Some 30 contract doctors walked out in a group as a sign of protest at Hospital Raja Permaisuri Bainun (HRPB) Ipoh today (July 26).
The group was seen walking out from the hospital’s main lobby and traveled around 20m before entering the emergency unit entrance.
The media’s observation saw the group showing their solidarity for less than five minutes.
However, reporters were only allowed to observe from a distance and were prohibited from entering the hospital’s premises.
Earlier, it was reported that contract doctors around the country will be engaging in an 11am hartal (mass protest) today (July 26) by walking out of health facilities under the Ministry of Health (MOH)’s supervision.
In a statement detailing the national Contract Doctors’ Hartal, the protest was jointly agreed upon by contract doctors in Malaysia.
It added, the protest will be done based on three conditions, in which contract doctors under the non-critical category are to gather in a group with full SOP adherence and massively walk out through each hospital’s main lobby.
Apart from HRPB, other hospitals reported to be involved in the hartal in Perak are Hospital Taiping, among those in other states.
The Director-General of Health, Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, in a Facebook post dated yesterday (July 25), discouraged contract doctors from joining the protest and abandoning duties to patients.
“While we understand that you wish to continue serving the ministry in a permanent post, currently the government has announced a two-year 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.
“Meanwhile, the government will allow those in contract position to continue their masters even in contract position and will offer the permanent EPF position once made available.
“I wish to remind all that patient’s safety is our priority. Remember the oath we took sincerely and be there for your patients at the time when they and (the) country need you the most.
We are the last bastion of defence to make a difference to our patients and every life matters,” he elaborated.