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Monday, July 26, 2021

Cops to probe strike by HKL contract doctors


Police will probe the strike by junior contract doctors at the Kuala Lumpur Hospital (HKL) this morning, said Dang Wangi police chief Mohamad Zainal Abdullah.

This is because during the movement control order period, no one is allowed to assemble or engage in any gathering at any place for any purpose whether religious, social, sports, marriage or cultural without the permission of the health director-general, he said.

"This is contained below Regulation 10 of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act (National Recovery Plan) Regulations 2021," he told Malaysiakini.

Around 50 junior doctors and medical officers at HKL were among a significant number of government contract doctors at around 15-20 hospitals who carried out mass walkouts in a nationwide strike this morning to demand job security and better career opportunities.

Kuala Lumpur Hospital

Several hundred, if not thousands, turned up despite their superiors threatening to take disciplinary action against those who participated in the Hartal Doktor Kontrak (HDK) protest.

Mostly clad in black and carrying placards and posters, the participants started leaving their respective health facilities in unison at 11am.

Among the locations that saw a significant number of participants included the HKL, Sungai Buloh Hospital, Shah Alam Hospital, Malacca Hospital, Penang Hospital, Serdang Hospital, Selayang Hospital, Ampang Hospital, Putrajaya Hospital, Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kota Kinabalu, Raja Perempuan Zainab Hospital in Kota Baru, Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital in Ipoh and Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital in Klang.

However, at the Covid-19 quarantine centre at Maeps, Serdang, doctors decided to cancel the proposed walkout when threatened with police arrest.

Members of the media were also informed that only the Jabatan Penerangan Negeri Selangor was allowed to "cover" the event and even official media such as RTM and Bernama were barred.

Sungai Buloh Hospital

Government junior contract doctors face the risk of losing their job after the end of their five-year training at government hospitals.

The HDK had said that being on contract also means that they do not receive certain perks compared to their colleagues in permanent positions, including equal opportunity to further their career into specialisations.

Last Friday, the government offered to extend their contracts for up to four years but stopped short of offering permanent positions.

However, it promised to ensure similar perks with permanent doctors.

HDK described this as "half-cooked" and "sugarcoating". It vowed to continue with the plan to hold a strike.

The organisers outlined procedures to ensure that the care of hospital patients will not be jeopardised in any way.

Among others, HDK's guidelines for participants assigned to critical care departments state that they should only walk out at 11am after "pass-over" or transfer of duties to the permanent doctor on duty. - Mkini

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