Well,  one medical college may finally be closed down. A college up north which use to promote itself as the only medical college in the world with 5 medical programs may finally close it’s doors for students. Over the last few months, news appeared in mainstream newspapers that many of their staff has left due to non-payment of salaries. The latest appeared on 9/09/2014. I had written several times about this college which was facing huge financial difficulties, over HERE, HERE and HERE.  It started with the withdrawal of the twinning partners, which automatically removed 3 of its medical programs. It was left with 2 medical programs, one of its own and a UKM degree. As I wrote in August, UKM absorbed all the MD UKM students from this college.

Thus, students from their own program and the remaining USU twinning students were left in the limbo. I received many emails from students and parents asking me what to do. Most students were already planning to do credit transfer to other medical schools but majority of them may need to repeat a year or so. I had a tough time giving them a solution. The best solution I could give the students is to get out of the college. They were not getting any training either. It is better to move on rather than waiting for the college’s decision. As for the parents, I asked them to get together and lodge a complain to MMC, MOE etc. I think the parents did do something about it.

ON 29/09/2014, a meeting was held between the students, MOE, MMC and representatives from other colleges. The students were given a choice to transfer to some of the other colleges namely CUCMS, UCSI, MAHSA etc. They were given just 1-2 days to decide! Interestingly, CUCMS has agreed to take ALL students into their campus without the need to do any repeat semester! I am not sure whether this has been approved by MMC.  I am sure you are aware that CUCMS was derecognised by MMC in 2011 as they took in more students than what was allowed by MMC. Based on the current MMC list, it is rather confusing whether CUCMS is still recognised or not.

While I pity the students and at the same time feel happy that at least they got a solution at hand, I believe that all these could have been avoided if our society had done some research before putting their foot into something big. I know many had financial issues but still interested to do medicine. Thus, the generous “scholarship” that was given by this college attracted many middle-income families. I am sure many will be left with HUGE amount of loans! It may take a lifetime to settle their loans and will forever be in debt! I remember giving warnings to many students who seeked my advise to enter this college. However, students being students, they will never listen to advise given by a doctor who supposedly discourages people from doing medicine! They rather listen to the marketing guy from the college! I never discouraged anyone. I am merely stating the facts and the only advise I had always given is, not to do medicine for wrong reasons. Whatever I had said all this while is becoming a reality one after another!

If only they had listened to my advise, they could have avoided all these mess. Interestingly, after all this fiasco involving this college, I still had emails from students who have been offered a place to do medicine for September intake, asking me what they should do? I do not know whether to laugh or cry! Sometimes I am just dumbfounded with the type of questions I get from the current generation of students. Why walk into a sinking ship? Sometimes, I feel that many parents and students just want the degree MD or MBBS at the back of their name. They don’t care whether they are going to receive any training or not. They may very well walk out with a “license to kill”!

Both their own MD program and MD UKM program is still being listed in their website . But if you notice the comment section, the last comment was dated 30/08/2014! Probably, no one is running their website after the date.

This could be a blessing in disguise. With MOH struggling to give housemanship to graduates, the closure of some of the medical schools may very well be a good blessing. The waiting time is now getting close to 6 months! UNIMAS graduates in June will be only starting their housemanship in December 2014. I heard graduates from Russia who came back in June and attended interview in mid August are yet to get any date of employment! AND for those who listened to our latest 2015 Budget last friday, it is very clear that our government is running out of money! NO new hospitals were mentioned, no salary revision for civil servants and ministers. Basically, there were nothing much in that budget. There were some mention about increasing 1Malaysia clinic (which are shop lots BTW) and few new KKs will be built. I also heard that MOs will be sent to all 1Malaysia clinics as ALL the KKs are congested with MOs.

May GOD bless this country……………, BTW, looking at direction the country is taking, it does not look good!





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IN my last Post, I mentioned a little about the increasing waiting period for Housemanship. Over the last week, I received few more information regarding this “waiting” period. I was informed that the UKM, IMU graduates had to wait for 4 months to get their postings, UCSI took 5 months and PMC graduates are still waiting for their posting since June 2014. I was told that some will get their posting in October and some may need to wait even longer. So, guys, it is time to start the waiting game for your housemanship…………..

Today, a JPA scholar wrote to the Star regarding this issue. Surprisingly, being a JPA scholar does not seem to have any advantage when it comes to housemanship posting. However, the only guarantee that they may have is that the government MUST provide them with a job since they are bonded. From the letter, we can see that he has been given a job in civil service but it is the posting that is being delayed. The posting is done by Ministry of Health. Unfortunately, the situation seem to be getting rather critical in MOH.

MOH just released their Health facts 2014, which summarises the health situation of the country for 2013. I use to write this under ” The Writing is on the wall” series over the last 2 years. One thing is for sure, we are 3 years ahead of our target. The initial plan for our “quantity” government is to achieve a doctor:population ratio of 1: 600 in 2016 and 1: 400 by 2020. Unfortunately due to our generous medical school licensing “program”, with close to 33 medical schools and thousands more returning from overseas, we have already achieved a ratio of 1: 633 last year!! BRAVO !Based on MMC report, we had 4472 new doctors doing housemanship for the year 2013. The numbers will continue to increase as 50% of the 33 medical schools are starting to produce graduates from this year onwards till 2016. As I predicted almost 5 years ago, the number will hit 6-7000 by 2017. I wonder how MOH going to deal with this number, by then.

