For Future Doctors: Housemanship, Medical Officer and Postgraduate Training (Part 3)

 It has been more than 1 month since I last wrote on this topic, the last being on rural postings. I have been extremely busy for the month of October with increasing load of patients in my hospital as well as some domestic house renovation. My house kitchen renovation has been successfully completed but I am yet to complete the painting works, which I am doing myself!

Let’s look at the postgraduate training in Malaysia. I have written about housemanship, district/rural postings and problems of oversupply of doctors in the near future. The issue of oversupply of doctors by 2015 will lead to another very big issue: postgraduate training. Many of the budding doctors and medical students are not aware that the postgraduate training in Malaysia has many limitations and problems. At this point of time, most postgraduate trainings are dependent on Master’s programme conducted by the local universities. Once upon a time, we were totally dependent on UK-based exams and training but unfortunately we lost it along the way. Currently, only MRCP (UK) – Internal Medicine, MRCPCH (UK) – Paediatric and MRCOG (UK) can be done in Malaysia. FRCS (for surgeons) used to be available to Malaysians but not anymore. None of our hospitals are recognised as a training centre for FRCS, which is now known as MRCS. Thus, for any surgical field in Malaysia, you will need to do Master’s programme!

MRCP (UK) – Internal Medicine

Membership of the Royal College of Physicians (UK) is a well-known exam all over the whole. It has a very strong reputation as an entry exam for speciality training in UK as well as in other parts of the world.  It is conducted regularly, usually 3 times a year in various countries. Malaysia is one of the centres for the MRCP exams, all 3 parts.

MRCP Part 1 can be taken about a year after your graduation. It is a theory paper. After passing your Part 1, you need to clear your Part 2 (written paper) and Part 3 (clinical) within 7 years. It is usually coordinated by University of Malaya, where the exams are usually held. Just for your info, the passing rate for MRCP (UK) is always around 45-50% worldwide! You need to have a proposer to sit for these exams, who can verify that you have undergone sufficient training to sit for the exam. If you fail miserably, your proposer will be notified.

Since MRCP (UK) is not a specialist exam in the UK, the Ministry of Health, Malaysia only recognises and gazette’s you as a specialist after undergoing further training of 18 months post MRCP (UK). You will need to submit a log book and recommendation by your HOD before being gazetted. This rule applies for all other overseas degrees which include MRCPCH and MRCOG. You need to undergo this gazettement process in order for you to be recognised as a Physician by the National Specialist Register (NSR).


MRCPCH is similar to MRCP (UK) but meant for those who wants to become a Paediatrician. It‘s examination structure is similar to MRCP (UK).


MRCOG has 2 parts but the second part has both written and clinical component. However, you need to undergo training in O&G department for at least 4 years before being allowed to sit for Part 2 exams. One of the major issues in sitting for MRCOG is the fact that there are not many MRCOG holders in MOH to sign as a proposer for you!

Master’s programme

Now, this is where a big problem is going to appear soon. For all other fields, you are totally dependent on Master’s programme. This includes all surgical fields. Master’s programme is a fixed 4 year programme.

In order for you to be eligible to apply for the Master’s programme, you should have completed at least 3 years of service with good SKT marks of at least 85% and above, recommendation from Head of Department and confirmed in service. You also need to attend an exam or an interview before being selected for certain disciplines.

The major problem that I foresee in the future will be the number of places that are being offered. As of this year, the total number of places available is only 600, all disciplines included. Imagine, with 6000 new doctors coming into the market every year from now onwards, only 10% is going to get into the Master’s programme annually. Furthermore, you must understand that the selection process is never transparent, the typical Malaysian scenario as well as the quota system! Most of it is done by the Universities.

The government is planning to increase the number to 800 next year but the situation is rather critical in the Universities as there are not many Senior Professors to supervise the programme. I must say that the standard of Master’s graduates have dropped significantly over the last 5-10 years. We have Master’s graduates who can’t do surgery but have passed the exams! I just hope that the Master’s programme do not become another “specialists mill” like our undergraduate medical schools!

There are 2 types of Master’s programme, the open and closed system. In the closed system, you will do the entire 4 years within the university, like in UKM Hospital, UH and USM Hospital. The open system may have various programmes, like 2 years in MOH hospitals and another 2 years in the Universities etc. You may even do the entire 4 years in MOH hospitals for some of the fields.

After completing your Master’s programme, you need to undergo another 6 months of gazettement process before being recognised as a specialist. Furthermore, you will be bonded for 5-7 years for receiving scholarship during the programme, which is compulsory!

Subspecialty training

With the advancement in medical field, every discipline now has subspecialty training. As such, everyone will try to do certain subspecialty after gazettment as a specialist by MOH. Generally, the subspecialist training is about 3 years except for certain field like Cardiothoracic and Urology which may take 4 years. Again, whether you get a place or not depends on availability of post and demand for that particular field. For example, the waiting time for Gastroenterology training can even go as far as 1-2 years.

Recently, to overcome this major problem, MOH has taken another step backwards. You can only apply for subspecialty training 1 year after you have been gazetted as a specialist. For MRCP holders, this means 2 and half years after passing MRCP (UK)!

Usually, the subspecialty training is divided into 2 parts, the first part (the first 2 years) will be done locally and the 2nd part (remaining 1 year) will be done overseas. The MOH will provide a fully paid scholarship for overseas training of 1 year but you will be bonded for 3 years. If you have received undergraduate scholarship and Master’s scholarship, you will be bonded a total of 20 years in service!!


One good advantage that we have is Singapore. Unfortunately, only UKM and UM undergraduate degrees are recognised in Singapore. Our Master’s degrees are NOT recognised elsewhere. Thus, we would not be able to work in Singapore with any other medical degrees or even with our Master’s degree.

However, Singapore does recognise MRCP, MRCPCH, MRCOG and MRCS. Thus, if you have any of these degrees, it supersedes the undergraduate degree and you should be able to get a job in Singapore. Singapore is also a recognised centre for MRCS Part 3 training, which you can’t do in Malaysia. So, if you have MRCS Part 1 & 2, you can go to Singapore to finish your MRCS training and sit for the Part 3.

I must say that Singapore’s postgraduate training is more structured and organised with their BST (Basic Specialist Training) and AST (Advanced Specialist Training) programmes. I have written about this in my MMA article “Back from the Future: From 1st world to 3rd world”.

For all of you out there; budding doctors, medical students, houseofficers and medical officers;  the future is very bleak for the medical field in Malaysia. The oversupply of doctors will get to you sooner or later. My advice to those who insist on doing medicine for passion is to choose an undergraduate course that is recognised internationally. Then, pursue a postgraduate degree that is also recognised internationally. If not, you will end up with a lot of frustration in the future. Jobless doctors in the future will be a reality!

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to respond.


2,030 Responses

  1. Hi Dr, i’m a medical student in UNIMAS.. I found your blog through medicine.com.my & found your blog is very interesting!

    I want to ask whether Master programme in overseas such as Master in Surgery in University of Sydney is recognized by Malaysia?

    • The Master in Surgery from Australian universities are NOT clinical postgraduate degrees. THese programmes are for those who intend to do research and academic work and thus it is NOT recognised as a post graduate clinical degree. It is a Research degree!

      • Thx for the reply.. So does this mean that if i want to become a surgeon in Malaysia, the only way out is local Master programme? No other way? It’s kind of pathetic!

      • Hi Dr, would like to ask what do i need to do after housemanship is finished if
        I would like to be a gynecologist ???

      • either Master’s or MRCOG, both need atleast 4 years of training. MRCOG is an open system where as Master’s you can apply only after 2 years of service post horsemanship

    • Dear Sir,

      Thank you for your very informative posts.

      I was wondering if you could shed some light on Malaysian doctors returning from abroad.

      in 2010, the MoH were muttering about exemptions for Malaysian doctors based abroad from government service on their return with some conditions. As far as I understood and please correct me if I am wrong, 1) 10 years of experience with basic medical degree 2) exemption regardless of tenure with specialist registration.

      Does this seem correct and also, does this still apply (in conjunction with the returning experts programme)? The MoH were supposed to trash out the details later on that year but nothing has been confirmed since and I can’t seem to find details of this anywhere safe for some old new reports / reports from 2010.

      I am Malaysian and currently a specialist registrar (in a surgical discipline) based in the UK. I qualified in the mid 2000’s from a London based medical school before embarking on my surgical training. I will be completing my higher surgical training shortly and will have undertaken all the pre-requisite fellowship post-graduate exit examinations by then. I intend to undertake further sub-specialty (post CCT fellowship) training for 12 months either in the UK or in Australia. I have also “ticked the necessary boxes” pertaining to research / medical education and management.

      Having gotten along really well with colleagues there, I have been offered a consultant job in the UK upon completion of my training. This has always been my preferred option but due to personal circumstances, I have had to consider a return to Malaysia as a very possible scenario.

      I understand that the issue of foreign based Malaysian doctors being exempt from compulsory service is always a delicate issue amongst local graduates but would nonetheless be very grateful if you have any updates with regards to whether I would be eligible for exemption from compulsory service.

      Many thanks in advance for your kind assistance!

      • As a specialist working overseas who is also keen on returning home at some point, I have tried to keep myself up-to-date with this. The best place to go to facilitate your return is Talent Corp: http://www.talentcorp.com.my/

        My understanding is that you do not need to work with the govt if you are 10 yrs out of med school BUT who else is going to hire you, apart from universities? Unless you have some strings, you are unlikely to get a job in a private hospital because no one in Malaysia knows you. The lack of local experience will also count against you. Smaller private hospitals in smaller towns (less lucrative and you have to do mainly general surgical work) may be an option if there are openings.

        Remember, in private, other surgeons see you as a competitor, not as a colleague (such is the Malaysian way).

        I would suggest working for the govt first and then reviewing your options if you are keen on going private in the future.

        Lastly, do not give up your current job until you have something securely lined up back home, with a confirmed start date. You could be jobless for a significant period of time otherwise.

      • Dear NAV
        Thanks for the comment.
        Nothing on talentcorp about compulsory service
        My groundworkis mostlydone for for entering private practice. Just long to see if i can start straightway without government service. Everything else not a problem.not

      • As far as I know, you can only get exemption if you have more then 10 years experience overseas, after graduation. Certain speciality which is in severe shortage such as oncologist etc may be considered on case by case basis.

        Most private hospitals ( the bigger corporate giants) do not take specialist directly from overseas unless you have a speciality that they can’t find in Malaysia. Private hospitals also DO NOT pay you a salary in malaysia, you are considered self employed and you are just renting a room in the hospital to run your own service.

        I would suggest for you to complete your training in UK then come back and join either UM, UKM or USM. Get some feel of the local medical scenario before embarking into private sector.

      • Thank you both once again for the sound advice.

      • Dear O.H.W,
        i would like to know more about pathways after obtaining a UK medical degree, although i read alot bout the explanations regarding MRCP, MRCOG an etc.
        i still couldn’t quite get it, could you kindly shed some light on this?

    • Dear Dr Pagalavan,
      i want to ask your opinion about doing medical degree in aucms and pmc?? which one is better?? and have u heard about aucms program collaboration with ireland university? and if you heard about it, is it good? Just curious..

      • AUCMS is the only university in the world offering 5 medical programmes!! so, I am sure you know what I mean!! right !! The typical Malaysia bole phenomenon!!
        I would prefer PMC

      • on July 16, 2013 at 3:19 AM Studied-in-Sg-high-sch-b4

        I would strongly discourage you to take AUCMS courses. Looks like it’s set up to only earn money—when i saw such a huge variety of medical degrees they are offering. It reminds me of some L**K**W*** University which give courses with fees equivalent of expensive foreign universities but don’t deliver the standard of teachings up to the par. By the way, Dr Paga you can touch on that uni some time too. Just don’t mention its name too directly, coz its owner is well connected to someone in UMNO whose initials start with M.

      • Yes, it is strongly linked to politicians.
        Actually I had written about them before : here and here

    • Hi,dr pagalavan, How will u think of the prospective of research field in Malaysia? I mean as a medical officer and directly join into CRC or IMR?

      • Research in medicine is rather underdeveloped in malaysia. There are 2 types of research in medicine: clinical research and basic medical research. CRC is involved in coordinating clinical research, drug trial by pharma companies. These are drugs which has already been developed but undergoing trials looking at response and safety issues. Malaysia is not at all involved in basic medical research in developing new drugs or compounds. IMR is mainly involved in research for clinical medicine like microbiology etc. CRC by itself DO NOT do any research.

  2. i’m a final med in Ireland,this is an eye opener for me whom hasnt had any working experience in Malaysia. do you think i should stay here and further my studies in Ireland, rather than going home straight after graduation?

    • If you are a self sponsored students then don’t bother coming back.
      However, if you are sponsored student by the government, please come back to serve, as you are paid by our tax payers!

      • Well said! Please come back and serve the country if you are a JPA scholar, its our tax money that is being spent on you.

      • Dear Dr Pagalavan,

        Why have you said, “If you are a self sponsored student, then don’t bother coming back”? I have not read all that you’ve written about training, especially during the housemanship, in Malaysia, so if you’ve explained before, please do excuse my ignorance.

      • If you are self sponsored especially in countries like UK, Australia and N.Zealand, it is better to complete your trainign there to get international recognition. Please read the rest of my blog postings over the last 1 year.

  3. Dear Dr Pagalavan,

    Just wondering if there is any option to opt out from the M.Med scholarships (i.e. self-funded postgraduate training)?

