Don’t do it – Dr Noor calls on doctors to remember the oath and forget the hartal

The country’s frontliners of doctors, nurses and healthcare workers have been toiling without a break since the Covid-19 pandemic began. Photo courtesy of Health DG Facebook

KUALA LUMPUR, July 26 – Health Director General Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah today urged contract doctors and healthcare workers planning on joining the hartal or strike due to dissatisfaction with their terms of engagement with the government, to not do it.

He reminded them of the doctor’s oath of putting their patients well being as priority, and how the country’s needs them at this particular juncture with an ongoing pandemic.

“I urge all of you, please do not join the demonstration and abandon your duty to your patients. Remember many lives are on the line and the demonstration could affect their lives and even your career,” he said in a statement on his Facebook late last night.

Referring to the recent announcement by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin who had offered longer contract terms following increased grouses from doctors over their long standing issue of being engaged as contract workers without permanent positions, he said: “While we understand that you wish to continue serving the Ministry in a permanent post, currently the Government has announced a two years extension of the contract position. This is to give time for the amendment to be made to the pension Act so that permanent positions can be allowed to be employed with EPF i.e. without pension option.”

The government also offered those in contract position to continue their masters even in contract position.

The contract healthworkers and doctors have voiced dissatisfaction with the offer and many are expected to go on strike this morning at 11am, leaving their work area and not returning for the rest of the day.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian Medical Association has said that it is not condoning the strike.

Dr. Vijay Ganasan, who is Chairman of the MMA’s Section Concerning House Officers, Medical Officers and Specialists (SCHOMOS) in a posting on SCHOMOS Facebook (SCHOMOS), said that while he agreed that decisions have been slow, without any no long term solution on the matter, he also called upon the doctors to think deep on the decision they would take this morning.

“Many will shame the association or myself on this matter. However, take a moment to think, that while you guys are fighting for yourselves, the nation is on your side.

“The country’s healthcare is at stake here. Walking out may or may not cause any lives but if it does, we will regret it for life. I would not like to commit and say this issue will be sorted as soon as possible but the current rise in cases is alarming and I hope considerations have been made in all aspects.

“For those who have already planned to walk out, I think the decision to support the 22 thousand plus contract doctors is something noble. While I feel that the situation isn’t right at the moment to strike, risking yourselves for such a cause is something I will indeed acknowledge. However my kind advice is that we hope this step has been well thought out taking into account all legal documents, government order etc.”