As of 31st December 2013, we have 46 916 doctors with 75% (35 219) in government service. ONLY 25% are in private sector! This is total opposite to what it use to be 10 years ago. WE only have 141 government hospitals in this country, not all of them are housemanship training hospitals. So, where are these graduates going to be dumped to do their housemanship? That’s the reason why the waiting list is being created.  Until the government introduces a common entry exam, they have to provide Housemanship training for all. The waiting time will only get longer from now onwards.

There is another problem coming soon. The MO post are also getting saturated. What will happen then? I was informed that soon, Housemanship may only be given on contract basis. Upon completion of your housemanship, you need to reapply for a permanent MO post in civil service. There is no guarantee that you will get a job. Compulsory service may be removed. You can be sent anywhere where the post in available. You can’t be choosy anymore. This in turn will reduce the issue of maldistribution of doctors in this country.

AS what the Minister said last month, we are heading for a complete restructuring of our healthcare system. Once our hospitals are corporatised, every graduate have to apply for a job to the respective corporate hospital. It is no more a civil service employment. It is also no more a permanent and guaranteed job. Many countries practices the same system. IT is also a way to get rid of the “non functioning” doctors in the system. Only those who are genuinely interested to work as a doctor and competent enough should be given a job.

Back to the letter below, since you are bonded, unlikely you will be released. That’s the reason why JPA has stopped sponsoring students for medicine. It is interesting to note that she gave the answers to her own query!

So, the waiting game continues………………………..


Give JPA scholars postings or free them
MY nephew is a Public Service Department (JPA) medical scholar. He came back in the middle of July.

He attended the JPA interview in early August and was given a job offer letter but until now he is still waiting for his posting. He and his friends called JPA to ask when will they get their postings and the answer they got is to wait till December 2014, if not early 2015 – another two months or later!

I am wondering why the Government spent hundreds of thousands of ringgit sending them to study overseas and yet keep them waiting doing nothing for months.

These scholars came back to Malaysia to honour their contracts to serve the Government.

There are two reasons I can think of why the Government cannot post them as soon as possible:

1) All the Government hospitals are loaded with doctors.

2) The Government cannot afford to pay them.

If either of the above is correct, then the Government should release them from their contract so that they can get to practise their profession in other countries where they will be grabbed.

I hope the authority will look into this matter seriously.


Alor Setar

Over the last 5 years, I had written many times regarding degree recognition, quality of medical educations and pathways to specialisation. Unfortunately, I get asked these questions again and again from budding doctors as well as parents. Sometimes, I wonder whether our society even reads or does any research before asking these questions. Sometimes I do get irritated and thus some sarcastic remarks had to be made! I felt I should write these issues once again for the last time!

As I have said many times before, medicine is rather unique in the sense that just because you have a MBBS/MD degree, it does NOT mean you can work anywhere in this world. Every country has their own way of recognising medical degrees. IF your degree is NOT recognised by the medical council of the respective country, you will NOT be able to work in that particular country, as a doctor. You need to sit and pass their entrance exam conducted by their medical council in order to be eligible to be registered. However, eligibility of registration is NOT equal to getting an employment. Also please do not forget that these entrance exams are NOT cheap and not easy either. Despite spending huge amount of money, you may end up going nowhere. That’s the reason I keep saying that if you intend to migrate, never do medicine!

UK has the PLAB exams for those who graduate from any university outside UK, Australia has AMC exams and US has USMLE exams (which all their graduates need to sit). Unfortunately, to get a job in UK is becoming almost impossible due to their immigration laws where their citizens and EU citizens are given priority. You will be at the bottom of the list. Even if you do your degree in Newcastle Malaysia, the same rule applies except the fact you do not need to sit for PLAB exams. If you do not get internship in UK, you will not get GMC registration. FYI, UK is having the same problem as Australia in the number of internship post. Both these countries are only able to provide internship to those who graduated from their own local universities. I know quite a number of Malaysians who had passed AMC exams but yet to get a placement in Australia. In US, the situation does not look that rosy either. A recent report suggest that for the first time, there are more applicants than post for residency training.  Thus, even their own graduates are unable to get residency post of their choice and need to wait for next year’s intake. Your chances may be better if you choose the non-popular residency post. Meanwhile, Ireland Medical Council has now recognised housemanship training in Malaysia. You are eligible for general registration after housemanship completion in Malaysia without the need to sit for PRES examination. However, I am not sure whether your undergraduate degree have any role to play. Unfortunately, Ireland is not the best place to work currently due to their economic situation. As for Malaysian degrees, only UM/UKM is recognised in Singapore and Monash in Australia/NZ.

The situation in Malaysia is not that great either. I first started to write about possible over-supply of doctors almost 10 years ago when they started to approve too many medical schools (33 in total with 36 medical programs at least). Many were in denial including our politicians, MOH and MMA. I was labelled with all kind of nasty name calling. Fortunately, as I predicted the problem has now surfaced publicly. In 2011, after much denial, the government issued a moratorium for new medical schools. At the same time, MMC came up with the Minimum Entry Criteria. While I disagree that SPM should be used as the main criteria, MMC had no choice as in the name of education hub, we have just too many Pre-U courses conducted by various colleges.  I still feel that MMC should only allow medical school entry based on well established Pre-U courses like STPM, Matriculation, A -level, IB etc. I strongly do not agree that Foundation courses should be used as the Pre-U entry course. It is not a standardised exam as it is conducted and marked by the respective colleges. I have heard enough stories!

