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DSC01142Well, it has been more than a week since I am back from Middle Earth. It was my 15 years dream of going to New Zealand after I first saw ” Fellowship of The Ring” of the Lord of the Rings trilogy in 2001. My first son was just 2 years old and I was earning a salary of only RM 2200 with a rented house. It took me almost 15 years to be able to visit Middle Earth with my whole family. My first son is now 15 years old! How fast time flies but eventually, I fulfilled my dream.

It was an hectic but worthwhile 12 days where I travelled from North to South island. Landed in Auckland, moving to Rotorua and Wellington before going to South Island. Driving in New Zealand is like being in another world. Sceneries and weather changes from one place to another. I drove from Picton to Christchurch to Dunedin to Te Anau to Milford Sound where I took a wonderful cruise of  the 8th Wonder of the World. Then I drove down to Queenstown where we spent 3 days before driving back to Christchurch. A day in Christchurch and we flew back to Singapore.

Despite being the beginning of summer, I could still see the snow topped mountains. Roads were beautiful with not a single pot hole over thousands of kilometres that I drove. Visiting Hobbiton brought back memories of seeing the Hobbits and the ” ring that ruled them all”.

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Well, I am back to work. In 2 days time I will be seeing the Millennium Falcon flying for the first time after 30 years! Bringing back my memories while I was still in school! The Force has awaken ……………..

 

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A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away there was a planet by the name of Pendora. As part of the transformation program, the Emperor of the planet Pendora decided in a typical “ Pendora Boleh” style to invite a well renowned academy from planet Uncle Samy to start an academy in Pendora. The academy supposes to train young padawans to become Jedis. These young padawans are enthusiastic lots who had always wanted to become a Jedi. The force, while is strong in them could not support their stint in another planet due to logistics and financial reasons.

The academy started with grand celebration as it suppose to send fears among the neighbouring planets which includes planet Tatooin, Dagobah as well as the grand empire of Capitol. The academy was promised a lot of goodies to establish themselves, including generous contribution from the Pendora’s government. A Jedi council was appointed to oversee the program, which was introduced for the first time in Pendora. The young padawans are trained for free.

3 years passed and Pendora started to get intertwined in a big controversy involving a mega scandal. Promises that was made to Uncle Samy’s partner was not fulfilled. Uncle Samy’s partner decides to leave the academy. The academy was caught off guard and decided to bring another Jedi trainer from another part of the same planet Uncle Samy.

While Pendora’s future remains hanging, the young padawans were promised a smooth transition to become a Jedi. The Jedi council kept a close watch as not to compromise the training. The Force and the power of the Dark side need to be kept at bay. One year after the controversy erupted, the first batch of Jedi apprentices graduated. Unfortunately, the academy faced another obstacle. The Jedi council decided not to recognise/accreditate the academy’s training. The Jedi council wary of the influence of the dark side. The council felt that the academy did not fulfil the requirement to train the young padawans, to prevent them from being influenced by the Dark side.

By this time, the force has awaken. The dark side of the force has started to influence the world of Jedis. Pendora’s academy was not the only one that has been producing Jedis’. Many more similar academies from various planets were producing the same. The Jedi’s, which were once considered the crème of the society, are now degraded to unemployable status. The protectors and peacekeepers of the galaxy are now jobless. The Jedi council took it for granted as the dark force died 30 years ago. Little did they expect such a situation. The young graduated Jedis are now being asked to sit for the Jedi Council’s special exams to test their knowledge and mental strength. 6 months has passed with no answer !

Will the unemployed Jedi’s become the next Dark side of the force?

Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to Anger. Anger leads to Hate. Hate leads to Suffering

Master Yoda’s quote that still lingers in the minds of the Jedi Council. Will the fear of un-employability of the young Jedis, turn to anger and eventually to the dark side?

The Force has awaken………………. The frustrated Jedis are bound to turn to the dark side. Only time will tell……………

 

Disclaimer:

All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

 

 

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When a university up north became very ambitious and decided to run 5 medical programs ( the first in the world), I cautioned many students that it is not viable and not to fall into a trap. IN 2012 , I wrote THIS and THIS. However, students being students, they will take whatever offer as long as they do not need to pay anything. Thus, the so-called ” scholarship” that was offered by this college attracted many middle-income parents to send their children. Unfortunately, what I feared most happened last year. As I wrote over HERE HERE and HERE, the college finally closed down and all it’s students were forced to transfer to another MMC accredited university. Some ended up repeating their years. The UKM degree students were absorbed into UKM. So, what happened to the loan promised by this college? I understood then, that the college were offering almost free tuition fee as you will receive RM 150K from PTPTN and the balance will be paid by a collaboration with Maybank. This fund paid by Maybank suppose to be a convertible loan, informed to many as “scholarship”. Many did not realise that they are going to end up with a huge loan. I had always said that doing medicine by taking a huge loan does not make any economic sense. While the students have been transferred to other colleges, Maybank is now going after their loan. I attach a letter from Maybank to a student asking them to pay back the loan already paid to the college. So, now you are in debt even before you graduate!

