6 months ago I wrote my first part. 2 months before that, I wrote an article titled ” Passion vs Debt” when some students gave some nasty comments in my blog after the AUCMS loan fiasco issue that I brought up. I had always said that no matter what passion you have, in the end, medicine is just another job to earn a living. No one is going to come to your assistance when you got no money. Just because you help safe some lives does not mean people will come to your help when you are left with nothing. It is a capitalist world.
It is also naive to think that doctors are job guaranteed. I had explained enough in this blog. Frankly, there are close to 50K doctors in this country. How many do you see driving big cars and staying in big houses? Probably less than 10%. Isn’t that the same figure for any other profession? Furthermore, most of these doctors are still working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The public perception is usually biased towards what they see you having externally. They never see or want to see what happens behind the stage. That’s why many quit medicine after graduating. Never do medicine for wrong reasons!
Few days ago, a philanthropist made an announcement that he is willing to give free additional scholarship to those students whose parents are earning below Rm 4K/month. Not even 3 days later, he was shocked and amazed to receive close to 50 applications, almost all wants to do medicine (see below)! Thus, today, he wrote an interesting article asking these students and parents to wake up to reality. He had decided not to give scholarship to those who apply for medicine. Well, this is the very reason why I started this blog almost 6 years ago but yet again, no one listens. Every now and then, I too receive phone calls from students and even parents asking for financial assistance. Almost always the students will be doing medicine and already registered for 1st year. However, she/he is unable to pay the tuition fee for the 2nd year. When I ask them what happens for third year if you can somehow manage to get your fee for 2nd year, they almost always can’t answer. I find it ridiculous at times.
No matter how cruel and harsh it may sound, we are living in a capitalist world. Money talks. If you can’t afford to get scholarship, please do not do something that will lead you to huge debts. Never forget the house loan, married life and car loan that will come along the way. We just have to accept the reality and pursue what is affordable. Success in life comes in many ways. The philanthropist above is an engineer who built 2 conglomerate. How many doctors do you see becoming a philanthropist? How many doctors do you see retiring early at age of 40-50 and going for holidays around the world and being financially independent?
Our students lack in financial literacy. They are too dependent on family to the extent that they don’t understand what life is all about. Passion is one thing but living a life is another. At the end of the day it is all about money and living a life. Even in UK, doctors are going for a strike to challenge the government in reducing their income as mentioned in this blog before. I had warned many times that we are producing future generations with huge debts. Again this was brought up by another newsportal today.
Happy New Year 2016 to everyone. Sure we have a tough year ahead……….. while I publish my first book……….
Be realistic in your pursuit of a medical degree
January 10, 2016
Students should consider other courses such as accountancy, finance, engineering, marketing etc.
By Koon Yew Yin
Since the publication of my scholarship offer to help students whose parents are earning less than RM4,000 per month a few days ago, my wife has received more than 50 applications for financial help and most of the applicants want to pursue a medical degree which costs the most.
The sole purpose of writing this article is to help inform students who wish to study medicine not to apply for my financial assistance.
There are 40 Medical Colleges and about 500 Universities and Colleges in Malaysia. All of them are lowering their entry requirements to compete for more students.
Tuition Fee for a Medical Degree in Malaysia is between RM250,000 to RM1 million:
Among the cheapest are:
• University Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR): RM255,000
• AIMST University: RM250,000.
Among the mid range are:
• Asia Metropolitan University (AMU): RM300,000
• MAHSA University College: RM300,000
• Malacca Manipal Medical College (MMMC): RM348,000, Monash University Sunway: RM455,000
• Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia (NuMED): RM450,000
Among the more expensive are:
• Penang Medical College: RM650,000
• Perdana University offers the following: Royal College of Surgeons Ireland: RM800,000, John Hopkins University School of Medicine: RM1,000,000
All the above mentioned fees exclude accommodation, books, traveling costs, food and other expenses which could easily add another RM100,000 to the total cost of studying medicine.
A student will require at least RM350,000 to complete a medical degree. Assuming he can get a RM150,000 PTPTN loan, he will still require RM250,000.
Is it really worth pursuing a medical degree in Malaysia with such high fees?
It is compulsory for all medical graduates to practice in a government hospital for five years to complete their housemanship.
During this period their salary ranges between RM2,600 to RM4,000. As housemen they work for a minimum of 12 to 15 hours a day. After two years, their salary increases gradually to RM4,000 per month.
When they are promoted as medical officers their salaries range between RM4,500 to RM5,000. After the final year they have an option to continue their career in the government service or private concerns.
However, after 12 years and spending a minimum of RM350,000, is it worth it just to earn RM5,000 to RM6,000 per month as a doctor?
They must remember that they have to pay back the RM150,000 PTPTN loan at RM2,000 per month for about 20 years.
An alternative proposal:
I like to suggest to these students to consider other courses such as accountancy, finance, engineering, marketing, etc. The tuition fee for a one year foundation course is RM8,500 and for a 3 years degree course is about RM38,000 in UTAR. The fees for all government universities are less than RM20,000 for a degree course.
All students whose parents are earning less than RM4,000 per month can apply for my scholarships worth RM15,500 to cover the one year foundation course fee and the cost of living. After the completion of the foundation course, all students are entitled to receive PTPTN Government loans to complete their degree courses.
Since I made the offer to consider helping students who find the PTPTN not sufficient, my wife has received more than 50 applications in 2 days and most of the applicants want to study medicine. We found that most of the applicants are not realistic. They are poor and with poor results they want to study medicine.
With the PTPTN loan, the parents need to subsidize a small amount to complete their degree courses with the exception of a medical degree. If the parents are really poor, I am willing to consider helping them. My offer to help students doing degree courses has opened the door for all students in the country. But the students must be realistic. In any case, we reserve the right to reject any application for financial help.
Note: All scholarship recipients do not need to work for me or pay back the money I spent on them. But they must promise me that they will remember I helped them when they were poor and when they are financially solvent they must help other poor students. I believe many graduates will continue to help poor students when I die. Since I started offering scholarships about 10 years ago, I have given out about 300 scholarships and a large number of the recipients have graduated.
Koon Yew Yin is a retired civil engineer and one of the founders of IJM Corp Bhd & Gamuda Bhd.
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