Groups of contract doctors in several major hospitals today delivered on their promise to stage a walkout as part of the Hartal Doktor Kontrak strike. The demands of the strike include for a fair career path and for contract doctors to be offered the same benefits as medical officers in permanent positions, among others.
According to Malaysiakini, government contract doctors at around 15 to 20 hospitals carried out the strike. The news portal also reported that at least several hundred, if not thousands, turned up despite their superiors threatening to take disciplinary action against those who participated in the protest.
Mostly clad in black and carrying placards and posters, the participants started leaving their respective health facilities in unison at 11 am.
Among the locations that saw a significant number of participants included the Kuala Lumpur Hospital, 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.
Doctors at Sg Buloh Hospital who were trying to talk to the media were also interrupted and told to disperse by the police.
— Ravin Palanisamy (@RavinP_69) July 26, 2021
Meanwhile, doctors who joined the movement in Kuala Lumpur Hospital will be under police investigation for violating standard operating procedures outlined in the lockdown rules, according to The Vibes.
Dang Wangi police chief Mohamad Zainal Abdullah said this is because “during the movement control order period no one is allowed to gather”.
“No one is allowed to gather or take part in any assembly at any place for any reason – be it religious, social, sports, wedding, or cultural reasons – without permission from the health director-general. This is stipulated in Rule 10 of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Regulations 2021,” he said in a statement.
On social media, netizens expressed solidarity towards the movement with the hashtag, #HartalDoktorKontrak, take a look:
What #HartalDoktorKontrak is NOT
doctors VS patients
doctors VS staff nurses, MAs
young doctors VS senior doctors
contract MOs VS MMA
What we actually are:
frontliners VS policy makers yang mempermainkan masa hadapan kami dan negara! Sibuk merebut kuasa macam takde akhirat!
— acik (@syaaazami) July 26, 2021
My Mom is warded with Stage 4 COVID-and every single doctor on call has been nothing but kind, caring and a source of comfort each time we’re in touch.
Our doctors DESERVE SECURITY, esp. amidst pandemic management. They deserve it anyway. In solidarity with #HartalDoktorKontrak
— Tehmina Kaoosji (@TehminaKaoosji) July 26, 2021
My heart goes to all these overworked, underpaid, exploited doctors 😭😭😭 i could never imagine being in your position. You have been so strong carrying the weight of the nation on your shoulders, thank you, thank you, thank you. We are behind you. #HartalDoktorKontrak https://t.co/bUhuXrS8AJ
— A. Yelena 🏴 (@aidarshd) July 26, 2021
If you’re still clueless as to what the movement is about, here’s a simple explanation thread by youth-group MISI: Solidarity on Twitter…
1/ In times of a covid-19 crisis, many are puzzled as to why doctors are choosing to go on a strike today by conducting a mass walkout at their respective hospitals.
— MISI: Solidariti (@MSolidariti) July 26, 2021