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Malaysian Doctors Protest Despite Being Warned Not To

Malaysian Doctors Protest Despite Being Warned Not To

Over 20,000 doctors are estimated to be joining the protest nationwide.

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Spirits are high today (26 July) as Malaysian doctors assemble for the #HartalDocktorKontrak protest at public hospitals nationwide.

The protest, which started at 11 am, involved a mass ‘walk-out’ from duty by medical, dental, and pharmaceutical medical officers (MO) working under contract with the government.

Among their demands are better working conditions and improvements to the country’s healthcare system.

Read More: Why Are Malaysian Doctors Planning To Go On Strike?

Protestors dressed in black were seen gathered in numbers outside of hospitals across the country with journalists there to capture the scenes.

Streams of support for the hartal were also coming in from cyberspace as netizens lent their social media presence in solidarity with the movement.

More than 20,000 doctors are estimated to join the strike.

Pleas and warnings

It’s understood that stakeholders within Malaysia’s healthcare system tried everything they could to discourage doctors from taking part in the protest.

Health Director-General Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah had yesterday reminded contract doctors of the oath which they had taken as doctors and public servants – pleading to his “junior colleagues” not to abandon their posts in protest.

He also said that the government needed more time to work on solutions for the issue.

The same was mentioned by the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) President Datuk Dr Subramaniam Muniandy who told medical professionals to remain calm and focus on their work.

He explained that the protests should not go on considering the dire state that the country was in because of the Covid-19 crisis.

Our colleagues in public healthcare have made it known to the public that the healthcare system is highly strained and in need of personnel support. As medical professionals, patient care should be our highest priority.

Datuk Dr Subramaniam Muniandy via New Straits Times.

A statement released by the Health Ministry (KKM) yesterday also warned doctors against taking part in protests.

It’s posting on social media said that disciplinary action can be taken against public servants who take part in illegal demonstrations.

No photo description available.
(Credit: @kementeriankesihatanmalaysia)

Malaysiakini also reported that over 20 warnings have been given out by senior staff against anyone joining the protest.

Under watch

Meanwhile, the police (PDRM) is also said to be keeping an eye on the protest.

Police Inspector-General Datuk Seri Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani said that PDRM will send officers to observe and ensure that Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOP) are followed.

Additionally, Bukit Aman Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Director Datuk Seri Abd Jalil Hassan told Sinar Harian that authorities would be investigating the protest.

The walk-out

The #HartalDocktorKontrak movement has set up several rules for protesters taking part in the walk-out, including for doctors to only join if another MO can take over their duties, and to return to their stations immediately if needed.

Protestors were also encouraged to take pictures and videos of themselves holding up placards and signs in a show of solidarity if they are unable to leave their posts.

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