MMC has also made it very clear that those who go to unrecognised medical colleges overseas without minimum entry qualifications will NOT be able to sit for MQE exams. So, for those who are doing medicine in unrecognised universities without minimum qualifications, please look at other options. Please be also warned that MQA accreditation is NOT the same as MMC accreditation. For medicine, only MMC accreditation matters. 2 years ago, I remember of  students being offered scholarship to do medicine in CUBA. This is despite the fact that none of the degree from Cuba is recognised by MMC but many were not aware. Recently, it appeared in the news.  Students who had graduated and returned to the country last month are now required to sit and pass the MQE examinations. IN response, MMC said that they are reviewing ALL recognised medical schools and may reduce the numbers further (see below). 

With the mushrooming of medical schools (the highest per capita population in the world), quality became an issue. Recently, MMA president claimed that close to 20% of medical graduates do not have enough qualifications to do medicine. He was referring to many graduates from overseas universities especially from Russia, Indonesia, Egypt etc. I had written about this before especially over HERE. However, local university graduates are not that great either. Many of the medical schools do not have enough academics and dependent on foreigners from Myanmar, India etc. I am not saying that they are not good but the health care system in those countries are different from ours. The very fact that we are dependent on foreign academics tells us that we are NOT ready to have so many medical schools, in the first place. Despite low number of academics, the medical school need to take at least 100-150 students to make profit and get their return of investment. That was the reason why MMC came up with the criteria, as many of them were taking students with low quality by using their own foundation programs. The quality of training after graduation is another issue all together which I had written many times before. The shift system with poor supervision has made it go from bad to worst! We are going to be seeing a lot of THIS type of stories soon!

With the introduction of the minimum criteria, many private medical colleges started to find it difficult to recruit enough students since 2011. This is causing financial problems for some medical colleges. JPA has also stopped sponsoring students for medicine over the last 2 years. First they stopped sponsoring students overseas except for the top 50 students or so. Recently, I heard, JPA has also stopped sending students for medicine to some if not all the private medical schools. Even for public universities, JPA is no more a guaranteed scholarship. I was informed that as of last year, there are NO MORE JPA sponsored students in PMC. This has reduced their intake for this year to only 65 students! This has also prompted the university to reduce their entry requirement (ATAR 80 for 6 years program), including taking UEC students and recruiting foreign students from middle east countries. If not, they will not be able to survive. Ironically, MARA is still sponsoring students for medical studies both locally and overseas! So far, I have not heard of any instruction from MOE to reduce the intake of medical students into private medical schools. However, I feel some of these schools may undergo a slow death like what is happening to THIS college.  I heard this college is working out some agreement with CUCMS. However, I find it interesting that based on the latest MMC LIST, CUCMS only recognised till 12/2012? .  It is rather confusing.

MOH is also finding it difficult to accommodate housemanship posting for graduates. I heard local public university graduates had to wait close to 3 months for appointments (use to be only 1 month). Private universities seem to be taking longer. I heard some PMC students who graduated in May 2014 with interview conducted in the university itself , are yet to be posted for housemanship. Some are getting the posting for October intake and some may still need to wait longer. So, the waiting list is getting longer. I heard some MARA sponsored students have applied for housemanship in Ireland and manage to get it.  Remember, 50% of the 33 medical schools will only start to produce their graduates starting from this year till 2016. So, what the situation will be like, by 2016?

I have a feeling that MMC/MOH may not have any choice but to introduce some sort of entry or exit exams. Even the MO post are becoming full and many are being posted to East Malaysia. Klinik Kesihatans are being filled to the brink with some small KKs in a rural districts have close to 9-10 MOs now!

Finally, if your degree is NOT recognised in another country, you will not be able to do your postgraduate degree/specialist training overseas. This is because, you will not be able to get a job. Specialist training in medicine is FULL TIME working and PART TIME studying. I get asked this question repeatedly! However, you can go for a short attachment on temporary registration,  for training purposes. Generally, no salary will be paid for such attachments. If you have MRCP/MRCS/MRCOG etc, you may be able to get a job in Singapore as a MO/registra.


MMC to review all foreign medical schools
Posted on 17 September 2014 – 09:32pm

Karen Arukesamy

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) is reviewing the accreditation of all foreign medical schools with a view to reducing the number of such recognised overseas institutions.

Director-General of Health Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, who is also MMC chairman, said the council is not recognising more foreign medical schools.

“We are cutting the number of recognised universities abroad,” he said when asked to comment on theSun’s page one report today highlighting the plight of medical graduates from a Cuban scholarship programme whose degrees have not been recognised.

“Many universities, including from Australia, have applied for recognition but we are not considering at the moment,” he told theSun today.

According to the MMC website, aside from 29 Malaysian medical schools which are accredited, MMC has recognised medical degrees from 375 overseas medical schools in 34 countries, including Myanmar, Czech Republic, Sri Lanka, Iraq, Russia and Ukraine.

While he declined comment as to why MMC had yet to respond to Cuba’s application for recognition for its medical programmes since 2007, Noor Hisham said medical graduates from Cuba will have to sit for the Medical Qualifying Examination (MQE).

Four students from the first batch of Malaysians sent there in 2007 under a Cuban scholarship programme who returned here on Sept 4, have been told to enrol for a six-month course which costs RM25,000 in a local universities, prior to sitting for the MQE.

