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Contract medical officers' strike: What is it all about?

KINIGUIDE | This instalment of KiniGuide looks at the problems faced by contract medical officers in the public health sector and their recent call to strike.

When did the problems start?

The contract system for medical doctors was introduced in December 2016 as a plan to address the glut of medical graduates in Malaysia.

These graduates were offered a five-year contract, starting with three years of housemanship and two years as junior medical officers.

Medical graduates returning from overseas and already completed their housemanship abroad are offered a two-year contract as medical officers.

The contract appointments allow the government to bypass restrictions under the Public Service Department for permanent positions and hire more medical graduates.

Why is there an oversupply of medical graduates?

Former Malaysian Medical Association president Dr Ashok Phillip said the problem could be traced even further back to about two decades ago when the government attempted to increase the supply of doctors by awarding licences to operate medical colleges.

The government, however, did not build enough training hospitals or increase the number of permanent positions for medical and dental officers...

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