    Also, what do you think of the Advanced Masters in Neurology by USM? Is it considered as a subspecialty fellowship?


    • M.Med scholarship has been made compulsory. It is one of the prerequisite to enter Master’s. Unfortunately, I don’t think you can op out of it. I have had friends who did not sign the JPA scholarship, but this was like 10 years ago. I heard , now you need to submit it during your Master’s acceptance forms submission itself.

      My personel opinion is that all these “subspecialised Master’s programme” should NOt be allowed. BTW are you talking about neurosurgery or neurology?

      I know USM runs ” Master’s in Neurosurgery” where after 4 years you can call yourself a Neurosurgeon! This will never be recognised elsewhere where you need to do General Surgical postgraduate first before subspecialising in neurosurgery.

  4. I meant the Neurology program.

    • My answer is the same. I do not agree with this type of subspecialised Master’s programme. You will not be recognised elsewhere. In fact , even MOH is not keen for programmes like this because the reality in Malaysia is different. Whatevet subspecialist you are, you need to manage general medical patients in the ward. So, when you don’t have Internal Medicine degree, how are you going to treat these patients?

  5. Dear Dr Pagalavan,

    Im interested in skin or plastic, so in malaysia how to become plastic surgeon or dermatology? as i know for dermatology i have to master in medical then proceed with sub … and for plastic i have proceed with surgical first. any international university i can study for plastic or dermato which recognize by MOH? ok tq

    • Dear Farid,

      I presume you’re a student. If that is so, pls wait till you do your housemanship before deciding what field that you gonna choose. I have had many friends who wanted to do this and that but ended up doing something else. Some even quit medicine!

      As for plastic, it is the same. You need to do general surgery speciality before subspecializing in plastic. What is important is whether your basic general surgery degree is recognised or not. Your sub is usually a practical training. You can visit the National Specialist Register website for further info: http://www.nsr.com.my

  6. Dear Dr Pagalavan,

    I’m just 4 months into my housemanship and I have been wanting to do Paediatrics since medical student (local graduate). I’m planning on taking MRCPCH actually; but I know a friend who take USMLE so as to train in the States and the NSR do recognizes the Diplomate from American Board of Paediatrics.

    Any ideas about the pros and cons of these 2 options? It’s quite difficult to know more about the latter (Diplomate from ABP), since most ppl take MRCPCH and not many ppl take this option.

    Thank you.

    • It depends on where you want to work. Many people who go to US , never come back. That’s why you don’t see many doctors with degree’s from US.

      If you are planning to work in Malaysia or singapore, then MRCPCH will do. Training in US is different and very subspecialised. Furthermore, the litigation rate is so high that you will end up practising defensive medicine like a robot!

      • Hi doctor,

        i was wondering why do many people who go to US never come back since the litigation rates are so high?

        i am now try to decide to go to a private or public uni in malaysia… for now i’m planning to do postgraduate training in paediatrics.. i’m wondering isit easier to do MRCPCH in UM when im in public uni?

        and regarding USMLE…can a student with MBBS take that exam? where can i find a list of prerequisite for the exam for malaysian students?

      • Firstly , there are not many Malaysian doctors who go to US to work. It is not easy to get a job in US even after passing all the USMLE exmas. AND I have seen many coming back as well.

        MRCPCH is an open system, anyone can sit for it. Part 1 of USMLE can be sat while you are a medical student. Please go to their website.

      • Dear Dr,

        do you think it is good for Malaysian student to further his studies in US?
        if I were to complete all three parts of the USMLE,and take the residency pogramme in uS, is it recognised in Malaysia?is it can be taken prior to my housemanship training in malaysia?

        tq doc!..i find your site really useful!

      • If you complete all your training in US till specialisation (fellowship), then it is recognised in Malaysia. Residency in US is just a prelude to enter specialist(fellowship) training. Completing residency does not make you a specialist but a generalist.

        To enter medical school in US, you need to have a basic degree. Passing USMLE also does not guarantee you a post/job in US. You will have to compete with so many people but having a US degree will give an advantage compared to IMGs.

      • Dear Azzam,

        Completion of residency does not give you a recognition in Malaysia, but being a board certified physician does. Most US residents give their respective board exams towards the end of their residency training (at least 3 years of residency training is required), and being board certified does give you an advantage in future employment, however, it is solely voluntarily. Having said that, it is not necessary for every US doctor to give the board exam to be eligible to practice medicine, but if you are contemplating of coming back to Malaysia, you have to pass the board exams to have your training recognized in Malaysia.

        Both Step 1 and Step 2 (CK and CS) can be done when you are still a medical student, after completion of at least 2 years in med school. Step 3 can be taken before the start of residency if you are aiming for a H1B visa, but it can only be taken after you obtain your ECFMG certification, for which you have to be done with med school, and have passed your step 1, step 2 CK and CS.

    • on November 22, 2011 at 7:04 PM | Reply Pankaj Bhargava


      Apollo Hospitals Educational & Research Foundation has launched FAMILY MEDICINE & EMERGENCY MEDICINE Diploma course in partnership with Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), United Kingdom for MBBS Doctors.

      Two courses are currently on offer, each carefully tailored to the needs of family doctors in India. The first – the Diploma in Family Medicine – gives family doctors in India a chance to upgrade their knowledge and skills and attitudes through on line study followed by full time clinical attachments.
      Taught by Apollo staff, the course is quality assured by advisors from RCGP, who also act as external examiners during the final assessments. Successful candidates are then encouraged to study for the international exam for Membership of the Royal College of General Practitioners (MRCGP[INT]).

      The Diploma in Emergency Medicine is aimed particularly at doctors based in the community but who have a special interest, or extended role, in the provision of emergency medicine services. This course is also taught by Apollo staff but quality assured by RCGP.

      Both courses offer GPs an opportunity to gain useful theoretical and practical experience and we look forward to ongoing collaboration with Apollo on these excellent programs.

      Content (DEM)
      • Primary health care: features; organization; global perspective.
      • Dimensions of continuity of care, and the family doctor as gatekeeper.
      • Problem oriented patient records.
      • Co ordination of care and making effective referrals.
      • Illness and disease: case studies.
      • Dealing with uncertainty.
      • Principles of health promotion activity.
      • The doctor’s role in prevention of smoking; sexually transmitted disease; any other relevant health problem(s).
      • Use of medical literature; computer skills, principles of quality assurance and practice audit.
      • Diagnosis in Emergency.
      • Maintenance of vital functions.
      • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
      • Prevention of complications in emergency situations.
      • Equipment and drugs for emergencies.
      • Actions to be taken in common emergencies of the following areas:
      o Cardiovascular
      o Respiratory
      o Pediatric
      o Psychiatric
      o Metabolic and endocrine
      o Obstetrics and gynaecology
      o Trauma
      o ENT and ophthalmology

      For further details, please contact:
      Mr. Pankaj Bhargava
      Email ID: Pankaj_b@medvarsity.com
      Contact No.: +91 8233 003007

  7. hi Dr Pagalavan,

    i am m.o currently.i agreed with you,that’s will be a real big problem for doctors who want to further study especially for those want to be surgeons.
    And according to your article,None of our hospitals are regconized as training centre for MRCS/FRCS.
    But i noticed ,some of my juniors hv passed their MRCS part 3 while working in malaysian hospitals and sadly the degree is not recognized by our country,Malaysia!Personally i think they should just go singapore to get subspeciatly training and dun waste their time for waiting to get into master programme for Years!!!

    • Yes, I was made to understand that now, you can sit for MRCS Part 3 in Malaysia but MRCS is not recognised in Malaysia as a surgical specialist training. In UK as well, it is not an exam to become a surgeon but just a entry exam.

      • Hi, just want to clarify on this bit

        Specialty training in the UK has been revamped. And currently there are different strata one has to go through.

        Fresh out of medical school one occupies a post as a JHO (junior houseofficer) and eventually moves on to become a SHO, a post one languishes in till you pass your fellowship exams, and recognized as SpR.

        Of late this has been revamped. After medical school one starts as a FY1 (foundation Yr 1 doctor), and completes FY2.

        Then starts Basic specialty training (BST), which is ST1 and ST2. One passes the MRCS, and other similar exams to complete the BST. Once completed, you will be awarded a certificate of completion of basic specialty training (CCBST). At this stage you are a surgeon in training.

        Then things become tricky. One has to compete for a national training number (NTN) which are limited by different deanery and regions in UK to follow up with Higher specialty training (HST) – ST3 – ST6. One attempts the FRCS at ST4 – ST6 on varying subspecialties, completing all being conferred the CCST (certificate of completion of specialty training) and eligible for a consultant post.

        In Malaysia currently, general surgical training is offered by UM, UKM, and USM. Training is structured, and candidates are mature on completion. The level on completing the MSurg is much higher than the MRCS (which has decoupled exams and training).
        At present, the Malaysian Urology Council is affiliated with the Royal College of Surgeons Glasgow, and the Urology exit candidates are awarded the FRCS (urol) Glasgow. The other subspecialties are yet to be affiliated with the RCS.

    • Hi, Dr., I’m a 4th year medical student from UPM . May I know is it possible for me to do my housemanship in Australia if I take USMLE?

  8. i heard from news on singapore tv,it seems that singapore hv started a specialist training programme which based on US training(now got 40 plus candicates).The medical graduates in singapore will straight away enter the specialist training programme without housemanship training for 1 year or 2 years (like in malaysia).i think it will definitely attract more and more malaysian doctors who hold singapore recognized degree especially those local graduates(UM,UKM).

    • Yes, singapore is now changing their training to residency training based on US system. There are pros and cons to it.

    • Not really true….It depends on the discipline. Quite a few specialties including Pathology (my own) require a year of rotations through clinical disciplines. It is just that it is now called Transitional Year rather than Housemanship.

  9. on January 4, 2011 at 7:08 AM | Reply Medical Student

    Dear Dr,
    I am a medical student at a private college in malaysia.
    1- Let say one doesnt get a place to enter master programme, is the any other option to be a surgeon?
    2- if a person passed all 3 MRCS papers, what he/she has to do to practise surgery?
    3- Can anyone sit for MRCP paper 1, 2 and 3 or there is certain and regulations??

    • your answers:

      1) NO, there are no other options unless you do your training overseases with recognised degree. You can visit the National Specislist Register website for further info on recognised postgraduate degree, http://www.nsr.com.my
      2) MRCS is not recognised as a speciality degree in Malaysia. No point doing it, unless you want to work/do further training in Singapore
      3) Anyone can sit for MRCP, no restriction unless you fail miserably.

  10. dear dr,
    im a district health clinic mo, working less than a yr. juz wanna to clarify bout de skt stuff.. do i have to achieve >85% marks in my skt for 3 consecutive years b4 applying de master programme? if one of them <85%, then how? eg: last year de mark is <85%, so does it mean that i have to re-accumulate it start from tis year 2011 till 2013 b4 i can apply?

  11. Hi ,

    Can a GP sit for MRCP exams in malaysia ?

    • You can sit for Part 1 and probably Part 2 theory but you need to do formal training for Part 3, as you need another FRCP holder to sign you in for the exams. Thus, you need to join government hspital again

    • Dr Pagalavan, does that mean you can only get the formal training in government hospitals? can it be done in the private sector? how many years of formal training is required?

      • Of course, medical training from housemanship till you become a specialist is done only in government hospitals. Private hospitals do not hire HOs or MOs. Please read this blog in detail

  12. on January 12, 2011 at 11:54 AM | Reply Medical student

    Dear Dr. Pagalavan,

    I’m final med. student frm gov. university. I planned to go overseas and is considering migrating to the UK since most of my family members have migrated.

    1. Do I still have to do Housemanship & compulsory service in Malaysia?

    Since gov. med degree is not recognized internationally (I’m not frm UKM/UM), does that mean there’s no way for me to do Housemanship overseas? any other equivalent services or entry exams available?

    2. What should I do to be recognized and be able to practice overseas? It’s pathetic to acknowledge that I can’t go anywhere with M’sia Med Degree.

    Thank you.

    • Unfortunately, none of the medical degrees from Malaysia are recognised in UK, including UM and UKM degrees. You need to sit for their General Medical Council exam known as PLAB (you can google it and check the exam format etc). I don’t think you can sit the exam over here in Malaysia. Furthermore, due to immigration laws implemented from 2007, UK citizens and EU citizens will be given priority in getting a job in UK. Thus, it is very difficult to get a job in UK by anyone not from UK or EU. That’s the reason why many Malaysians who were working in UK left back to Malaysia/Singapore and Australia, mainly Singapore!

      The other option will be to sit for USMLE (USA) and AMC (Australian) exams. But remember, all these takes time and money. So, it is better you start your housemanship first and then try to sit for one of these exams along the way! The job oppurtunities will likely be better in US or Australia. However, I also heard that certain states in Australia has no post for internship.

      If you intended to migrate, you should have done some other course which has better prospect in other countries. My friend who was a biochemist, easily got a job in Australia and migrated there, now already a PR. Only medicine has all these medical council recognition issues, and that’s the reason why I wrote these articles to make people realise that it is not as easy as you think!.

      My advise: please do your housemanship here. Try to sit for one of the exams, get a job first then resign and leave. So, it is a long process, sorry to say!

      • on January 12, 2011 at 5:46 PM Medical student

        Dear Dr. Pagalavan,

        I’m grateful for your reply.