However, there is no guarantee that the local universities will accept these students for the programme, without which they cannot sit for MQE.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam said the ministry has also frozen all new applications to set up private medical colleges in the country as there are many recognised medical colleges for Malaysians.

An MMC source said it had stopped accepting new applications for medical universities since the beginning of 2013.

As to the recognition of Cuban medical degrees in Malaysia, Subramaniam said if there is an update, the ministry would notify the Cuban embassy.


Well, the circus has finally ended. In my last article I wrote that something is not right about the magic number of 418. The number simply do not tally with the number of public medical schools. Following the ridiculous statement by a Deputy Education Minister, not only MMC but even MOH as well as the Minister of Education (2) came out with interesting statements denying that MOH or MOE gave any instructions to reduce intake of medical students! This is truly a Bolehland!

While MMC made a press statement saying that they never instructed the universities to reduce their intake, Minister of Education(2) said that the quota was set by MMC !! The circus was really going wild. After close to 2 weeks of entertainment, finally it is out. As I predicted, the number 418 was only the intake via UPU (STPM and Matriculation). Another 501 was taken in directly by universities via Asasi etc, making a total of 919. Another 100 intake will follow  after a “directive” from cabinet. So, the total intake will be 1019. University Malaya’s intake this year was 124, out of which ONLY 50 were taken via UPU. The rest (74) were from their own asasi program.

It looks like our Ministers/Deputy Ministers simply do not know what they are talking about. Our Education Minister aka DPM says that all university graduates need to pass an English test to graduate. I wonder what MUET is for ? As far as I know, all university students will have to sit and pass MUET exams. Sometimes I wonder whether they are simply reading a script written by someone else or are they really that *****d! Unfortunately, there is no such thing as apologising or taking responsibility, among our politicians.

Personally I do not agree that public university should cut down their intake. The government should ask the private universities to reduce their intake or close down the below par universities. From the information I received, there were no such instructions given to private universities. Frankly, a private university would not be able to sustain a medical school economically if the intake is below 100-150. They will never make profit or even get their return of investment. Since the introduction of the MMC’s minimum entry requirement in 2011, the number of students enrolled into private medical schools had reduced drastically over the last 3 years.

However, there is still a question on those who go overseas for medical education without the minimum requirement. I have a strong feeling that MOH/MMC may not provide you with a job upon your return as the number of post will be limited OR there may be a common entrance exam.  Let’s wait and see what happens.

The entire fiasco started due to poor planning almost 10 years ago. Now, the good students have to suffer. However, I still feel that it is not enough to reverse the situation within the next 5 years. Oversupply will happen and waiting list will have to be created. WE should also not forget that the Malaysian Healthcare system may soon undergo a major restructuring after GST is in force. Our Health Minister has already made the statement last month(see below). Once the hospitals are corporatised, jobs will never be guaranteed and it will be on contract basis!



Health services poised for radical overhaul, minister


PETALING JAYA , AUG 17 — In what could prove to be a controversial move, the government is looking to have a mixed source of financing to merge public and private healthcare delivery services.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said this would be done through a single non-profit public third party payer.

He, however, did not elaborate on the plan that was announced during his keynote address during the Apec high level meeting on health and economy in Beijing.

Dr Subramaniam said besides fostering a greater public-private partnership, the government is also drafting a health transformation agenda that took into consideration the country’s challenges and needs.

He said that in the future, the functions of the ministry would be concentrated on stewardship and policy making, governance, public health services, research and training.

“Service delivery will be devolved to enhance responsiveness and flexibility in a more competitive integrated environment,” he said in the speech.
The last time the subject of a healthcare financing scheme surfaced was more than two years ago with the proposed 1Care for 1Malaysia. The criticisms that followed saw a road-show being organised to gather public feedback to draw up a blueprint.

The idea was first mooted more than 30 years ago and there were two attempts previously, with 1Care encompassing three components: transforming service delivery, financing and organisational transformation.

However, as in the past, it was the financing bit that had people riled up although the ministry at the time insisted that nothing was cast in stone.

More recently, the ministry’s director-general Datuk Seri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said under Health Transformation, the concept was to strengthen existing services and integrate the public and private health sectors.

Dr Subramaniam said the ministry was reviewing the treatment fees for foreigners to eventually cover actual costs.

“This may also help shift some workload to private hospitals regarding foreign workers who have employment-based health insurance,” he said.

He said a key focus was to strengthen primary healthcare as the population and current system did not foster the development of family doctors to manage the health needs of the individual over their lifetime.

“Malaysians are more likely to go doctor-hopping and there is an over-focus on curative care,” he said.

“This situation is far less effective to tackle long-term chronic illnesses.”

Dr Subramaniam said in the future, Malaysians would have their own family doctor to manage their health needs from womb to tomb.

He said this was to manage health issues better by having a long-term relationship between the healthcare giver and recipient.

- See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/health-services-poised-for-radical-overhaul-minister#sthash.fczIcESC.dpuf

Every year, around this time, there will be hue and cry in the medias by politicians regarding failure of top students getting into critical fields in local public universities. At the top of the list will always be medicine. However, this year, there was a big twist to the story! Few days after some young students revealed that they failed to get into medical course in local public university despite scoring 4As etc, one of our great politician came with one of the best statements of all time. He claimed that only 418 students were offered medical course this year to avoid oversupply of doctors !!