Malaysia is probably one of the very few countries where their people go into debt to make someone else rich! A private college gets its money from PTPTN loan and many more scholarship/loans from MARA, JPA etc. Most of these loans are paid back by the students but the college can go laughing to their banks! Education should never be commercialised. Another interesting fact has emerged recently. As you are aware that the government has slashed PTPTN loan amount by about 15% for private colleges and 5% for public universities except for medicine (which will be a maximum of about Rm 150K). This has resulted in many private college’s intake reducing. The minimum entry qualifications introduced in 2011 had also gradually reduced the number of medical students in many private medical schools. A research done by a think-tank group revealed that close to 45% of private colleges do not have sufficient assets to cover their liabilities. It also said that close to 35% of private colleges and 41% of universities have bigger debts than their total assets, technically insolvent! This may affect close to 120 000 students!

There are many medical colleges which are facing enrolment problems. The MMC’s guideline and the cost of medical program has prohibited many students from entering medical course. The recent issues concerning possible unemployment of future doctors has also opened the eyes of many people. Medicine is no more a guaranteed future and money! I know a foreign university branch campus which is struggling to even get more than 100 students as the chances of their graduates getting an internship post overseas are very slim. This resulted in them not being able to recruit foreign students. A major administrative restructuring will happen soon.

I believe this could be a blessing in disguise. I had expected that some of the medical schools will close shop sooner or later. With the demise of AUCMS resulting in 5 medical programs closing shop, I also heard that UniKL’s twinning program with an Indian university will also close it’s doors. I also know that MMC has asked some of the medical schools which had intention to start twinning programs with overseas universities to postpone/terminate the idea.

I just hope our general public will realise that being a doctor does not guarantee anything. MMC being a corporatised body under MOH after the Medical Act was amended in 2012 will soon increase their fees. A recent letter was circulated to all organisation regarding their proposed fee hike as shown below. I did mention about this last year. Worth to mention that the fee for sitting MQE examination will also be increased to RM 2500 from RM 200. Please also note that you need to pay RM 500 for Certificate of Good Standing ! A specialist will pay RM 300 for APC and RM 300 for specialist registration per year. I wonder whether this will apply for government doctors as well? Hopefully they will revise some of it after feedback. All doctors will also need certain minimum CME points for APC renewal( I heard 10 points per year and 20points per year for specialist) as well as a compulsory Indemnity Insurance.

Well, the world is changing and the cost of living will only increase further. Never take huge loan to do medicine. Never forget that many more loans will come along the way after you graduate. Life will never get any easier…………..

 

New rules squeezing private colleges of funds, says think tank
Published: 6 April 2015 11:02 AM

The Alliance University College of Medical Sciences (AUCMS) in Kepala Batas, Penang, which closed down to shortage of funds. The Penang Institute warns that more private colleges may have to close down. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, April 6, 2015.
The Alliance University College of Medical Sciences (AUCMS) in Kepala Batas, Penang, which closed down to shortage of funds. The Penang Institute warns that more private colleges may have to close down. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, April 6, 2015.
The Penang Institute in Kuala Lumpur has warned that some 70% of private higher education institutions can see red this year, following changes in funding rules.

The think tank said based on data from the Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM), 45% of private universities and university colleges have insufficient assets to cover their current liabilities.

Around 71% are below the market average in terms of sufficient assets cover while SSM data also showed that 28 private varsities, or 46% of those reported, made year-on-year losses in the 2013 fiscal year.

Penang Institute said finances were further tightened starting November last year when cuts were made to the public loans system for higher education or National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) by Putrajaya.
PTPTN loans were cut by 5% for public universities and 15% for private universities. Loans for medical courses were unchanged.

“According to estimates by the Penang Institute using the SSM data, these changes would lead to 69.2% of private varsities falling into the red in the coming year.

“Around 76.2% of university colleges and three-quarters of the foreign branch campus could see their finances in negative territory due to these changes.

“Around 120,000 students are currently enrolled in those private varsities facing financial stress and this could rise to 215,000 students, or 44.5% of total private sector enrolment, due to funding changes according to the research,” Penang Institute said in a statement today.

The think tank cited Allianze University College of Medical Sciences (AUCMS), which had around 2,000 students and 500 staff, as an example. The medical school had to close due to financial problems.

The Masterskill Education Group Berhad, which owns the Asia Metropolitan University, has also been a case of financial squeeze, it said.

The group saw its share price fall from RM4.24 in August 2010 to a low of RM0.30 in May 2014, before recovering only to RM0.62 last month following restructuring and changes in its management and share ownership.