        Yes, it is my mistake in the first place overlooked the issues related to medical council recognition. Despite my parents suggestions to do some other courses, I insisted on getting a medical degree as it is my so-called “ambition” since younger. The 2nd mistake was to get into a gov. uni which is not internationally recognized (unknowingly), too naive to believe that gov. uni are (should) offering equivalent standard of teaching/cert, since it is greatly sought after.

        The urges from family members and the wish to reunite with them, I have seriously considered to give up medicine since a few years back for a easier way to go out, but time has passed and I am still here! It’s tough to make the decision to quit from a medical school once entered, and it becomes more significant when there’s only a few months left to graduation. Sigh. I don’t think you’d say it’s wise to quit at this point too.

        Besides sitting for the exams mentioned above, what else should I do? I hope to specialize in surgery if possible (it might change, but not for now). May be I should put it this way. What is your advise, the best and fastest way to leave (perhaps in 5 years time) without having to sacrifice my career and family? My fiancé is a French. Should we consider other country i.e US, France, or even New Zealand if it’s too difficult to settle in UK in a short time.

        Thank you, you have help a lot.

      • It is very difficult to say which is the fastest and best way because it all depends whether you can pass the entry exams in 1 try or not. 5 years is a very short for anyone in medical field. As I said, start your housemanship here then try sitting for either USMLE or AMC exams. If you pass Part 1 of AMC exam, you can apply for a job in Australia or N.Zealand but you need to clear the Part 2 within 2 years. I am not sure about France, but you need to know French in order to work in France. Again, you need to sit for their medical council exam as well.
        As for surgical field, in Malaysia, the only option is Master’s programme. If not, try sitting for MRCS and after you clear your MRCS, try going to Singapore for further training. Once you have obtained your FRCS, you can try applying for a job in UK, if you are lucky. All these will definately take more than 5 years, likely 7-10 years.

  13. on January 13, 2011 at 6:28 AM | Reply Saravanan Periempam

    Hello Sir, i came across your blog recently and i have to admit it is extremely informative,interesting and intrusive. Please keep on writing for the betterment of the future of medical field.Its quite sad to see the scenario of medical field in Malaysia lately. Politicised, commercialised and at times demoralised in the eyes of public. we used to be and still are a very noble professionals. after all we live to make others live a better and happy life (thats my motto for being a dr). but nowadays we are taking some plunges due to “drs too many” and bolehland policy in medical education. but i hope this issues will come to and end and people especially parents and youngsters will have a shift in paradigm in choosing whats best for their career and not just flock the so called “distinguished fields”.
    Neway after some time quietly following your wiseful blog, i would like to ask some questions and i would greatly appreciate if you could reply them.

    1) im currently a HO in Alor Star hospital, i would like to sit for the Membership exams as i would not want to be left out in the race ( hope you understand sir what i mean).In your opinion is it wiseful to sit for the part 1 whilst in housemanship or should i wait till i complete my housemanship? Im currently in my 3rd posting and planning to sit for the part 1 in oct 2011.

    2) is there really a difference in between MRCP UK and MRCPI? i heard that in some the part 1 is tough and in some the clinical part is tough. And also the speciality exam in final part of MRCP UK introduced lately is it recognised in Malaysia as a subpeciality?

    3) your advice as a experienced consultant and fellow of RCP to young guns like me planning to sit for MRCP exams?

    i thank you very much for your kind effort. keep going sir

    • Thanks for the comment. Since you are going to complete the first year of housemanship, you can go ahead and sit for the Part 1 exam by end of this year. There is not much difference between MRCPI and MRCP UK. The speciality exam that was recently introduced after passing MRCP(UK) is not recognised as a subspecility in Malaysia since we have our own structured 3 years training for it.

      MRCP(UK) exam is really a challenging exam to sit eespecially when you are preparing for it while still working full time! The thing I like about this exams is that they still use real patients with clinical signs for their clinical OSCE exams. Many of the undergraduate exams which use to have real patients has been changed to simulated patients. Thus, I feel those students who underwent this new format of exams during their undergraduate degree will have difficulty passing MRCP.

  14. Hi…
    I’m a JPA scholar (dubious as to whether it’s lucky)for Russia medicine…and i heard a lot of incompetency concerning Russia medical graduates…So,what is your point of view on this…

    And i intended to be a physican, probably opting MRCP (UK), an is a Russia-graduated docotor entitled to opt for this…?? and who will be the proposer if I wish to opt for that..thx for answering..

    • Yes, it is well known fact that Russsian graduates are generally incompetent. However there are good ones as well. JPA only started sending students to Russia over the last few years and thus we have not seen good students graduating from Russia yet. Probably, the JPA students who are usually the top students from Malaysia will do better. Furthermore, by the time you graduate, all oversease students will have to sit for Medical Licensing Exams which will probably filter out the incompetent graduates.

      Anyone can sit for MRCP(UK) irrespective from where you graduate. The proposer will be an MRCP holder of atleast 8 years.

      • Dear Dr.,

        I have obtained offers for medicine and dentistry in Australia.Im equally interested in both.
        1)Whats your opinion based on your extensive knowledge and experience?Which is a wiser and better option?
        2)Financially(income),job opportunities and opportunity to specialise which do u think is better?
        3)which one do u think will give me a better opportunity to migrateto australia?
        The dentistry programme is 5yrs and they only take 25 international students while the medicine programme is 6 yrs and they take 70 foreign students.
        I would really hope and appreciate to hear your wise advice.

      • Are you a JPA scholar? If so, you need to come back home as you will be bonded.
        Otherwise, either one will do. I am not sure about prospect of dentistry in Australia but have not heard anything bad so far. As for medicine I am sure you would have read about internship crisis in Australia.

  15. Sir,

    I was wondering. What if i completed joint exam MMED (surgery)/IMRCS part 3 in singapore, could i come back malaysia and work in gov/private hospital as a specialist? Thx for answering

  16. Dear Sir, I graduated not too long ago from Airlangga State University (Indonesia). We also have Malaysian Students graduating from the same University, and they have to do 2 year of housemanship in Malaysia. Is there any way I can do the same housemanship as the Malaysian nationals do?

    Thank you Sir.

  17. Dear Sir, I graduated not too long ago from Airlangga State University (Indonesia). We also have Malaysian Students graduating from the same University, and they have to do 2 year of housemanship in Malaysia. Is there any way I can do the same housemanship as the Malaysian nationals do?

    Thank you Sir.

    • In Malaysia, in order for you to do housemanship, you need to joint the civil service. Unfortunately civil service is only for Malaysians. If you have PR then you may join on a contract basis. I had a Monash student who was a Singaporean but unable to do housemanship in Malaysia.

  18. Thank you for the answer, sir. What about continuing education? Eg. Taking medical residency? Should I sit for an exam or do some work?

    • As I have written in my said article, if you do not complete your housemanship there is nothing much you can do! There is no such thing as medical residency in Malaysia. You can’t do Master or postgraduate exams either. All will need full registration after completion of HO. You can do some other odd jobs not related to medicine at your own interest or do another undergraduate degree.

  19. Dear doctor,

    I am moving to Malaysia with my husband who is coming for a PhD in Management. I have searched the website of International Islamic University Malaysia. There they have MMed degree. I intend to join academics. Is it a good option to consider?

  20. I am planning to do M Med. Currently I am doing Mphil in Anatomy. My Bachelors degree is MBBS with housejob/ housemanship in surgery.

    • That depends on whether the degree is recognised in your country. If I am not mistaken, UIA do take some foreign students for the Master’s programme. But you must also understand that Master’s programme from Malaysia is not recognised in many countries.

      • on May 17, 2011 at 2:11 AM Assoc. Prof. Dr. Kamarul Ariffin Khalid

        Assalammu’alaikum Warda

        I am a lecturer in the Kulliyyah (Faculty) of Medicine, IIUM and has been working here since it first started in 1995.

        1) If your degree is not recognised in Malaysia you cannot register with the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) and, therefore, cannot go into any clinical postgraduate programs in Malaysia.

        2) For now, IIUM only has clinical postgraduate training programs in Orthopaedics and O&G. Other fields will be starting later with Internal Medicine and Surgery starting first.

        3) Apart from the above, IIUM also has Master in Medical Sciences in Anatomy, Physiology etc. These are not clinical programs but, instead, are research postgraduate degrees and you will probably need to do your PhD after that. This is a useful line to take only if you do not want to work with patients anymore and want to become a lecturer in a particular field of the basic medical sciences.

        4) A word of caution here, if you have only done housemanship in your country in surgery, you will be required to do housemanship in the other fields first before you can register with MMC. Of course, this is provided your medical degree is recognised by MMC as mentioned in 1) above.

        5) Another thing to consider, if your husband is doing his PhD in Management, it will be in the IIUM main campus in Gombak. But the Kulliyyah of Medicine is in Kuantan, over 200kms away!

  21. Dear Sir

    i’m a first year houseman and planning to take MRCS part A on sept 2011/april 2012. i graduate from ukm. i need ur advice regarding this exam since its really expensive

    first, when can i actually sit for MRCS? do i need a year ++ in HOship?

    second, do MRCS will benefit me in becoming a neurosurgeon?

    third, what is the next step after completing MRCS in becoming a neurosurgeon? (either local or overseas)

    fourth, if i plan to do local master program, how many years do i need before doing sub in neurosurg?

    fifth, MS(neurosurgery) USM, is it recognized by UK? can i practice it in other country as a neurosurgeon?

    sixth, how to apply for surgical prog in singapore?

    seventh, which way should i choose sir in becoming a surgeon? local or other way? if only i can choose ;(

    sorry for the lengthy q’s, really appreciate ur help sir

    tq so much

    • If I am not mistaken, you are now allowed to sit for MRCS Part A after your primary degree qualifications(MBBS/MD) but I will strongly advise you to take the exams towards the end of your housemanship. This is due to 2 reasons: to get clinical experience and to have more time to study.
      You must understand that even in UK, MRCS is NOT a surgical degree. It is just an entrance exam to surgical training. Thus, MRCS is not recognised in Malaysia as a surgical postgraduate degree. You will not get a neurosurgical training post in Malaysia with MRCS.
      So, if you want to become a neurosurgeon after MRCS, you either need to go to UK or Singapore to work as a registra in neurosurgical training programme.
      If you take local Master’s in Surgery programme which is a 4 year programme, you need to get into the neurosurgical training programme after your gazettment(6 months). The programme is another 3-4 years in MOH hospitals. This also depends on the availability of post and demand.
      MS(Neurosurgery) is not recognised anywhere else. In fact, none of our local Master’s programme is recognised anywhere else.

      After your MRCS, you can apply to singapore for further training. You can apply directly to the respective hospitals in singapore. Since you are from UKM, your degree is recognised in Singapore. So, you can even go there now and work as an MO while trying to sit for MRCS.

      Which way to choose depends on where you are going to work in the future! If you planning to work in Malaysia, then go through the local programme. If not, go for international recognised training. I will always suggest the 2nd for good future prospect.

      • Thank you sir for enlightn me with the info 🙂

        i’m thinking of international recognised training sir, but since all of us need to serve the gov for at least 2+3 years first (i’m not any under scholarship), maybe later i’ll be going to singapore

        but my concern is if i go there to complete my training, do i need to resign from the gov? the issue of brain drain is a hot topic in this country, do u think they will approve my intention sir?

        last but not least, i heard that the gov send out local specialist ( i mean from masters prog) to complete their subspecialty in overseas centre, does this mean that they acknowledge our standard or is there any other reason?

        i hope my q’s are not bothering u, thanks again sir 🙂

      • Since you are not under any scholarship, you can leave after completing your compulsory training, which is by the way 2+2 and not 2+3. YES, you need to resign from gov service. OR take “no pay leave” but this depends on your years of service, every one year of service entitles you for 1 month of no pay leave.

        Yes, MOH do send some of our specialist to overseas for their final year training BUT this is only as an *attachment and not a paid job(unless your degree is recognised)*! MOH pays for everyhting including your monthly salary. To do attachment in another country, you need not have recognition as it is just a temporary registration.


      • Dear Dr,

        So if i’m from a private university in Malaysia, my degree won’t be recognized by Singapore?

        If this is so, does it mean that i cannot take MRCS as well?

      • You can still do MRCS based on criteria set by MRCS. Pls visit their website

      • on June 10, 2013 at 3:15 PM Helal Barna

        Dear sir i am from Afghanistan and now i am housejob next year i am graduating from medical college and i want to become a cardiologist please guide me how is the procedure here in malaysia about specialisation.Thank you

      • If your degree is not recognised by MMC , you can’t work in Malaysia. Furthermore, Malaysia do not provide internship/housejob for foreigners unless you are married to a local.

  22. I regret becoming a doctor. There is non-stop to studying and exams. 5 years of med school and a decade to get a speciality. This is a torture. And what is more bothering most of our degrees and master programmes are not recognised elsewhere. If only I have graduated elsewhere.

  23. Greetings Dr

    Coming back to the MRCP issue, are you aware that there is a requirement that states that one need to be in the internal medicine for at least 4 years, of which one year will be at least post MRCP before we can proceed with the pre-gazettement of 6 months. Meaning to say if one manage to pass MRCP after 2 years in internal medicine as MO, he will actually need to wait to be gazetted after 2 and half years and not the usual 18 months. Is it true, and are there any alternatives? What is your say on this?

    • Yes, it is true and the rule has been there for many years. However, it usually takes about 4 years for you to complete all 3 parts of MRCP. So, it does not make much difference when it comes to gazettment. Furthermore, I still feel that you need at least 4-5 years of internal medicine training to be competent in general medicine. Passing MRCP does not make you a good physician if you do not get adequate training.