While he admits that we are heading to that direction, the statement did not make any sense to most of us. The figure 418 simply do not tally. There are 11 IPTAs offering 13 medical programs in this country. IT is VERY UNLIKELY that each university only took 50 students on average!! I was informed that UM only wanted to take 120 students this year as the intention is to make UM as a premier university for medicine. I contacted some of my friends from the universities and I was told that the figure is likely only for the STPM/ Matriculation intake. It did not include asasi students intake. It was interesting to note that in his statement, he said that this reduction in numbers were made after consultation with MMC and MOH (see below).

Interestingly, today I received a press statement issued by our DG aka Chairman of MMC denying the fact that such a decision/directive was made/given by MMC/MOH (see below). So, someone is talking nonsense as usual.

If at all the government wants to reduce the number of graduates, I feel it should start from the private colleges and NOT the public universities. Public university intakes should be maintained and should be allocated to the best students who have genuine interest in medicine. Unfortunately, private universities are a business and the government cannot close down businesses!!

Whatever it is, the number 418 still remains a mystery……………………. By early next month, hopefully I will be receiving further info on the exact number of students who were accepted into some of the public universities.


Limited Offers To Study Medicine To Prevent Flood Of Doctors – Kamalanathan

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 18 (Bernama) — The government has offered places to only 418 brilliant students to take up medical studies (first degree) at public institutions of higher learning for this year’s intake.

Deputy Education Minister P.Kamalanathan said the limited number of offers was meant to control the number of new medical graduates and avoid a flood of new doctors in the employment market.

“A total of 1,163 students with a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 4.00 applied to do medicine, but offers were only made to only 418 of them and the selection was also based on interview results.

We made this decision following discussions with the Health Ministry and the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC),” he told reporters here today.

He said the others who were not offered medical studies were offered other courses, but related to the field.

He said this in response to complaints by students with CGPA of 4.0 in the Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM) and matriculation who failed to get offer to study medicine.

Kamalanathan advised those who failed to get places at IPTA to appeal to the Education Ministry online at upu.moe.gov.my before Aug 23.

“A total of 37,467 students have received offers at IPTA, there might be some students who are not happy with their course.

“For them I suggest they accept the course and register first, then put appeal in writing directly to the university concerned,” he added.

The ministry, he said, made sure that all students with CGPA of 4.00 received offers at IPTA for the 2014/2015 academic session.



Press Statement MMC : No directive to reduce intake of medical students
Posted on August 23, 2014 by pejabatkpk


1. I refer to the article published in the New Straits Times, on the 19 August 2014, Page 9 – “Drop in intake for medical degrees”

2. The Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) would like to clarify that all accredited medical schools in Malaysia have been given approval for a specific quota in terms of number of students to be enrolled every academic year. The quota is determined by their teaching capacity, and takes into consideration among others the lecturers to student ratio, and also the students to hospital beds ratio to ensure that students get adequate clinical teaching.

3. For the public medical schools in Malaysia the total size of the approved quota is 1,550 student intake annually, and is distributed among the 11 Public Universities with 13 medical programs (UM 180, UKM 200, USM 300, UPM 100, UNIMAS 120, UIA 140, UMS 90, UiTM 230, USIM 80, UNIZA 60, UPNM 50). The approved quota was decided based on their ability to comply with the accreditation guidelines for medical programmes.

4. MMC has never give any directive to any of the public universities/public medical schools to reduce their intake of the medical students. They are free to enroll the students in accordance with the quota approved for them, provided they are in compliance with the accreditation guidelines mentioned above, especially in relation to the students lecturer ratio and also the ratio of students to the hospital beds.

5. The issue of oversupply does not arise as long as the public universities comply with the approved quotas and the accreditation requirements, which is important in ensuring the quality of medical graduates so that patients are provided safe and quality care.

Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah
Malaysian Medical Council

23 August 2014

I never thought I can write my Part 5 in just 2 days! Over the last few months, I have been hearing news from reliable sources that Johns Hopkins may pull out of Perdana University and negotiations are going on, to salvage the joint venture. However, till it is official, I can’t write anything as they can sue me if I am wrong. Alas today, the verdict is OUT. JH has made official announcement that they are breaking all ties with Perdana University as reported over HERE (below).

When the program was first initiated in 2010, I was sceptical as usual. I wrote about it over here and here. I felt that probably JH was not given the true picture of our health care system. I heard the radio interview given by PUGSOM CEO and I can very well say that he is not aware of the healthcare structure of this country. The healthcare system of US and Malaysia are totally different. I received many emails from budding students who were offered “special” JPA scholarship to study at PUGSOM. It was worth RM 1 million per student! Since it is a graduate medical school, generally most students are matured students. The students were told that they will have their own teaching hospital(private hospital) by 2014 and they will even do their residency style training programme in this hospital, upon graduation. Again, I advised these students not to believe on these unless and until it happens. Building a hospital is not like building a shopping complex! Till today, their main campus and the hospital has not even started construction! I had written about this over HERE.

So far, 3 batches has been recruited into PUGSOM. The first batch suppose to graduate next year. Their training is mainly in HKL. Based on the statement given by JH, it looks like it is all about money and late payment. What interest me more is the reply from PUGSOM that was published later today(see below).

It looks like both of them are now fighting about who paid and who requested more! It is all about doing business and making profit. No private entity will survive without making profit. This was a private-public partnership project under the PM’s department. That’s the reason the “special” scholarship program was initiated to help fund the project via JPA. If not, who will even consider paying RM 1 million and RM 800K for their programs which are both a local degree with no international recognition. Right from the beginning , JH has made it very clear that it is NOT a JH degree but Perdana University degree.

