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No magic wand but I'm committed to resolve contract doctors' woes, says Health minister

Publish date: Sun, 02 Apr 2023, 06:00 PM

KUALA LUMPUR: Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa hit the ground running to resolve the long standing issues involving contract doctors as she and the newly set up high level committee (HLC) identify viable solutions to the woes.

The minister said she would need time to tackle the contract doctors' problems, but no one should doubt her commitment.

"I am a medical doctor myself and I am trying my level best to solve it. Am I not serious to solve it if I bring this up to the Cabinet level?

"I do not hold a magic stick to solve things in seconds. No one has," she told the New Straits Times.

Dr Zaliha said the HLC would comprise several key ministries and government agencies, adding that she would further discuss its setup with Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Zuki Ali.

"(The HLC members) are certainly the Health Ministry, Public Service Department, Finance Ministry and Higher Education Ministry. Perhaps, the Economic Minister needs to be roped in as well."

Dr Zaliha yesterday said the cabinet had on Friday agreed to set up the HLC, made up of representatives from several ministries and agencies including Mohd Zuki, to deal with the contract doctors' issues.

She said the ministry was aware that the issue had been long standing and was passed on to her by the previous government since the contract doctors scheme was introduced in 2016 following the oversupply of doctors then.

The ministry, she added, had resolved several issues over the period, such as creating permanent positions, sponsoring specialists training, time based promotions, special grade promotions and creating the UD56 grade for medical specialists.

Asked on the planned three-day strike called Mogok Doktor Kontrak from tomorrow, Dr Zaliha said the ministry's Integrity Unit had posted on social media a circular by the Public Service Department director-general barring civil officers from participating in illegal gatherings or they would face disciplinary action.

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