      • Well, true it is usually takes 3 to 4 years. For some, it takes longer. But we do have few who stands out, and completed it in 2 years. So what would your advice be, to stay on and wait longer before you can be gazetted, or leave elsewhere (for which what is your recommendation) so that you can advance faster.

      • It is better to wait till you are gazetted as a specialist before leaving elswhwhere. If not , when you come back, you will not be recognised as a General physician! You will only be recognised as a subspecialist , for example : a cardiologist but not internal medicine!

      • But in this era where everyone is seeking for subspecialist treatment, do u forsee that there will come a time where general physician will have limited role in treatment of patient? I must agree that general physician is still vital to make the diagnosis in the first place. But with more subspecialists will their role be limited in term of treatment especially in major towns?
        Is this the trend in other countries such as spore?

      • The era you are talking about will take many more years to happen in Malaysia. In the private sector, no matter what subspecialist you are, you will still need to manage general medical cases. Thus, it is important to be gazetted as a General Physician. Even in Singapore, you need to complete basic medical training before going into subspecialist training. Even in government hospitals, general physicians are still needed especially in smaller towns and the bigger hospitals may just become referral hospitals in the future. In singapore and many other countries, the subspecialist still need to take care of general medical cases but they are usually discharged to Family Physicians Specialist for further follow-up. This system is so much underdeveloped in our country.

  24. Dear Sir,

    Thank you so much for discussing the problems that are currently happening in our country. It has certainly made me think twice about what steps i should take in getting internationally recognised qualifications.

    I am a first year houseman and am interested in dermatology. I need your advice on this matter. There are programmes such as MSc in Clinical Dermatology offered in UK. Can i directly enrol for this after i complete my MO or would i still have to do MRCP first before going into dermatology?

    My fiance is an orthopedic surgeon from Indonesia. Is there any way for him to practise in Malaysia? Or would he have to take a subspecialty from an internationally recognised training centre to able to do so?

    • Msc in Clinical Dermatology is not a postgradate degree. Master’s in Science degrees from UK and even Australia are research based degrees and not clinical based degree. If I am not mistaken, NSR do not recognise these degrees as a clinical postgraduate degree. However, if you do have MRCP, then the NSR or MOH may consider you for gazettment as a dermatologist. Some of these Master’s degree from UK is only a 1 year programme whereas the dermatology training in Malaysia is a 3 year programme. So, it is better to do MRCP because in Malaysia you need MRCP or Master’s in Medicine before doing Dermatology.

      For your fiancee to practise in Malaysia, his degree need to be recognised in Malaysia, both his undergraduate and postgraduate degree. If it is recognised, then he can apply to MOH for a job on contract basis but he can be sent anywhere in Malaysia to work.

  25. Dear Dr,

    I am currently serving my housemanship in malaysia. I have already passed my AMC part 1 before i started my housemanship.
    In the current climate, is it advisable to leave straight after housemanship and getting a position as a MO in aus and work towards a specialty or do you think i should complete my compulsary service as a MO in malaysia first. I am still unsure if i would want to return to malaysia to work, so really do not want to burn any bridges. Thank you.


    • My advise would be for you to go to Australia after your housemanship over here. Don’t worry about compulsory service as doctors who are returniing after 10 years oversease are now exempted from compulsory service. Furthermore, if at all you return to Malaysia and they insist on compulsory service, it is just another 2 years of work with the government.

      • Dear Dr Pagalavan,

        I am a final year MBBS student with hopes of sitting for the AMC exams. I plan to do the Part 1 after my final exams (like Jo mentioned).
        Am I required to go to Australia for clinical training prior to sitting for Part 2 & 3?
        And within how many years does one have to complete Part 2 & 3 after doing Part 1?

        Thank You for your advice sir.

      • You can sit for Part 2 in Singapore if I am not mistaken. You can do it immediately after your Part 1. However, it does cost a lot of money!! Usually, you are given 2 years after Part 1 to complete your Part 2. You can visit AMC website for further info.

  26. hi doctor,

    im an orthopedic mo
    for the past 4 years..joint as ho in 2005
    i managed to pass part 1 and 2 mrcs this yr
    im planning to sit for part 3..but i understand they don’t have one in malaysia..does penang provide?
    im also accepted for um orthopedic masters programme this june.

    should i complete my mrcs..or just concentrate on part one local masters exam..or take both…my passion is in orthopedic…dilemma.

  27. Hi,
    I just happened to visit your blog by chance. But found it very honest.
    I have a question. I am a foreigner who recently has been accepted by USM for MMed Opthal. I was told by them that as a specialist I would be able to practice after the degree is completed. However, I was surprised when I read one of your lines that its not recoznized anywhere but a few places.
    So can you please tell me where in the world is this degree valid and does singapore accept it?Do let me know, else I will waste four years for nothing, apart from alot of money.

    • As far as I know, Master’s from Malaysia is not recognised elsewhere except for some Middle East countries. You should ask the university which country recognises their Master’s programme! Singapore do not recognise Master’s unless you have FRCP etc.

  28. Hi thanks for your reply, surprising thing is they told me, that you can practice anywhere as a speacialist. But thanks again. Really appreciate it.

    • Probably they are talking about working anywhere in malaysia! I can bet you that you can’t work in Singapore, Australia, UK and US as a specialist! Who told you this fact? some clerk in the office?

  29. hi sir,
    i have completed my housemanship with mbbs from india and wish to work and take on postgraduate course in singapore. since my degree is not recognised in singapore what should be my further move to acquire a job there and move on with further studies. please advise.

  30. dear sir…
    thanks for you for this information
    I passed part 1 and part 2 MRCS in oversea in sudan
    now i want to go to singapore for trainining program but i donot know how ??????please tell me how can i send my certificate ??? and where can i find this program in website?
    can i find a job ? and in the program of training , i will pay or get a sallery in this job ???????/

  31. Hi Dr Pagalavan,

    thank you very much for highlighting the scanty career opportunity in our country. i reallly hope MOH will address the issues of nadequacy of proper training centers here.

    im interested in pursuing my career in opthalmology, hoping to get into postgraduate training in Tun Hussein Onn Eye Hospital. just wondering if you know any available scholarship for postgraduate training in malaysia..

    Thank you..

    • First of all, in order for you to do opthalmology, you need to get into the Master’s programme. If I am not mistaken only UM,USM, UKM offers Master’s in Opthalmology. It is compulsory for you to take the JPA scholarship the moment you are accepted into Master’s programme. You will be bonded for 5-7 years depending whether it is an open or close system. Tun Hussein Onn hospital do not except any direct postgraduate students as far as I know. You may ask the university whether they can allow you to do some attachment in Tun Hussein Onn hospital.

  32. salam Dr Pagal,

    I recently resigned from gov. doing GP. (self sponsored degree from local uni). interested in doing FRACGP. Obviously I cant do FMS unless joining any uni for trainee. I would like to ask your opinion about the DFM (a compulsory PJJ) by AFPM and future risk and benefit b doing so. Thanks

    • FRACGP was not recognised by the government untill about 2 years ago. However, in order for the government to recognise FRACGP, they wanted it to be a 4 year programme. That how AFPM came up with the 4 year programme before sitting for the FRACGP exams. In between, they give you the Diploma/DFM. As a GP I think it is important for you to pursue this programme as what our DG has been saying. THis is because in the future when the government introduces national health financing programme under 1Care system, GPs with DFM and FRACGP may be given priority.

    • dr LINA,

      Can you tell me what is the process to resign from gov hosp?Do i need to complete compulsory service first (which is 2 + 2)? Any idea can i resign before complete compulsory service?

    • Dear Consultant doc
      i,m also at a situation same with dr lina. but the difference is i’m still at
      the government site as medical officer in district clinic. i’m real interested
      in postgraduate study.which one better FRACGP or FMS (local uni) ??

      • FRACGP is more well recognised compared to FMS. FMS is a more structured programme compared to FRACGP being run by AFPM. The AFPM programme is a self directed learning programme where you need to take your own initiative to do rotation.

  33. Dear Dr. Pagalavan,

    Thanks for your nice sharing. I am a fresh graduate, will start my housemanship training soon. I have a doubt regarding the proposer that u had mentioned for MRCP exam, do we need a proposer for all three parts of exam?


  34. Good day 🙂

    What are Postgraduate programme (not in local) that recognised by Malaysia and Singapore?


  35. Hi Pagalavan Letchumanan,
    Wish would you recommend the place to study.. Russia or IMU / Taylors / Monash Malaysia..? I am still considering it.. I would like to graduate and do Housemanship in Malaysia then specialize in some field.. I heard rumors that graduates from russia cant specialize due to low standards.. thanks for the reply

    • I would suggest MOnash since it is recognised in Australia and new zealand. Taylors can arrange for you to sit for AMC or USMLE exams but their degree is not recognised elsewhere. Forget about russia. IMU is OK if you do not intend to migrate or work elsewhere.

      • Hi Pagalavan,

        I really enjoy your website and very honest opinions.

        To Kev,
        I was an IMU medical student and continued medical school in Canada and I will be a cardiologist here in Canada very soon. Decision making could be difficult, pick a school that you think will give you a better opportunity in the future, in Malaysia or Australia or North Americas. I remembered almost 10 years ago I was in similar situation like you, things will work out eventually…. is all HARDWORKING AND DETERMINATION!!!!
        I like the American system (same as in Canada), you go straight to the specialty that you like after medical school, except Internal medicine subspecialties where you must spend 3 years in internal medicine and write the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada exam earning FRCPC in IM and then subspecialty exam.

  36. Thanks for the reply.. I am trying to convince my parents to not to send me to russia.. So many negative feedbacks from doctors.. What about taylors twinning or IMU- twinning? it is worth the money?

    • Twinning is better depending where you are graduating from. Choose a well known foreign university but remember: which university you get for your twinning depends on your performance in exams. It is not a guranteed seat!

  37. Studying in Monash malaysia maybe would be my first choice.. taylors mbbs degree is quite new.. Is there any other option in Malaysia? Studying in singapore is so impossible.. my friend had 4.0 in stpm cant even get a seat in NUS

  38. I just want to study and get my degree and specialize in other place and work in other place.. just kinda hard to choose.. with the high education fees..

  39. Thanks for the advice dr.. ^^

  40. I just want to ask.. if specialize in carido or neuro, you have to go through MRCP exam or how is the procedure..

  41. Dr Pagalavan, Mine to explain the whole process… Dont quite understand with so many abbreviation like yours such FRCP, etc Thanks ^^

  42. Hi dr pagalaven, just want to ask if i finished the course for medicine.. if i want to master medicine in overseas.. will i have to apply for No objection certificate?

  43. NOC is a crap ar.. they should just close down all the so-called foundation course.. btw if doing IMU-twinning in overseas do i still need NOC because in IMU website that did not stated anything about NOC

  44. Dr,
    I am a malaysian who just passed my MBBS from Mymensigh medical college, Bangladesh and have return back to malaysia. How do i apply to do my housemanship in Ireland please

  45. Dear Dr, thanks for your enlightening and frank explanation of postgraduate training. Much has been said about MRCP and MRCS. I’m a medical student currently interested in psychiatry and have a few questions.
    1) For psychiatry is the local masters programme the only way to go?
    2) What are your thoughts on the job prospects and career in psychiatry in Malaysia?

    • Yes, Master’s is the only way. The prospect is good but unfortunately, most of the time you will be stuck in government service since the awareness of mental health among Malaysian are still low. Furthermore, most of the psychiatry drugs are too expensive !

  46. Dear Dr Pagalavan,

    I’m a JPA scholar doing my final year of med in Australia. As I’ll be returning home early next year to start my housemanship, I found your articles insightful and would like to ask a few questions:

    1. Recent news suggest the possibility of a new exam for all returning overseas graduates (including those from approved unis). Would you happen to know by any chance when this exam may potentially be enforced and if I may be affected by it?

    2. What are the factors that are taken into consideration when the ministry decides where to post you to? I know you recommend us not to get married during our housemanship but if my boyfriend (who’s a Singaporean and will be mainly based in Singapore during my 10 years of bond) and I do get married, does that increase my chance of a posting in, say, JB? We have been discussing marriage and how we may plan out some things in the future and this is one of the issues we’ve been talking about.

    3. I’m considering a possible route of psychiatry or public health / med admin in the future. How does this work out in Malaysia? Are all training to be done in KL and no where else? How early after housemanship can I start this advanced training / education and how long does it usually take?

    4. If after my 10 years of bond I decide to move to Singapore and work there, which of my med qualifications will be recognized? I know that at the very least my basic undergrad med degree will be recognized but what about my housemanship and advanced training? Would I need to start all over again, back to being an intern? Or are there some exams that I can take that will allow me to resume usual work so long as I pass?

    5. Considering my 10-year bond as well as “the Singaporean factor” mentioned earlier, do you have any other tips or suggestions that may be of help to me?

    Thank you so much for patiently reading through my questions. I hope to hear from you soon and thank you in advance for your reply.

    • 1) you will not be affected as the medical act will be tabled in parliment this JUly for amendment. For it to be approved and implemented will easily take another year and furthermore, it may only affect students who are about to do medicine and not those who are already doing.

      2) Marriage is no guarantee that you will be posted to JB. Since there are huge number of housemen reporting every year now, the MOH may send you wherever there is a vacant post for housemanship. And as I have said before, getting married during housemanship is not a good idea especially if you want to get pregnant.

