Govt won’t penalise contract doctors for yesterday’s strike, health minister tells Parliament

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba during his winding-up speech in Parliament, July 27, 2021. — Bernama pic
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba during his winding-up speech in Parliament, July 27, 2021. — Bernama pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, July 27 — The government will not take disciplinary action against contracted doctors who participated in yesterday’s hartal, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba said today.

His assurance came hours after a news report citing Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital director Dr Zulkarnain Mohd Rawi saying show-cause letters will be issued to doctors who took part in the strike.

“As for the issue surrounding doctors employed on contract, we have decided that no disciplinary action will be taken against those who took part in the hartal yesterday,” Dr Adham said during his winding-up speech in Parliament this afternoon.

Dr Adham also reiterated the government’s recent affirmation that it would extend the contract terms for the junior doctors another two years.

He added that any intention to eventually employ the contract doctors on a permanent basis required constitutional amendments.

“Concerning the issue of absorbing the contract doctors as full-time staff, the government plans to make the necessary amendments to the Pension Act to allow this, and we hope when it is presented, you the MPs can lend us your support,” he said.

These points were a brief part of Dr Adham’s winding-up speech today, one that was constantly interjected by mostly Opposition lawmakers who were critical of the Health Ministry’s performance throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

Among the more prominent points mentioned by the minister that was frequently disrupted concerned the nationwide Covid-19 testing capacity. His critics questioned him on the inconsistent rate of testing.

Among them was the immediate past health minister and Kuala Selangor MP Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad.

The special parliamentary sitting continues tomorrow with the Ministry of Science, Innovation, and Technology set to present its briefing.

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