Penang Institute’s study looked into 41 private universities, eight foreign branch campuses and 27 university colleges.

At least two university colleges were upgraded to university status in recent months, but both are in the “financially stressed” group.

The revelations come as the National Higher Education Sector Blueprint 2015-2025 is set to be launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak tomorrow.
Penang Institute’s general manager Dr Ong Kian Ming (pic, right) said the preliminary blueprint released by the Education Ministry for public feedback appeared to largely focus on the public higher education institutions.

“The fact that the private higher education sector was largely ignored is a serious omission given that almost half of the total enrolment in post-secondary education are in private universities, university colleges and colleges.

“In our recent comprehensive study to examine the organisational structure and financial sustainability of 41 private universities, eight foreign branch campuses and 27 university colleges in Malaysia, we found serious implications on the overall health and sustainability of the private higher education sector in Malaysia,” he said.

Ong, who is also Serdang MP, said the think tank would release a series of statements over the next few days to highlight some of the other important findings from the study.

“The complete report will be released at a later date at a public forum where the authors of the report will present their findings and invited panellists will be asked to comment on this report and the National Higher Education Sector Blueprint 2015-2025,” he added. – April 6, 2015.

– See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/new-rules-squeezing-private-colleges-of-funds-says-think-tank#sthash.9YrohBsN.dpuf

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The government recently had slashed the 2015 budget by at least RM 5.5b, mainly operational budget. I am not sure whether it will affect civil servant promotions for this year as promotions involves a lot of money. Generally, during any economic recession, promotions will be postponed. If the oil prices do not increase or the ringgit falls further, we may be in for a roller coaster ride this year. FYI, Petronas contributes at least a third of our government’s revenue! The government has also started to charge maximum full rate for any foreigners seeking treatment in government hospitals/clinics. This is also to generate more income for the government as they become desperate for money.

In my previous blog post, I mentioned that the waiting period for Housemanship stands at about 6 months as of end of last year. The waiting time is expected to get longer this year as more and more medical schools starts to produce their graduates. However, from March 2015(hopefully), MOH will be introducing what is known as e-Houseman! NO, IT IS NOT Housemen working from HOME for heaven’s sake but a way to shorten the waiting period (see below).

MOH will be introducing an on-line housemanship placement portal for newly graduated doctors. Fresh graduates will first need to apply for Temporary Registration with MMC after which they need to apply to SPA/JPA. Once you  are accepted into civil service, you will be given a password and user ID to log into ” e-Housemen”. This portal will list all the available post in various hospitals and the vacancies. The waiting period will also be mentioned. It will be available online twice a month.

Thus, it is entirely up to you on where you want to do your housemanship. You decide based on vacancies and waiting period. If you decide to choose the popular hospitals aka Klang Valley, the waiting period will be even longer. It will subsequently affect your seniority in civil service. I hope this system will work flawlessly but as usual, I am a bit skeptical about it. How the system works will depend on how fast the system is updated by the respective hospitals/MOH. Human and system errors can occur.

ON another note, this will eventually overcome the maldistribution issues between rural and urban hospitals as well as East and West Malaysia. If you want a job early, go where the vacancy is. Similar situation will occur when the MO post becomes full. As I said many years ago,  as the situation becomes tight, maldistribution will be solved.

Happy Thaipusam and Chinese New Year ………………….

Massage from Dr Krishna Kumar MMA President

Massage from Dr Krishna Kumar MMA President

 

e-houseman bantu graduan pilih penempatan dengan cepat (http://bm.therakyatpost.com/berita/2014/12/19/e-houseman-bantu-graduan-pilih-penempatan-dengan-cepat)

KUALA LUMPUR, 19 Disember:
Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia (KKM) hari ini melancarkan sistem penempatan graduan perubatan yang dikenali sebagai e-houseman, bagi memperbaiki sistem sedia ada.
Menterinya, Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam berkata, sistem itu yang akan mula beroperasi pada 15 Mac 2015, memberi peluang kepada graduan perubatan untuk memilih hospital pilihan mereka.
“Kami mengenal pasti kelemahan dalam sistem penempatan graduan perubatan sebelum ini dan melihat sistem baru yang diperkenalkan ini lebih telus dan mudah.
“Ini sekaligus mengikis persepsi orang ramai terhadap kementerian yang kononnya memilih kakitangan dalam proses penempatan,” katanya selepas merasmikan Persidangan Pengurusan KKM di Hotel Royal Chulan, hari ini.
Beliau berkata, graduan perubatan yang berdaftar dengan Suruhanjaya Perkhidmatan Awam (SPA) dan mendapat sijil pendaftaran sementara daripada Majlis Perubatan Malaysia (MMC), layak menggunakan sistem ini dan proses seterusnya dilaksanakan serta diluluskan KKM.