      3) all the speciality that you have listed above need local Master’s programme. it can be done as an off campus programme in MOH hospitals. Like Master’s in psychiatry can be done 3 years in MOH hospital and the final year in university hospital. As for public health, it is usually 2+2. JB hospital is recognised as a training hospital for psychiatry by UM/UKM. You need to finish 2 years of HO and 1 year of MO to be eligible to apply for Master’s programme(which is a 4 year programme). No guarantee you will get it .

      4) Only your undergraduate degree will be recognised. Master’s from Malaysia is not recognised. Housemanship is recognised. Also remember that when you do local Master’s programme, you will be further bonded for 5-7 years! It is up to the Singapore specialist registry to decide whether they can recognise you as a specialist. At the most they may take you in as a registra.

      5) Since you are bonded, you have no choice but to work in Malaysia. If not I would suggest you to go to Singapore for further training.

  47. Dear Sir,

    Can we sit for MRCP Part 1 during the final year of MD? MD is my second degree after completing my first degree of basic sciences 2 years ago.

  48. Hi Dr Pagalavan,

    I’m now currently in my final year as a medical student in a private medical school in Malaysia.

    I’m aware that only UKM & UM medical degrees are recognized in Singapore.

    Is there any means/possibilities (entrance exam..etc) where i can do my housemanship in Singapore?

    Thank you.


  49. hi doctor,
    i’m a fifth year medical student of alexandria university,egypt..

    1.i’m quite mixed up with the post housemanship part…
    do u mean we have two choices after completing the housemanship which is either to further in local master programme or MRCP(UK)..

    2.after completing all 3 parts of MRCP,does that mean they r specialist already?

    3.can we take the MRCP exam in UK?at least the part 3..

  50. Thx Dr for the article… I read all the responses above and got greatly demoralized by the prospect in M’sia of doing postgraduate in medical field. Some of my friends and seniors told me that I should not figure it out what to do in postgraduate as time when I finished my housemanship and MOship, a route will be there. In roder not to be disappointed, they just asked me to accept whatever offer. Well, maybe there’re right.

    Regarding the MS(Neurosurgery)(USM) that sir you have just mentioned above, u mean one who get into the programme will not have to undergo Gen.Surgery/ MRCS b4 getting the training in Neurosurgery? Wow that is fantastic! I googled it jz nw and found out it was there, however, I also noticed 1 of the entry requirement is to have MRCS/ FRCS equivalent, and hence my doubt…? Sir could u enlighten on this issue if I’m wronged?

    Thx! Btw, I’m ur frequent reader! This blog is just fantastic.

    • As far as I know, I have seen doctors who do not have MRCS who got a place for Master’s in neurosurgery. However, you need certain number of years of experience in general surgery before being accepted into this programme. Furthermore, the number of seats are very limited, if I am not mistaken usually around 5-7 students per year! Please also remember that it is not recognised elsewhere.

      • Yes Sir, I’m a typical Malaysian who love the culture in M’sia. I would like to serve the nation since I was born here and received medical degree here paid by the tax payers. A total of RM 151,800 has been invested in my university to make me a doctor, I find no reason not to serve my country. I understand the limited seats available, however, that is still a thrilling news that USM offers such a postgraduate degree. I just couldn’t understand why they just can’t make Cardiothoracic and Plastic Surgery as a 4 years training, by skipping Gen Surgery. This will shorten the time for our country to produce young neurosurgeons and cardiothoracic surgeons. I have many of my teaching lecturers telling me in face knowledge in Gen Surgery has not much to do with their subspecialty currently, which are neurosurgery and cardiothoracic.

      • I admire your patriotism to the country but you will know what I am talking about once you get into the system. If I am not mistaken there is Master’s in Plastic surgery by USM as well. There are pros and cons in doing subspeciality directly. Whatever it is you still need basic general surgery knowledge before doing sub.

        I presume you are just a student and things will change once you start working. I had many colleagues who wanted to become this and that but ended up as GPs. So don’t think about postgraduate untill you start working!!

      • Yes, I found out plastic and reconstructive surgery also in USM websites. Yes, I agree that some might end up as GP. However, in my era when I come out and need to compete with others 5999 graduates, becoming a GP is not an option. We can see >2 clinics per street nw. Our lecturer told us nowadays we might need to do M.Med Fam b4 becoming a GP. Anyway, thx Dr for enlightening me regarding this issue. Btw, it’s really hard not to think abt postgraduate by lookin at the prospect M’sia is having nw.

    • Hi Cy,

      I echo some thoughts which are shared by many others. Neurosurgery, cardiothoracic and Plastic surgery are surgical subspecialties. There is a reason why one has to go through general surgery prior.

      General surgery builds strong surgical fundamentals, without which one has a wide gap to bridge in jumping straight to subspecialty.

      The current trend to expedite the process is a gimmick which is counter productive in the long run. You can become a neurosurgeon via the USM program, but the trainer and the training is dubious at best.

      And I really hope you have decided on neurosurgery after having worked in the rotation, for if you have not, you will be very disappointed by the outcome in some cases.

      Lastly dont be demoralized, and all the best!

      • on May 17, 2011 at 2:39 AM Assoc. Prof. Dr. Kamarul Ariffin Khalid

        Hi there Cy,

        What you mentioned about GP is a common misconception. The clinics we have now are all congregated in the housing areas in the big cities only. Please find below some information from a colleagued of mine about the state of Primary Health Care in Malaysia. She wrote it in January this year.

        “In addressing issue d) Human resource development and training – it is pivotal to note that Malaysia needs 33,000 trained primary care physicians (PCPs) to care for the 28 million population and to become effective gatekeepers under 1Care system.

        Currently, there are less then 400 qualified PCPs registered with the NSR. We have approximately 8000 doctors practising in primary care who need to be trained (‘grandfather clause’ will be applied to those above certain age, say 50).

        Alternatively, the 2-year Diploma in Family Medicine (DFM) programme run by the AFPM will serve as the required entry qualification into primary care. Go to http://www.afpm.org.my/omni/omni/portal/135/r/ for more details about this.

        Associate Professor Dr Anis Safura Ramli
        Head of Primary Care Medicine Discipline
        Faculty of Medicine

      • The main problem in Malaysia is a unstructured primary health care system. We have both the government and private sector running primary care in Malaysia. Thus, if we are talking about 33 000 trained primary care physicians, does this include all the doctors in KLinik Kesihatan and Polikliniks run by the government ? If we include these doctors in government clinics, what will the figure be at the moment. I am sure it will be more than 8000 and even higher in the near future due to the glut.

  51. Hi Dr. Pagalavan

    Thank you for a very informative blog. In short, generally how long would it take from the time a medical student graduates to the time he or she becomes a government-recognized specialist? Let’s use a surgical specialty like neurosurgery and a medical specialty like neurology.

  52. Dear Dr,
    Thank you so much for your sharings!
    I’m currently a medical student in a gov uni.
    I’m interested in Anaesthesiology but it is not a posting available during undergraduate study. How about during housemanship?
    What is the process and requirement of becoming an anaesthesiologist?
    Thank you =)

  53. on April 25, 2011 at 12:38 PM | Reply Rana Atinder Sidhu

    Sir, I’m just curious. What’s the difference between MRCP and FRCS?

  54. Hi…I’m district MO.. I jus want to know how about if I want2 b a lecture at medical school.. Such as teach physiology or pharmacy.. Where I can apply n how.. Tq

    • As far as I know, to be a medical lecturer, you need to have a postgraduate degree. Definately you cannot be a pharmacy lecturer but for physiology, you need to have Master’s in Physiology. IN order for you to become a preclinical lecturer, you need Bachelor degree in science like biochemistry, microbiology etc. However, I was made to understand that private colleges do employ medical dcotors(MOs) to teach science students and some non clinical based teaching like procedures/ethics etc.

    • on May 17, 2011 at 3:02 AM | Reply Assoc. Prof. Dr. Kamarul Ariffin Khalid

      Assalammu’alaikum Sharifah,

      If you are interested to become a lecturer in the basic medical sciences you will need to do a Masters (2-3 years commonly) followed by PhD (3-4 years usually) in the field that you choose, such as anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, biochemistry, parasitology, immunology etc.

      Since you already have an MBBS or similar, being a district MO, you should be able to enter into the Master/PhD in medical sciences courses. Please note that these are research +/- coursework programs so you must learn how to do basic science research in the laboratories.

      You can apply to become a basic medical science lecturer in any medical school in Malaysia. With many of the public medical schools such as UKM, UIA, UiTM etc they will usually take you in as their trainee once you apply for and get into a suitable Masters/PhD course in any university that offer the course. I have an ex-student (MBBS graduate) who did his Masters in Anatomy in Glasgow and is now continuing with his PhD there also. His wife (also MBBS graduate) is doing a PhD in Physiology at the same place.

      To be a medical lecturer I would advise that you take the time off to go and see the relevant Head of Department (HOD) or Dean at the university you want to work with. This is because for some basic medical science fields, like Physiology and Anatomy , there might already be many trainees under the Department/Faculty but others, like histopathology, biochem etc, they are really short in. So they may not want to have another person doing Physiology also. This situation is different for every Faculty that you go to, so you might need to make an appointment to go and meet a few HODs/Deans at other universities.

      Also, it is possible for you to be a basic medical science lecturer in another faculty. Take my ex-student and his wife that I mentioned above. They are both trainee lecturers under the Kulliyyah (Faculty) of Pharmacy in UIA.

      Assoc. Prof. Dr. Kamarul Ariffin Khalid
      Department of Orthopaedics

  55. hello dr.
    i’ve just completed my medical degree and will be joining houseman soon..i would like to be a gastroentologist..but i would like to take a physicians degree first…to your opinion, which specializing degree should i take? MRcP or Masters?? if MRcP, when should i sit for paper 1?? can i sit for it by this year?? dr..what is your advice ???

  56. I am impressed with your blog.

    I am currently a MOH doctor who is looking to apply for a trainee lecturer post in orthopaedics in any public university of Malaysia. I believe I will stand a better chance of becoming an ortho surgeon eventually since the competition to get into masters is fierce nowadays.

    please kindly advise.

    Thank you.

    • Ortho is one of the most competitive Master’s programme. Furthermore, lecturer training programme in some university is only open for bumis.

    • on May 17, 2011 at 3:12 AM | Reply Assoc. Prof. Dr. Kamarul Ariffin Khalid

      Dear Lim

      1) Practically all of the public universities with a medical faculty will be interested in getting a trainee lecturer for Orthopaedics. this is because of the high attrition rate of ortho surgeons from the public universities. Just go and see the Ortho HODs in an public university of your choice to inquire about the possibility of becoming their trainee lecturer.

      2) The Ortho Masters program under the Malaysian Orthopaedics Conjoint Board is only available in UKM, USM, UM and UIA so far. So you will have to apply to do your Ortho Masters in either one of these universities through the central UPU (Unit Pusat Universiti)

      3) My department in UIA (Universiti Islam Antarabangsa) have a trainee in his 3rd year of the Orthos Masters program by the name of Goh Kang Liang. We also have a few other non-bumi lecturers and trainees in the other departments. It is up to you which university you want to work with. Just go and ask if they would want to take you in.

      Assoc. Prof. Dr. Kamarul Ariffin Khalid
      Department of Orthopaedics,

      • Prof Dr. Kamarul:

        Thank you for your reply and being so helpful.

        I had thought of applying for UIA ortho since last year. Unfortunately I have no contact. I am wondering if I could speak to you in details regarding this.


      • on May 19, 2011 at 2:35 AM Assoc. Prof. Dr. Kamarul Ariffin Khalid

        Hi Lim,
        You can contact me through email at k.ariffin@iium.edu.my.
        Kind regards,
        Assoc. Prof. Dr. Kamarul Ariffin Khalid
        Department of Orthopaedics,

  57. Dear Dr Pagalavan,
    I’m in the local masters programme for orthpaedics.Upon completion is there any options or qualifying exams that i can sit for in order to practice in Australia or Uk?
    Thank you


    • Master’s is not recognised. You may get a job as a registra if you are lucky. The best is to sit the AMC exam but it is not easy after doing only ortho for so long. The other option is to contact their specialist colleges for further info. They may have some criteria to recognise you as a specialist especially if it is in the area of need.

    • on May 17, 2011 at 3:22 AM | Reply Assoc. Prof. Dr. Kamarul Ariffin Khalid

      Hi Invictus.

      Nope, you can’t work as an ortho surgeon in Australia even with getting the Masters.

      If you did not get your MBBS from Australia you will need to take the AMC (Australian Medical Council) exams first. After passing that than only can you get registration with the medical board to work as a doctor. You will still need to apply for and do the Orthoapedics training program here before you can be recognised as an ortho surgeon by the Australian Orthoapedic Association (AOA); and, despite having your Ortho Masters you will still have to go through 4 years the ortho training program and take the exit exam.

      For UK, as have been mentioned by Dr. Pagavalan a few times before, unless you are a citizen of UK or the EU countries you will not be able to get a working visa from the British Home Office. Thus you cannot even go into the ortho training program there, let alone work as an ortho surgeon.

      Assoc. Prof. Dr. Kamarul Ariffin Khalid
      Department of Orthopaedics

  58. Can’t decide whether to choose AIMST or Taylor (local) for MBBS degree. What about UCSI? Please advise, tq.

    • on May 17, 2011 at 3:28 AM | Reply Assoc. Prof. Dr. Kamarul Ariffin Khalid

      You also need to see which overseas medical school that the private medical school is affiliated with.