Well, “nasi sudah menjadi bubur”. This break-up is a bad publicity for the country and government. Unfortunately, we have a lot of half-baked politicians who do not know what they are talking about. I still remember the headline made by our PM when this JH-Perdana collaboration was announced (HERE). I was laughing my head off!

I feel sad for the students. I was told that they will continue with their program till they graduate. BUT from the statement made by JH, it looks like they are pulling out their curriculum and their academics from the university. Thus, I am not sure which curriculum will Perdana use at the moment. Even though Perdana University statement says that they have signed another new partner, it will take time for all the formalities to take place. So, I got no idea what are the students going to do meanwhile.

Well, one by one medical schools are falling down. AUCMS with 5 medical programs left with only 1. I heard many of the smaller medical schools are struggling to survive as they are still making a loss. Hopefully, it is all a blessing in disguise!



Top US medical school cuts ties with Perdana U over money


Published: 18 August 2014
After a four-year alliance, the world-renowned Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine has pulled out of Malaysia’s Perdana University Graduate School of Medicine (Pugsom), citing frequent late payments as the reason.

The American medical school said it made the “difficult decision” of ending the partnership in Pugsom – Malaysia’s first private teaching hospital with research facilities – because payments to Johns Hopkins under the contract were often late, adding that payments were 12 months overdue when the partnership was terminated last month.

“It was our honour and privilege to help create a new model for medical education in Malaysia by providing guidance and advice to Pugsom and by assisting in teaching and in the initiation of the school,” its director of marketing and communications, Lindsay R Rothstein, told The Malaysian Insider in an email.

However, we reached the difficult decision to end the existing relationship because payments required under the agreement for the services provided by Johns Hopkins and its faculty were frequently received late and at the time the agreement was terminated, Johns Hopkins had not been paid for more than 12 months of work.”
Rothstein said the situation had become “untenable” but added that despite its disappointment over the outcome of the partnership, it would not close its doors on other international collaborations.

As of July 31, 2014, Johns Hopkins, its faculty and its curriculum are no longer associated with Pugsom. While we are deeply disappointed by this outcome, we hold firm to our belief that international collaborations such as this are critical to advancing our mission.”

Pugsom, established in 2010 under the initiative of the Academic Medical Centre Sdn Bhd (AMC), offered a four-year medical course in collaboration with John Hopkins, which reportedly cost RM800,000.

When Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced the partnership between Johns Hopkins and Malaysian and American investors in September 2010, he said the school would become a medical research hub in the region.

Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, who was then Health Minister, was reported as saying that the presence of the prestigious Johns Hopkins in Malaysia would boost the country’s health tourism industry.

The Public Services Department sponsored students enrolled in the Pugsom programme.

Johns Hopkins, meanwhile, said the official notice of its decision to end the partnership was sent to AMC on March 17 this year but it allowed the faculty to remain reaching until July 31 in the interest of students attending Pugsom.

Since the date of the notice on March 17, 2014, in order to protect the interests of the students attending Pugsom, Johns Hopkin voluntarily and at our own expense, allowed its faculty to remain teaching through July 31, 2014, and maintained other aspects of our presence at Pugsom,” Rothstein added.

Also during this timeframe, Johns Hopkins allowed the school to use the Johns Hopkins ‘Genes to Society’ curriculum and the ‘in Collaboration with Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine’ tag line.”

However, checks on the university’s website earlier this week showed that the Pugsom programme, along with the tagline of the collaboration with Johns Hopkins, was still being advertised.

Perdana University vice-chancellor Professor Datuk Dr Sothi Rachagan, when contacted, declined to comment but said that a statement would be issued.

Pugsom, which opened its doors in September 2011, is believed to currently have three batches of medical students. Its chancellor is Malaysia’s longest-serving prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

The campus is located at the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang (MAEPS) in Serdang. It was reported in 2011 that it would move to a 141-acre campus costing RM2.3 billion by 2014.

The new campus, also located in Serdang, is expected have its own 600-bed private teaching hospital. – August 18, 2014.

- See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/top-us-medical-school-cuts-ties-with-perdana-u-over-money#sthash.5PuRGIRm.dpuf



Press Release – 18th August 2014
We refer to the news report on the termination of the Perdana University relationship with Johns Hopkins effective 31st July 2014.

Perdana University is a wholly owned subsidiary of Academic Medical Centre Sdn Bhd (AMC).

AMC has to date paid a total of US$34.199 million to Johns Hopkins on account of Perdana University. US$5 million was paid towards the Swami Institute for International Medical Education established at Johns Hopkins University and a further US$29.199 million as part of the affiliation and collaboration agreement. The last payment made to John Hopkins was US$2 million on 7th May 2014.

AMC and Johns Hopkins are in dispute over whether any further sums are payable and the failure of Johns Hopkins to address the many grievances of AMC and Perdana University. The dispute will be resolved in accordance with the Affiliation and Collaboration Agreement with Johns Hopkins.

Perdana University has kept all relevant government agencies, the staff and students at Perdana University Graduate School of Medicine (PUGSOM) informed of the developments.

The 80 students enrolled with PUGSOM are entitled to their rights and this includes a teach-out on the terms on which they were admitted into the programme. Perdana University will ensure that the rights of the students are not in any way compromised.

