KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 30 — The Ministry of Health (MoH) said that the government has agreed to approve Special Medical Duty Leave and TB Leave for contract pharmacists, dentists and doctors who are diagnosed with cancer, tuberculosis (TB) and leprosy.

The leave was previously only for permanent staff serving under the ministry, and in July, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said that this benefit would also be extended to those who are under the contract system.

“The MoH refers to a tweet which was sent via the Hartal Doktor Kontrak Twitter account regarding the leave for tuberculosis, leprosy and cancer, which read: “It was simply a word of mouth by KJ, no black and white”.

“Therefore, we wish to inform you that the government has agreed to approve the Special Medical Duty Leave and TB Leave for contract medical, dentistry and pharmacy officers. A notification of the approval for the extension of this benefit was received from the Public Service Department (PSD) on December 27, 2021, which explains the approval and implementation of the Special Medical Duty Leave as well as Tuberculosis, Leprosy and Cancer Leave to medical, dental and contract pharmacy officers.

“In accordance with the notification, a circular has been issued to explain the approval and implementation of the leave facility to all heads of departments under MoH,” the statement by the ministry’s Chief Secretary, Datuk Mohd Shafiq Abdullah, read.

The Hartal Doktor Kontrak team highlighted the plight of a medical staff member who was diagnosed with breast cancer, and who had messaged the team to enquire about the benefit.

The person also told the team that upon enquiring with MoH, she was informed that the announcement was merely “a word of mouth” by Khairy and there was no black and white confirmation on the matter.

“It was simply a word of mouth by KJ.

“No black and white. End this double standard,” the Hartal Doktor Kontrak tweet read.