      IMU – with most of the medical schools in Ireland and many others in UK and Australia

      Royal College of Medicine Perak – with Sheffield University, if I am not mistaken

      Penang Medical College – with the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), Dublin

      Monash Malaysia – with Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

      The above are about the only private medical schools in Malaysia that I would recommend anybody to go to.

      Assoc. Prof. Dr. Kamarul Ariffin Khalid
      Department of Orthopaedics

  59. on May 16, 2011 at 3:10 PM | Reply Medical Student

    Sir, do you have any opinion (or have u heard anyting) about royal college of medicine perak (under UniKL). thank u sir.

  60. Greetings sir..

    I am a final year medical student from Melaka-Manipal Medical College under JPA scholarship. I would like to ask you some questions and to clarify some points.

    1) What is your opinion regarding this college, its degree, and the doctors it produces?

    2) Is it true that when we become an M.O we would be sent to any department as the hospital like and we cannot simply ask the department that we want?

    3) If that is true, does having e.g. MRCS part 1 can help us to become an M.O in e.g. surgery department?

    Actually I’m very confused right now. I tried to plan what to do after completing MBBS….after reading your article, this is what I came up with..

    MBBS–>H.O–>MRCS part 1 (during 2nd year H.O)–>M.O Surgery–>try to complete MRCS part 2&3 (during M.O)
    [All of which will be done in Malaysia]

    That’s all. Then I blanked. I cannot do housemanship in Singapore since they don’t recognize my degree. I also have to serve in government hospital for 10 years due to the agreement upon agreeing to receive JPA scholarship. I really want to do Surgery, and I also don’t want to be a chronic M.O. Can you please help me sir…Thank you.


    • 1) Personally, I don’t see that many students who are reliable from your college. There were good ones and bad ones as well. I think it all depends on the entry qualifications and attitude.

      2) yes! In fact, with the current glut, all doctors will be sent to district/rural postings after houisemanship. After 1 year in rural postings, you can request to come back to the hospital. And remember, you may not end up in the same state after housemanship. Most people will be transferred to another state after housemanship for district /rural postings. e.g: I did my HO in Ipoh but was transferred to Pontian distrist hospital after that. That’s how I landed in Johor! I heard majority of doctors who are finishing housemanship are going to be sent to Sabah and Sarawak from this year onwards.

      3) NO and yes. You will still need to do your rural posting first. After that, you may request to your state pengarah to transfer you to a general hospital for your surgical training and having MRCS Part 1 may help. BUT it all depends on availability of post in the respective department and of course, cables!!

      4) MRCS is NOT recognised in Malaysia as a specialist degree and thus there is no point doing it unless you are planning to go to Singapore or UK. The only option if you want to become a surgeon is to do local Master’s Programme. So, you can’t become a surgeon in Malaysia by doing MRCS.

      The real life of a MOH doctor is not as simple as the pathway that you had created. You can apply for your Master’s after 3 years of service , including HO.

  61. dear sir,
    thks for wonderful information you provide in ur blog…seriously i wish i had read this when i was a medical student or even before that
    coming to me im a mo in district hospital graduated frm a university( melaka manipal twinning programme) which is not recognised in india.my husband is an indian , kid malaysian and im plnning to settle there
    i have few questions:
    1)since i still have one more year of compulsory service is it advisable to quit the job now n if at all i cum back later and rejoin in contract basis will i have to do housemanship al over again
    2)if at all i join masters programe in local u,its not recognise in india then what should i do?what r the others options available
    3)if i were to quit n work (even in hospital administration in india what should i do…i understand that i cant even sit for the indian entrance test as im not an indian citizenship
    thk you sir

    • 1) if you had completed housemanship, there is no need to redo housemanship but you still need to complete the remaining years of compulsory service.

      2) no other options, you need to work in Malaysia unless India is willing to recognised you as a specialist.

      3) I am really not sure what you can do, probably do another course in India?

  62. on May 22, 2011 at 10:10 AM | Reply needing enlightenment

    Dear Sir,

    I have to congratulate you for creating this very informative thread.

    I am a paediatric MO for about a year now. I have passed MRCPCH Part 1 and 2. I am comtemplating in attempting the Clinicals sometime very soon, say February next year.

    I had been receiving differing views on specialist gazettement post MRCPCH and this truly messed up my thoughts.

    I have heard before that one needs to be in the paediatric field for 4 years before one can be fully gazetted as a practising paediatrician. On top of that, one needs to be in training for 18months after passing MRCPCH Clinicals to be gazetted. Does this 18months counted in the 4 years?

    “MD” in your earlier thread did mention this a little bit. However, I am still unclear on this. What is “pre gazettement” of 6 months?

    Can you explain on the pathway one undertakes in order to be a fully gazetted MRCPCH-qualified paediatrician, and how long does all this take?

    Millions of thanks to you and congratulations again…

    • Generally it is 18months post passing the final exam, 1 year of training and 6 months of gazettement process.

      However, if you do not have adequate training, MOH may extend your post MRCPH training period. Generally most people would have been in the respective department for atleast 3 years before they pass MRCPH thus additional 1 year post MRCPCH will be adequate.

  63. Dear Dr,

    First of all, thank you for constantly giving input on the current situation.

    I am a medical student in the uk (imu twinning programme) and i’m interested to come back to Malaysia one day (after specializing)……Please excuse me for asking some silly questions below:

    1. Is FRCS recognized as a specialist degree in Malaysia?

    2. Are there any ways that i can straight away get the FRCS without getting the MRCS first?

    3. In your opinion, which medical/surgical specialty is lacking doctors now?

    4. In your previous post, you mainly mentioned about things pertaining to junior doctors, but are the specialists/consultants treated well in Malaysia?

    5. Lastly, what are your opinions on the doctors that imu produces?

    Thanks a lot sir!

    • 1) FRCS is recognised in Malaysia
      2) Nope, you need MRCS to enter surgical training programme in UK after which you will receive FRCS.
      3) In surgical: neurosurgery (you will hate your life), plastic, Cardiothoracic, oncology. For medical: Haematology, Oncology, Radionuclear physician, endocrinology, rheumatology, neurology
      4) nope!
      5) IMU use to be good but lately I have been seeing poor products as well. Probably because there were the first private medical school before and thus got all the good students. However with too many medical schools now, the quality of students getting into their medical school may not be that great!

      • Dr Pagalavan, I’m an avid reader of your blog and came across this comment on IMU.

        My younger sister is about to finish her A-Levels and is planning to join the Dentistry program at IMU this year. She has received her conditional offer so far.

        What is your opinion on IMU’s Dentistry program please?
        Should she accept the offer Sir?

        Thank You Dr Pagalavan.

      • IMU dentistry programme only started in 2008, which means they have not produced any graduates yet. Thus, it is difficult to comment on the quality of products. However, they have 2 types of programme, the local programme which is NOt internationally recognised and the twinning programme which is a better option if you got money.

      • Thanks for the advice on IMU’s Dentistry Programme Dr Pagalavan!

        Sir, how would you compare Manipal’s Dentistry Programme with IMU’s Dentistry (if possible!) …my mum is wondering actually for my little sister.

        Really appreciate your feedback Dr, thank you.
        Have a pleasant weekend!

      • it also started only in 2009 and thus I can;t comment much about their quality. Their medical graduates quality is questionable, I would rather choose IMU than MMMC.

  64. Dear Dr,

    I’m a 4th year medical student studying in IMU. I have been wondering about MRCP. I’m actually quite confused, if we do MRCP, does it mean that we can specialise in any field of our interest or it’s limited to certain specialties? I have been thinking 2 specialise in Obs, but I’m still not sure whether it will give me a bright future. What is Dr’s opinion on this?

    Thank you.

    • MRCP is to become a physician and then you need to subspecialise. Please read my blog entry on “step by step approach to specialisation in Internal Medicine”.

      What do you mean by bright future? Money? I will say this again and again that there is NO money in medicine anymore! Doing obstetrics is very stressfull and the insurance coverage is the highest. I know of an Obstetrician who just joined a private hospital as a 3rd O&G specialist since Dec and his income per month has not crossed 5K!!

  65. on May 26, 2011 at 5:36 PM | Reply Medical Officer

    Dear Dr,

    I’m currently a medical officer in ENT in one of the hospitals in malaysia. I have passed part 1 and 2 of the MRCS. My question are:

    1. does having MRCS allow you exemption in part 1 Malaysian Masters Programme? if yes, then is MRCS (ENT) eligable for the same?

    2. Is FRCS in ENT recognized in Malaysia? i have heard of stories that they are not but have no reliable source to confirm it.

    3. Working in Malaysia as an ent surgeon is what i plan in the future but the masters programme is still elusive to my reach. Is there anywhere else i can continue my training that can allow me to continue the working as an ent surgeon when i finally come back to malaysia?

    I appreciate any helpful feedbacks.
    thank you.

  66. Dear Dr,

    I’m currently an overseas medical student and will graduate in 2015. Since there is a glut of medical students and housemans in Malaysia, do you think it’s worth coming back? Even if I am sponsored (MARA), would paying back gradually what I owed do justice, or do you think I must serve immediately after I graduate? And I don’t understand why the government is still listing ‘medicine’ as a critical field (for JPA scholarship) since there are too many Malaysians medical students all over the world!

    • Usually I tell all government sponsored students to come back and serve the country as you are paid by our taxes. Most of the people who stay back will never come back as the salary here will never be the same. Many who come back do so due to family reasons. JPA hate doctors!! Most the PTD officers in the department don’t really like doctors especially when we demand higher allowances and pay. For them, all government servants are the same, what is so special about doctors? 5 years ago when I attended a meeting with JPA on behalf of MMA (Schomos), they had already predicted there will be surpluss of doctors by 2012-2015, thus I really don’t understand why they keep listing it as critical and still sending students to overseas, including MARA who is probably clueless about all that is happening in the job market! MARA is only interested in producing infinite numbers of bumiputera this and that just to satisfy the government’s agenda and totally forgetsabout the job prospects of each field. Just look at UITM who is gearing to produce 250 000 graduates by 2015!! Where are the jobs?

  67. hi dr,
    i am a houseman (3rd posting) and planning to take mrcp on next year januari. However, i heard that there is shortage of the clinical oncologist and this field does earn a lot of money. can i know the difference between clinical oncologist and radiation oncologist?which one is better and makes more money? For me, i m interest in oncology so far.

    Is it true that both of these sub-speciality need MRCP prerequisite to become such sub-specialist?

    I appreciate anyl feedbacks.
    thank you very much.

    • I don’t know where you heard that Oncology makes money!! One of the reason why there are not many oncologist around is because it is not a money making business unless you are in a big private hospital. Most oncologist in big private hospitals do make money but each BIG private hospital probably need only 1-2 oncologist, that’s it. Smaller hospitals do not have enough facilities to run oncology services.

      The chemo drugs and radiotherapy are VERY expensive and not many patients can afford it. Insurance covers only small portion of it. Usually only corporate figures and rich people seek oncology treatment from private hospitals. The rest will go to government hospital where the drugs are given free!!

      Yes, you need MRCP or even Master’s in surgery. However, if I am not mistaken, there is Master’s in Oncology programme in one of our local university. Radiation oncologist only deals with radiotherapy and they usually don’t see patients compared to clinical oncologist who assesses the cancer patient and decides what to do with the pt, interms of best treatment options.

  68. on May 28, 2011 at 2:04 PM | Reply SurgicalEnthusiast

    Dear Dr Pagalavan,
    I am a final year medical student and I am 8 months aways from completing my medical degree from IMU.
    I have already made up my mind in specializing in the field of surgery however I have hit a barrier with the latest revelations of the accepted certifications for one to practice as a surgeon in Malaysia. This has come as a big disappointment to me as I opted to complete my degree locally when I had the chance to twin to a foreign country.
    Thus i have decided that it time for me to leave Malaysia if it come down to it in order to see my dream through.

    I would really appreciate any guidance from your behalf on the right path towards becoming a surgeon (and in a shortest duration possible). Should I do MRCS? And if so, whats happens after i have completed my MRCS part 3?
    Or is there any other way for me to be accepted into any country to be trained as a surgeon. I am all ready to study and sit for any sort of examination thrown at me if that is what it is going to take.

    Please help me Sir.

    • How about taking the USMLE, considering you have already decided to leave the country? A Step 1 score above 230 should get you into a general surgery residency in the US (again exams shouldn’t be a problem for you right?)

      • Oh and residency programs in the US tend to be shorter than training programs in the Commonwealth countries.

      • Graduated from a college where most of my batchmates r either Americans or students who have made it to states i would like to share bit of info regarding Surgical Residency in states.It is not easy as u think to even be accepted into any surgical field there.I have way too many friends who r over achievers with double 99% scores on USMLE exams,gold medalists,tons of letters of recomendations,publications, got rejected for applying to surgical branch.Apparently most of the surgical branches r reserved only for American graduates(frm USA med schools) . Internal medicine and Paediatrics r much easier to get.Maybe due to lower pay scale.Dont take my word for it do check out with others as well.Take care n all the best

      • I never said that it’s going to be a walk in the park; you’d be deluded to think that a surgical residency will just drop from the sky into your hands. Which is why most IMGs start with preliminary Gen. Surg. on a J-1 visa. Granted, IMGs tend to find it easier to enter fields such as internal medicine and paediatrics simply because the locals wouldn’t do it (O&G seems to be pretty unpopular as well). See, the Americans have to pay off their massive medical school fees and what better way to do it than enter those high-paying specialties eg ophthalmology and plastic surgery. Having said that, the hardest specialties to enter (near impossible for IMGs) have to be radiology and dermatology; you’d need to be AOA to even be considered for these two residencies.