PUGSOM is the first school in the country to offer the US style four year graduate entry programme.

PUGSOM continues to operate seamlessly with both foreign and local faculty with no disruption whatsoever from the departure of the three Johns Hopkins seconded staff.

PUGSOM will continue to exist and grow even further in collaboration with another leading top-tier US University, the identity of which will be announced jointly in due course in accordance with the disclosure terms in the agreement with the new partner that was signed on the 11th August 2014.

Perdana University wishes to reiterate that it continues to enjoy excellent relations with its other partner the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) which operates the five year PU-RCSI undergraduate medical programme. The degree is awarded directly by RCSI from Dublin. Besides this, Perdana University has been made the postgraduate examination centre for the MRCP Part 1 by the Royal College of Physicians in Ireland and MCAI MCQ by the College of Anaesthetists in Ireland.

Perdana University has within three years established the Perdana University School of Occupational Therapy (PUSCOT) to offer a BSc in Occupational Therapy and a School of Postgraduate Studies which offers a Postgraduate Diploma, Master’s and PHD in Bioinformatics and Translational Medicine. These initiatives have been enhanced by our partnership with the Beijing Genome Institute and the Asia Pacific Bioinformatics Network (APBioNet). The APBioNet has since funded the establishment of its office at Perdana University.

We have also signed an Agreement with United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and Zurich University of Applied Sciences to jointly offer a unique Master’s in International Trade Negotiations to commence in January next year.

Many other programmes and courses are being designed for the nation and other countries in Asia by our Faculty. The management aspires to make the University special and offer courses which are niche.

The University has attracted many Malaysians to return to serve the nation after having settled abroad. This is due to the excellent teaching and research opportunities that are made available to them at Perdana University.

Within three years the Faculty at Perdana University have published a large number of scientific and peer reviewed papers in international and local journals. One of our local Faculty won the Merdeka Award last year.

Perdana University will continue to grow even further and stronger with the separation from Johns Hopkins.

In May 2014, I wrote an article about the financial problems faced by one of the private medical college in this country. Three of the twinning universities had already pulled out. The one which was still going on was their own degree and UKM degree. Finally, the verdict is OUT. 

Early this week, I received an info from my friend in UKM that the AUCMS UKM program is in trouble. I heard that MMC likely will not accreditate the program and students will be in limbo.It will leave close to 300 students jobless. There was an emergency meeting between MOE and UKM to decide on the fate of these students. The D-Day was 15/08/2014. There were also government sponsored students in AUCMS.

Yesterday, UKM has decided to absorb all these students into their campus! UKM had to take the responsibility to what has happened. It was them who allowed an unknown university to run their program. Obviously, they would not want their reputation and degree to be badly affected. The students have to thank their lucky stars. If not, they would be left with no degree and no job!

Will UKM end up in trouble with this arrangements? I am not sure. MMC decides on the number of students that a university can take. I was given these numbers by one of the commentator in this blog:

Number of studdents in UKM (AUCMS in bracket):
Year 2: 163 (+110) = 273
Year 3: 215 + 48(UNPAD) + 75 (AUCMS) = 338
Year 4: 201 (+59) = 260
Year 5: 233 (+46) = 279

This is way off the figure that UKM can cope(especially Year 3). Would this lead to their degree being questioned especially by external bodies. Will Singapore Medical Council de-recognise UKM degree? How many parents will start making noise, in UKM accepting these students via “back door” when so many students could not get a place in local universities? Only time will tell.

This is one of the reason why I had always advised students to choose wisely. Please do not fall into the trap of entering a course which is yet to be accredited by MMC. It is a risk that you will have to take. By the time you realise, it might be too late. Many budding students came to this blog and emailed me about the generosity of some colleges giving them scholarship and loans to complete their study. I had always cautioned them. I had also always cautioned students on “unreliable info/promises” given by certain colleges. I write facts in this blog but many refuse to believe.

I read an interesting letter in Malaysia Insider yesterday (see below). It was written by a student who has questioned why JPA has stopped offering automatic scholarship to ALL medical students in public universities. Many years ago, all students were given JPA scholarship. It is up to you whether to accept it or not. Over the last 2-3 years, students were given an option between JPA scholarship and PTPTN loan. Based on this letter, JPA has stopped giving automatic scholarship. JPA has also stopped sending medical students overseas except for the top 50 students. However, MARA still sends students to do medicine overseas!! Ironic!

Is this a prelude to the fact that job is not guaranteed in the future? AS a JPA scholar, you will be bonded with the government. This means, the government must provide you with a job. 

Well, in one way, some of these happenings will reduce the number of graduates slowly. With AUCMS closing 4 of their programs, there will be a reduction of close to 400-500 graduates annually. BUT then, other colleges may continue to increase their numbers. Whatever it is, we are still in a mess!

Mara, pelajar perubatan luar negara lagi baguskah? – Wan Salman Wan Sallam
Published: 15 August 2014

Saya secara peribadi menahan saja perasaan daripada meluahkan pendapat peribadi tentang polisi baharu pemberian biasiswa Jabatan Perkhidmatan Awam (JPA) kepada pelajar perubatan Institusi Pengajian Tinggi Awam (IPTA). Polisi terbaharu itu ialah pelajar perubatan IPTA, bermula dengan kemasukan 2013/14 tidak lagi akan mendapat biasiswa JPA secara ‘de facto’ automatik.