Tambahnya, proses ini hanya memakan masa 10 minit, jika graduan sudah memilih penempatan mereka dan bersetuju dengan syarat ditetapkan.
Katanya lagi, sebelum ini proses penempatan memakan masa lama dan kerjasama dengan SPA serta MMC dapat mempermudahkan semua urusan.
“Sebelum ini, KKM akan memilih penempatan untuk graduan dan kini mereka boleh memilih sendiri, sekiranya ada kekosongan. Permohonan itu akan dibuka dua kali sebulan dan prosesnya adalah mudah,” katanya.
Dalam perkembangan lain, Subramaniam berkata, persidangan bertemakan ‘Towards a seamless organisations’ bertepatan usaha mentransformasikan sektor kesihatan, bagi memberi perkhidmatan lebih cekap dan berkesan.
Seramai 229 peserta menyertai persidangan itu, bagi menambah pengetahuan dalam aspek pengurusan menyeluruh, untuk mendokong visi dan misi KKM, selaras peranannya sebagai peneraju perkhidmatan kesihatan negara.
Read more: http://bm.therakyatpost.com/berita/2014/12/19/e-houseman-bantu-graduan-pilih-penempatan-dengan-cepat/#ixzz3PpH9dGQp

 

Just 10 mins for emplacement of interns under e-Houseman system
Posted on December 20, 2014, Saturday

KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry yesterday launched the cutting edge ‘e-Housemen’ system for emplacement of medical graduates during their housemanship.
Its minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam saw the new system would expedite processing of housemanship applications from one month currently to just 10 minutes.
“Before this system, medical graduates had to register with the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC), Public Services Commission (PSC) and the Health Ministry.
Now they just have to register with MMC only.
“After registration with MMC, they will be given a temporary registration certificate following which they can use the ‘e-Housemen’ system that will be operational from March 15,” he told a press conference after opening Health Ministry’s Administrative Conference and Innovation Night 2014 here yesterday.
Elaborating on the system, Dr Subramaniam said medical graduates could choose which hospital they wanted to do their internship and if there were no vacancies, they could defer it until that particular hospital had an opening.
He added that system would also put an end to perceptions that the housemanship system was bogged with bureacracy and favouritism.
The three-day conference themed ‘Towards a Seamless Organisation’ which began yesterdaY is being attended by 229 senior officers of the ministry and hospitals. — Bernama
Read more: http://www.theborneopost.com/2014/12/20/just-10-mins-for-emplacement-of-interns-under-e-houseman-system/#ixzz3PpHQMw8e

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2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 670,000 times in 2014. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 29 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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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.

— BERNAMA

 

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

 

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
President
Malaysian Medical Council

23 August 2014

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It has been 3 weeks since I last posted an article in my blog. I am sure you know why! I started watching World Cup since 1982 when I was still in primary school. I had never missed any of the World Cups since then. As the greatest show on earth, it proves to be one of the most exciting sporting event that everyone waits for, every 4 years. I watched the Final of World Cup 2010 between Spain and Holland in Hong Kong as I was attending a Rheumatology conference then. By co-incidence, I watched the opening match of World Cup 2014 between Brazil and Croatia also in Hong Kong, as I was having a family vacation.

Of all the World Cup that I watched over the last 32 years, I must say that this years’ World Cup is the best I have seen. It was a World Cup filled with goals, excitement, upsets and unexpected underdogs. Top European countries like Italy, Portugal, England and Spain crashing out of the tournament in group stage where as underdogs like Costa Rica, Algeria, Columbia , Mexico showing flowing football that brought most of them to Round of 16 and Quarterfinals.

Who would have thought that Holland will whack Spain by 5-1 in one of the earliest of the group matches. Who would have thought that Brazil, the country where football is second to religion will be trashed 7-1 by Germany and 3-0 by Holland? It was a spectacular show with tactical football taking over the stage. Individual skills come second. Brazil should start playing like a team rather than depending on individual skills. Those eras are gone! I am glad that I was in front of the TV when Germany trashed Brazil 7-1 in one of the tournaments biggest upset in history! It was the most humiliating defeat by Brazil, furthermore in their home ground.

Germany has always been the most consistent team in World Cup since 1970s. They work as a team with superb energy and spirit. They deserve to win this World Cup 2014. Along the way they broke numerous World Cup records such as all time top scorer, the country with most number of goals in world cup, the highest score line in a semifinal, the biggest thrashing of a home country, the first country to reach 4 consecutive semifinals , the first european country to win in a south american soil etc etc.

I could not update my blog over the last 3 weeks as I was having sleepless nights while working everyday. Age is catching up and I am not as “fit” as I use to be. Watching the game early mornings is becoming a torture. BUT I will continue to watch these World Cups till I am 6 ft underground!

Good bye World Cup 2014 and I will wait for Russia in 2018………………….

 

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