    • Local IMU degree is not recognised elsewhere and thus you can’t go anywhere unless you sit for their medical qualification exams.

      MRCS is not recognised in Malaysia as a surgical degree. Unfortunately no hospitals in Malaysia is a recognised training centre for FRCS. However, you can go to Singapore after MRCS for further training to do FRCS. Otherwise the only option is to do local Master’s programme.

      There is no such thing as shortest time for surgery. Passing exams is nothing in surgery as you need a lot of hands on training before you can become competent!

  69. can mbbs graduate frm india work in singapore..?? is it true that mbbs graduate from india is highly regarded for their clinical skills..?

    • Your degree need to be recognised in singapore. Pls check with Singapore Medical Council. As for the second question, unfortunatly, the answer is no in general. There are good ones and bad ones. Some are good in theory but poor with their skills.

  70. Hello sir,

    Recently I heard that another way to do postgrad is by joining the ministry of defence. Meaning that once completed 2 years housemanship with MOH, apply to join military, after around 6 months of basic military training, then start working in military hospital as an M.O. They say that to do postgrad under MINDEF, the competition would be less hectic and in terms of salary, there’s a lot more allowances compared to being doc in MOH. Chances for promotion is also more promising. Can you please comment on this, at the best of your knowledge sir? Thank you.

    • Yes, you are right. You will be become a “Captain” after the 6 month’s training and postgraduate training will be sponsored by MINDEF.The benefits are also better but most of your life will be inside the military camp and military hospitals. You will also be bonded with MINDEF for few years. You need to follow military rule and their hospitals mainly treat their own personel and not the public.

      • I love to reply your question Kay on behalf.

        I’m one of the many Military MO-the glut to undergo postgraduate training slot is same like our colleagues in MOH. Worst part of it, before you apply for master programme, your must work with them at least 5 years and you must sign up as a REGULAR army and be ready to work until 55 COMPULSORY.

        Now that’s the dilemma faced by most military MO. Majority don’t like it!

        Just my 2 cents..MH

  71. hi all… Just to inform that the value of MRCS qualification in Malaysia:
    1. If u have mrcs diploma, u hv more chances of getting into the master in surgery programme. Joing the master is though with high competition. U needs to pass an entrant exam and the interview. If u pass the MRCS, then the entrant exam is easy. People with mrcs score more marks during the interview.
    2. If u in UKM master surgery prog, u will be exempted from the part 1 examination…
    I regretted not taking mrcs exam earlier.

  72. Sir,
    I graduated MBBS frm India(recognized by all the medical councils known) a yr ago and been preparing for Indian entrance exams for MD/MS.I got post graduation seats for my rank this yr in non govt college but due to circumstances i have decided to come work in malaysia though honestly i prefer to be doing my Masters now then work for gud.
    Im more interested in para/non clinical subjects like Pathology,Community Med,Hosp Admi, or Transfusion medicine and due to the fact tht its not round the clock work.
    Im just gonna try to bite my teeth n finish 2 yrs of HO at least but after tht im not sure of the path of which i have to take to reach my field of interest.
    1.How do i go about if i want to do my Master’s here in related field? Can i apply after HO?
    2.Is it easier to apply for foreign colleges(other than india) for para/non clinicals?
    3.Will my 2yrs post HO be of any value outside Malaysia later?
    4.I dont wish to waste my Medical degree which i earned so r there any other option for me post HO in Malaysia with decent salary n working hours?

    Thank u for your time Sir

    • Are you a Malaysian or Indian citizen?

    • If you are a Malaysian, why are you applying to do Master’s from India? It is not recognised in Malaysia!

      1) to do Master’s in Malaysia, you need to complete your HO and atleast 1 year of MOship. Even then, there is no gurantee that you will get a place. The least popular the field that you are applying the better the chance.
      2) Depends on the colleges and your MBBS degree recognition. You must also make sure that the post graduate degree is recognised in Malaysia

      3) Housemanship training in Malaysia is recognised as long as MMC can issue ” Certificate of Good Standing” . You must also complete your 4 years compulsory service in Malaysia.

      4) Please read my article on ” For future doctors: What if ………………..”


      • Thank u for reply Sir,
        I know Indian PG degrees r nor recognized in Malaysia but I find it easier option to get into the speciality tht im interested in(Indian entrance exams r one of the toughest to get in coz of number of doctors r plenty with minimal seats, but working hard preparing for exam for a yr will most often pay off for non clinicals)I dont mind settling anywhere as long as i can get into the field of my choice.
        Govt bond for 4 yrs is a bit too much for me.I dont wanna be doing PG when im grey n frail(exaggerated version)I have decided on non clinicals so obviously I ll be questioning bout 4 yrs bond which i consider bit of time consuming.
        So Sir isnt there anything else I can do with my 2 yrs post HO in Malaysia? Been coming across pharma company jobs n research.Does tht require completion of MO as well?

      • So what is the point of doing Master’s in India when it is not recognised in Malaysia, unless you want to work in India? Actually, 4 years will pass by very fast. As long as you are fully registered with MMC, no problem in getting pharma /research based jobs. It seems like you are not interested in clinical medicine, so why did you do medicine in the first place? You should have done basic science course and then Master’s where you would have more choices to go about.

      • Sir,
        As i said before I dont have any problem working anywhere.India being no exception.Im coming back now due to circumstances.
        I never said im not interested in clinical medicine its just tht i prefer para clinical due to interest during mbbs days n time factor.Clinical medicine is not the only branch for doctors right sir.Para clinicals forms the foundation in medicine.Im aware in Malaysia most ppl only think of clinical medicine doctors as true doctors.
        Its matter of interest.Not all decisions we take regarding our future at 18yrs r clear.Our reasons and circumstances can change over yrs.Yet Im proud to say Im a Doctor.
        As you said yrs wil go by fast.Let me get started n c wht can be done later.Thank u so much Sir for all ur replies.

  73. on June 6, 2011 at 7:49 PM | Reply Dr. Zubair Nur

    Dear sir,
    I am an MBBS doctor from Bangladesh,I tried to contact some of the universities including University of Malaysia through e-mail regarding post-graduation courses in medical science. But unfortunately didn’t get a reply. Can u please let me know the procedure and courses in details. I have gone through the website of UM and found there are a lot of post-graduation courses and I am interested in either Master of Emergency Medicine , Master of Internal Medicine or Master of Anesthesiology. But after reading your previous posts, now I am confused about the recognition of these degrees. Can you please clarify me about whether these degrees are recognized internationally or not.

    1 more thing i wanted to know, if I do my post-graduation from UM, is there any scope for working as a Doctor in Malaysia? I want to settle down in Malaysia and pursue my career as a physician in Malaysia. Can you please let me know the requirements and rules as an overseas doctor to get the work permit.

    Thank you.

    • Master’s degree in Malaysia is mainly for Malaysian citizens only. They do offer some seats for foreign doctors especially from some Middle East countries since some of these countries do recognise Malaysian Master’s degree. Other than that, our Master’s degree is NOT recognised elsewhere.
      To work in Malaysia, your undergraduate degree need to be recognised by Malaysian Medical Council. If at all you do Master’s from UM, you can work under contract basis in Malaysia but you are not entitled for any subspeciality training under Ministry of Health as it is only open for Malaysians. Furthermore, you can only work in the government hospitals and NOT private sector unless you are a PR.

  74. on June 7, 2011 at 2:41 PM | Reply Dr. Zubair Nur

    Thank you so much for your reply sir, I feel so disheartened after getting your reply as I was eagerly hoping for a positive response. But is there still any chance of getting into the malaysian health system as a Doctor?
    Also how can I know whether my MBBS degree is recognized by the Malaysian medical council.? And can you suggest me any university in Malaysia/Singapore/Australia for post-graduation studies. Is there any scope of working in Malaysia with my current MBBS degree?

    • Please check at the Malaysian Medical Council website(www.mmc.gov.my). After you complete your housemanship in Bangladesh and if your degree is recognised in Malaysia, you can apply to work as a medical officer under contract basis. However, this does not guarantee a place for Master’s. With the current glut of doctors in Malaysia, the Ministry is less likely to recruit anymore foreign doctors. In Malaysia, you can try UM, UKM or USM, Singapore : NUS, many in Australia .

  75. Dear Dr Pagalavan,
    Greetings to you and hat’s off on a remarkable embarkation to educate us medical professionals, (the ignorant ones.)-referring to myself at least.

    I m very keen on doing my MRCOG and would like your thoughts regarding it.

    1) Im in my last stages of housemanship and was planning to sit for the mrcog part 1–any pros and cons on it..?

    2)a)Can i go to the UK and specialize 4 years in ONG after my HO training
    b) or after my mo-ship/compulsory service..? I hear the UK has once again started letting
    the doors loose for freign docs to come in.?

    3) Any ideas regarding patients preferences in male or female specialist in ONG according
    to your knowledge and experience with coleagues..i have been terribly discouraged by
    every other senior docs as a male doc, it will be very competitive in the ONG field-with
    regards to patients..? as they prefer female docs..is this true.. help.

    4) Is there any other exam that i can do other than MRCOG that will be recognised here in
    malaysia for ONG exams..?

    Thank you for your reply sir..
    Hungry specialist to be

    • 1) Go ahead but however , after you pass Part 1, you need atleast 4 years training in O&G department to sit for Part 2. You may be transferred out to district hospitals after housemanship and thus there is no guarantee that you can stay in GH.

      2) Is your degree recognised in UK? All MBBS degree obtained outside UK need to sit and pass the PLAB entrance exam in order to work in UK.

      3) Generally, patients prefer a female doctors but at the moment there are more male obstetricians than female in Malaysia. If you are planning to go to private sector and you have a female O&G colleague, your income will definately be lower!

      4) only local Master’s

  76. hmmmm.yes i am aware of that…
    transferred out to district will be hard to practise then..
    yes i have to sit for the plab examintion as my degree is not recognised with the uk, only in the WHO list..

    Thank you for your reply dear Dr Pagalavan
    All the best.

  77. i’m a 4th year medical student at russia..i know most of people look down on russian med grad…but actual truth is their system really good in the way of teaching n praticing..its js too much of corruption give oppurtunity most of student to play fool around…but some ouf us really passionate towards our degree..i m passionate to become neurosurgeon and i plan to migrate somewhere…i just wandering about my next step..could you guide me..

    first, when can i actually sit for MRCS? do i need a year ++ in HOship?

    second, do MRCS will benefit me in becoming a neurosurgeon?

    third, what is the next step after completing MRCS in becoming a neurosurgeon? (either local or overseas)

    fourth, if i plan to do local master program, how many years do i need before doing sub in neurosurg?

    fifth, MS(neurosurgery) USM, is it recognized by UK? can i practice it in other country as a neurosurgeon?

    sixth, how to apply for surgical prog in singapore?

    seventh, which way should i choose sir in becoming a surgeon? local or other way? if only i can choose ;(

    eight :which is better pathway to become neurosurgeon..pls do guide me…

    • 1)You can only sit for MRCS Part A anytime after graduation but I strongly feel it is better to sit after 1 year of housemanship. Remember, everything cost money! It is better to be well prepared.
      2) If you are in Malaysia and have completed all the parts of MRCS , you have better opportunity to get into Master’s programme. With MRCS, you can also get a job in Singapore or UK for further training. However, MRCS is not a recognised degree to become a surgeon in Malaysia. You still need Master’s
      3) LOcally, you only have 2 options in becoming neurosuergeon: do Master’s in Surgery and then subspecialise in neurosuregry or do Master’s in Neurosurgery by USM. Having MRCS is not going to get you anywhere in Malaysia except making it easier to get Master’s programme.
      4) Local Master’s is 4 years then 6 months gazettement and another 1 year wait before getting into neurosurgical training which is another 4 years.
      5) NO, local Master’s IS NOT recognised elsewhere. Thus, you will not be recognised anywhere else.
      6) After completing MRCS, you can try to apply for registra post in one of the hospitals in Singapore. You need to apply to individual hospital;
      7) Whichever way you choose, the time taken will still be the same, only the recognition differs.
      8) Personally, I still feel it is better to do General surgery first before subspecialising in neurosurgery. Most countries do this as you still need basic surgical skills even though some may argue that neurosurgery has nothing to do with general surgery!

      Finally, it is better for you to decide what you want to specialise after finishing your housemanship. In Malaysia, neurosurgery is the MOST depressing field. Almost 95% of the time you are going to be dealing with Head Injury secondary to road accidents and Intracranial bleed where the prognosis is generally poor. Rarely , you will be operating on brain tumours. Don’t get acrried away by TV programmes and major referral centres.