Walaupun saya sendiri berjaya mendapat biasiswa tersebut, namun saya tetap kurang berpuas hati dengan sikap JPA yang langsung tidak memberi notis kemungkinan ini sebelum keputusan UPU tahun lalu. Walaupun benar JPA tidak pernah menjamin keautomatikan biasiswa perubatannya, polisi JPA yang selama ini sentiasa menwarkan biasiswa ‘automatik’ saban tahun pastilah membolehkan kita menganggap JPA akan terus melakukannya untuk tahun mendatang melainkan ada notis JPA untuk tidak meneruskannya.

Saya cuba melihat pada sudut positif; memandangkan pembinaan hospital tidak serancak pembinaan fakulti perubatan, saya dapat menganggap ada petanda kerajaan sendiri mungkin tidak dapat menguruskan ramai graduan perubatan akan datang. Malah pembekuan pembinaan fakulti perubatan IPTA mahupun IPTS juga bermula buat masa ini.

Sungguhpun begitu, saya lebih terkilan apabila membaca laporan berita Utusan yang menyatakan Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara) akan meneruskan penajaan pelajar bidang perubatan ke luar negara. Mengapakah Mara begitu beria-ia malah kelihatan berbangga dapat menaja pelajar perubatan ke luar negara?
Tanpa menafikan kecemerlangan pelajar tajaan Mara, saya melihat kerajaan amnya seharusnya juga melihat nasib pelajar perubatan dalam negeri, IPTA terutamanya yang saya kira setanding kecemerlangannya dengan pelajar luar negara dalam Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM). Bukan itu saja, rata-ratanya mereka juga amat cemerlang juga dalam program persediaan (contohnya Matrikulasi KPM, Asasi IPTA, PASUM dan STPM).

Bahkan yang ditaja kerajaan ke Timur Tengah contohnya, universiti mereka malah tidak menjadikan kelulusan program persediaan pun ada! Hendak sambung perubatan dalam negeri sangatlah susah dengan syarat kemasukan dan persaingan dahsyatnya, tetapi yang ke luar negara dengan syarat kemasukan lebih mudah ditaja pula. Bagaimanakah pertimbangan dibuat dalam keputusan ini sebenarnya?

Bukan itu saja, kerajaan sendiri mengakui jika ingin mengamal perubatan di Malaysia, amalan klinikal adalah lebih baik dijalankan dalam negeri berbanding luar negara atas faktor penolakan pesakit dan demografi penyakit. Pihak MQA sendiri juga menetapkan syarat ketat untuk akreditasi fakulti perubatan, maka adakah fakulti perubatan yang sekian banyak di Malaysia ini masih tidak dapat menampung keperluan graduan perubatan?

Tentang kos pula, menganggung seorang pelajar perubatan di negara benua Eropah memakan belanja hampir RM1 juta, jika tidak lebih! Apa rasionalnya menangung lagi dengan kos ini sedangkan kerajaan juga memberikan subsidi amat tinggi untuk menampung pengajian perubatan di IPTA? Lebih baik sempurnakan subsidi dan pemberian biasiswa pelajar IPTA semuanya daripada menaja ke luar negara.

Saya difahamkan bentuk ‘tajaan’ Mara bukanlah tajaan penuh, tetapi merupakan pinjaman boleh ubah. Apa kurangnya pelajar IPTA untuk tidak ditawarkan pinjaman yang sama? Bahkan kosnya lebih murah memandangkan IPTA bukanlah dasarnya mengaut keuntungan.

Jika Tan Sri Annuar Musa berpendapat bakal doktor perubatan ini berpeluang bergaul dengan orang luar negara, Mara mahu jadikan mereka doktor atau negarawan berjiwa rakyat? Mungkin juga Mara teringin melahirkan sosok seperti Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail yang belajar perubatan di Ireland dan kini menjadi presiden PKR. Namun kita juga ada Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad yang belajar di Universiti Malaya dan juga merupakan perdana menteri paling lama di Malaysia!

Untuk kerajaan, JPA terutamanya, ingatlah pelajar dalam negeri lebih setia berkhidmat untuk Malaysia. Buat yang mendapat tajaan luar negara, saya ucapkan tahniah dan berazamlah untuk kembali berbakti buat negara kita.

Untuk Mara pula, kebanyakan pelajar perubatan IPTA yang tidak mendapat biasiswa ini Bumiputera juga. Ada antara mereka hanya makan sekali sehari dan perlu menanggung kos buku teks yang hampir beribu harganya.

Cukuplah dengan polisi pilih kasih ini. Mara walaupun berasingan dengan JPA, kedua-dua agensi dan jabatan ini milik kerajaan juga. Sepatutnya wujud persefahaman den kesegerakan dalam polisi tajaan ini dengan bantuan Kementerian Kesihatan dan Kementerian Pendidikan.

Akhir sekali, mengapa ingin menyusu anak sampai ke luar negara jika susu di rumah sendiri lebih murah, berkualiti dan cukup untuk anak-anak? – 15 Ogos, 2014.

* Penulis ialah pelajar perubatan Universiti Sains Sains Islam Malaysia.

* Ini adalah pendapat peribadi penulis dan tidak semestinya mewakili pandangan The Malaysian Insider.

- See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/rencana/article/mara-pelajar-perubatan-luar-negara-lagi-baguskah-wan-salman-wan-sallam?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed#sthash.Zzlsn4pP.dpuf


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