
“The Cabinet also understands the concerns and problems faced by a group of medical officers, dental officers and pharmacists regarding their contract appointments in relation to the equivalence of their career paths.
“To ensure an equal and fair career path, the Cabinet agreed that contractual appointments are managed in accordance with career equivalence, where permanent hire officers are offered full (paid study leave) as well as sponsorship studies equivalent to fully paid study leave and federal training rewards,” Muhyiddin said in the statement.
Among other matters discussed during the recent Cabinet meeting was to improve
facilities or benefits offered to medical officers, dental officers and pharmaceutical officers as well as appointment contracts such as special duty medical leave, tuberculosis leave and travel allowances for returning to region of origin.
“These decisions will also give room to the government to conclude a study on implementation of ongoing health system reforms, examining the existing stipulations in the Medical Act 1971 and formulate a long -term direction for medical services,” he said.
The Health Ministry has presented a proposal paper to the Cabinet on July 14 in relation to the improvement of the group of medical officers, dental officers and contract pharmacy officers.
Muhyiddin also assured that the government understands the demands of health workers regarding their contract statuses and are aware of their contributions and roles.
“I have instructed the MoH and relevant ministries and agencies to draw up a comprehensive and inclusive plan that encompasses immediate action, long -term plans, medium short and long term plans,” he said.
The country’s public healthcare system currently offers only contractual positions by the government under a system introduced in 2016.
According to media reports the system was initially a temporary solution to the government’s inability to offer permanent positions.
The issue has however persisted and doctors on temporary contracts are uncertain of whether they would end up with a permanent status.