  78. Dr. Pagalavan,
    I just need some consulation, i am a 4th year medical student from peking university of china. On completion of my mbbs, i am hopeful to apply for a housemanship in malaysia.
    I would like to know wheter my chances are slim or not (by that i mean , wheter malaysia has a policy of favouring home taught medical students) ? in that case i will have to aplly for a housemanship in someother country. I would also like some guidance on how long the internship is and if i can become a specialist in singapore? if possible,could you kindly list me the duration of the following specialities i am intrested in.
    2)Internal medicine (general)
    4)General surgery
    5)Cardio vascular surgery

    Thank you very much

    • First of all, your degree need to be recognised in Malaysia in order for you to work here. Same goes for Singapore. Since you will be graduating next year, there should still be vacancy for housemanship in Malaysia. Housemanship in Malaysia is 2 years and in Singapore, is still 1 year if I am not mistaken. As for specialities, plese read my article on ” step by step approach to speciality”, under my For future doctors series. After that if you have any question, then ask me.

  79. Dear Dr Pagalavan,

    I would like to get some advice regarding training and career in anaesthesiology. I am currently CT2 in anaesthesiology in the UK, and my fiancee has just completed MBBS in UK. We are planning to return to Malaysia or somewhere closer within the next year or two, and we both would like to get good quality anaesthesiology training recognised in Malaysia. We can continue our careers in the UK, but choose not to. My fiancee would need to complete her housemanship / FY1 for a GMC registration and there is the option of doing it in the UK, Malaysia or Singapore. We both have a particular interest in regional anaesthesia and have had some training in it.

    My questions would be
    1. what are your thoughts in regards to where to get the best anaesthesiology training (we are actually thinking of Singapore or Malaysia, but are also opened to other countries as long as they are closer to home) ? I understand that we can do the masters program locally, but that doesn’t guarantee quality and not recognised elsewhere, at the same time, we are concerned that our training elsewhere might not be recognised in Malaysia since FRCA is no longer recognised. We would like to have the option to practice in Malaysia eventually.
    2. How would you compare between the options in terms of career prospect ?
    3. What would be the route required for each of the options (e.g. need for membership exams / masters etc including expected length of time) ?
    4. How much emphasis would be placed on academic work such as publications ? (We both have publications in peer reviewed journals)
    5. What are the likely competition ratios ?
    6. Taking my fiancee’s need to complete one year of housemanship / FY1 into account, how would you suggest we plan our relocation ?

    I appreciate that it is a lot to ask for, but I would be really grateful if you can share some thoughts. Thank you.

    • Generally, I would advise people to complete their specialist training in UK before coming back, unless you are a gov sponsored student. Fellow of the College of Anaesthetists, England (FCA (Eng) is recognised in Malaysia as a postgraduate degree, pls visit http://www.nsr.gov.my

      1) Master’s not recognised. You can do your training in Malaysia/Singapore. Master’s of anaesth from Singapore is also recognised in Malaysia. The other option is FRNZA but only certain hospitals in Malaysia is a recognised training centre : UMMC, HKL, IJN, Penang. You can visit their website.

      2) If you talking about private practise in Malaysia, it is the same in term of prospect. BUT the market is getting saturated.

      3) Master’s in 4 years programme. You need to complete HO for 2 years, MO for 1 year atleast before applying for Master’s. No guarantee that you will get in first try.

      4) Most Master;s student need to present a thesis at the end of their programme.

      5) Very competitive. Only 800 Master’s seat are allocated this year for all disc iplines !!

      6) Up to you. Better to complete Housemanship in UK but MMC may stil ask you to complete another year of Housemanship according to Malaysia’s guideline.

      You can contact Nav at acacia_avenue@yahoo.com if you need further info regarding anaesth training in Malaysia and FANZA

    • Since I was mentioned:

      1. If you want an internationally recognized qualification AND want to train in Singapore or Malaysia, you should go through the ANZCA training process. They recognise placements in Aus, NZ, HK, Malaysia (some hospitals) and Singapore. The FRCA is still recognised in Malaysia, so I don’t know where you got that piece of information from. It’s training in Malaysia that is not recognised for the FRCA. One thing to note, however, is that ANZCA only recognises one year of UK training. You will get more experience in Malaysia but need to be posted to particular hospitals. Singapore is Singapore, if you’re Malaysian you’ll know what I mean.

      2. Both countries are short of specialists in the govt sector. Work in private sector for anaesthetists is drying up. Older ones don’t wanna retire, still interested in saving up.

      3. Singapore Master is 6 years, Malaysia 4, and ANZCA 5. All have very similar exams. Your FRCA Part 1 will exempt you from the Malaysian or Singaporean Part 1, but not the ANZCA Part 1.

      4. None in Malaysia. Don’t know about Singapore.

      5. Both are competitive for different reasons.

      6. Your personal choice.

    • Hi, I’m a final year medical student in the UK. Can I ask you about the gmc registration. What is the value of certification as opposed to a medical degree? I’m not sure if it gives any added advantage if I was to go back to the UK in 10 years time. I’m a JPA scholar and would like to go back to the UK after my bond is completed. Should I spend a year doing F1 or not? If it does have benefits, can you please point me to where that is stated in the GMC website please.

      • If I am not mistaken, you should be able to get full GMC registration after completing FY1. A medical degree is nothing if it is not recognised or registrable by a medical council. E.g: medical degrees from Malaysia is not recognised elsewhere and thus our graduates can’t work anywhere else as it is not registrable. This is something perculiar to medical degree throughout the world. As a JPA scholar you are bonded and should come home to serve. BY the time you complete your bond, you will have further bonds for Master’s or subspeciality training ! There is no point going back to UK after 10 years as the chances for you to get a post is very slim.

      • If I am allowed to do my f1 training there by jpa, do you think i should take it up to get registered by gmc. Or should i just come back to malaysia

      • If JPA allows, then should be OK but whether you need GMC or not depends on what you want to do later. If you are planning to stay put in Malaysia then there is no point. Remember that even if you finish FY1 in UK and come home, you still need to complete your housemanship in Malaysia for another year.

      • Only one year of HO?

      • HO is for 2 years but if you have done 1 year in UK , you just need to add another 1 year in Malaysia

      • and also will a gmc registration be favorable when applying to nz/ singapore/ aus. or will a degree from the uk be good enough?

      • A degree is good enough. GMC is only for UK and EU.

      • Hi Renu,

        For NZ, you need general registration with the GMC, meaning you have to had done your FY1 there at least. The degree alone means you are only provisionally registered, and hence not eligible to work here. If I recall correctly, it is the same for Aus. Singapore might be different, not sure.

      • Thank you very much dr. Have a nice day

      • thanks nav. different opinions on this issue?

      • Not a different opinion, merely stating the facts. I do pity Dr Pag sometimes cos he gets asked lots and lots of questions – answers to which can easily be found (most of the time) if the people who asked them searched for the answers themselves by going to the websites of the relevant regulatory bodies.

        If you have a UK degree, and you want to work in Aus, NZ or Singapore under the general/full registration category (meaning not have to do internship/housemanship again), you have to have done your FY1 in the UK. Otherwise your British degree is useless – you have to work as an intern/houseman again (assuming there are spaces available – because these are usually reserved for their own graduates). They do not recognise your Malaysian housemanship. If you have a postgraduate qualification, then you apply thru a different pathway. All their websites clearly state this:




      • Thanks nav

      • Hi,

        I was informed by JPA that I have to return upon grad. I asked if I can sign a 10 year bond after finishing f1 but the answer is no. sigh.

        Can i ask, why does mara encourage its students to stay in the uk? is that not tax payers money? is it a scholarship or loan?

      • MARA has no bond and thus they can do what they want. It is mainly loan with 1% payback if they complete the studies.

        JPA is a full scholarship and thus you need to come home to serve the bond.

      • Dear dr pagalavan and dr nav,

        I am a fourth year medical student in IMU. i am malaysian with australian pr. can you both please answ
        1.will i be treated equal to australian grads and locals
        2.i want to return to malaysia after specializing. at which level will i be entering the malaysian medical system in private and government. and where do i go from there
        3.what is the hierarchy in australia’s medical system and what course of training will i have to go through (the fastest)

        Thank you in advance.

        This blog is very informative, a great effort and well done.

      • First of all, your IMU degree is not recognised in Australia. You can only work in Australia if you sit and pass the AMC exam. Being a PR is of no use if you can’t pass AMC exam. Nav has explained to you regarding the equal oppourtunity issues. However, please remember that whatever speciality you are going to do depends on availability of post. I knwo of some who wants to come back as they could not get a training post in sugery.
        Australian postgraduate degrees are recognised in Malaysia. If you are a gazetted specialist in Australia and comes back to Malaysia, the grade that you are acepted into government service depends on your seniority. The more senior you are, the higher the grade.
        You can go directly to private sector if you had worked overseas for more than 10 years. I knwo many Malaysians who worked for so many years in Taiwan beginning to come home and joining private hospitals.
        Fastest training do not necessarily make you a better doctor/surgeon! Please do not think of which field you want to specialise or which field will bring more money at this point of time. THings will change and the private sector is also getting saturated. You can decide after you complete your housemanship/

      • Shalina,

        I am assuming you are doing your clinicals in Seremban because you’re fourth year and still at IMU.

        1. With your Aussie PR, you will be treated as equal as Australians in terms of applying for jobs. However, your degree is another story. You have to sit the AMC exam, which I would recommend doing while you are a houseman in Malaysia.

        2. Currently, if you have worked overseas for 10 years, you can enter private straight away in Malaysia if you come home. However, this will be at least 12 years away for someone like you and many things might change by then. If you have specialised overseas with a recognised postgrad and come back to work for the govt, you will be a specialist but I don’t know on what payscale or if a period of gazettement is required. Dr Pag might have more info.

        3. What do you mean by hierarchy? They have interns (PGY1 house officers), senior house officers, registrars, fellows and consultants. In Aus and NZ, you can become a registrar as early as PGY3. In the UK, a person usually becomes a reg in PGY5 (what in Aus or NZ would be called a senior reg). But that is a small difference. Fasted course of training would be to become a GP, which is 3 years. Other specialties take 5-6 years from the time you get on to the programme – usually later for those coming from overseas like yourself.

        Piece of advice: Take things one step at a time. Concentrate on your IMU exams and start working towards the AMC exams once you’re a HO. Once in Aus, you will have a year of ‘supervised’ work, where you will be made to do intern-type runs. During that time, you can think about what area you want to specialise in. Choose something you enjoy doing, with the type of people that you get along with. Don’t choose based on money or duration.

  80. preethi

    Dear sir,

    I finished my M.B.B.S(5 and a half years) and Diploma in Ophthalmology (2 years)in India . I am interested in doing my fellowship in the U.S, since the eligibilty is 3 years of post graduate training in order to apply for the same, I intend to further do a fellowhsip for 1 year in India and then give my USMLE . Is this the right thing to do? How difficult is it to get a fellowship in ophthalmology in the US? Also kindly tel me the difference of doing FRCS for 7 years in the UK and giving the FRCS exams from India itself, with the latter can i apply for a job in the UK? Am i eligible to give MRCophthal at present?

  81. Dear preethi,

    You might as well forget about the UK. The gov has imposed a ruling that when you apply for visa, they restrict you from applying for training post, that is to say that you can no longer complete your FRCOphth in the UK. The only exception to that is if you graduate from a UK medical school.

  82. Dear Dr,

    I am a House Officer (HO), currently practising in Malaysia. I would like to ask regarding the acceptance into the Masters program offered by our local universities. As I have already gone through most of the posts prior to mine, I came to understand that there is a requirement of achieving a minimum of 85% SKT points. My question is this: do the SKT marks I obtain during my housemanship matter and would if affect my chances in getting into a Masters program in the future?

    I would like to also ask regarding the anaesthesiology program in Malaysia. Is FRCA recognized in Malaysia, if so, where and when are the exams held? With that said, I would like to gather more information regarding the Masters programme as well.

    My current fields of choice are Orthopaedics and Anaesthesiology, in that order. I may sound paranoid but I totally agree with your point on the influx of doctors and the level of competition that might surface in the coming years, hence the anxiety. Appreciate your input and apologies if I am asking a question that has already been answered before this. Thank you.

    • The SKT will be for the last 3 years before you apply for Master’s. FRCA ( England) is recognised but if I am not mistaken, you can’t undergo training for it in Malaysia. BUT you can sit for FANZA , however only training in HKL, UMMC, Penang GH and IJN is recognised.

  83. hello sir,
    im going to finish housemanship soon.i would like your opinion regarding future in becoming psychitric moedical officer and what is the demand in oversea since i would like to go abroad.and what are the exams i need to sit
    please reply soon
    thank you

    • The only way to become a Psychiatrist is by doing local Master’s programme but unfortunately it is NOT recognised elsewhere and you will not be able to work anywhere else as a psychiatrist. Unless you go now to overseas and do your training there.

  84. to doctor pagalavan, thanks to this broad information of yours , .this would surely give postgraduates the idea and awareness about the specified issues and matters . ..

  85. Dear sir,
    This is my second mail to you.this time i want to know whether there is any scope for foreign doctors to do housemanship in any of the hospitals/medical college in Malaysia and then get a license to work over there as a foreign doctor? do they pay during the housemanship? plus another thing is whether there is any scholarship programme for foreign doctors in malaysia.

    Thank you

    Dr. Zubair

    • Nope. Housemanship in Malaysia is only for Malaysians unless you are married to a Malaysian. To work in Malaysia, your basic degree mus be recognised by Malaysian Medical Council. There is no such scholarship for foreign students.

  86. on July 18, 2011 at 4:02 PM | Reply saravanabhava

    dear sir,
    i am dr.johnson mbbs from india , my degree is not recognised by singapore medical council , do i have a chance to study r work in singapore as a doctor..
    aslo if i clear mrcs part A can i get a training for mrcs part B in singapore plz give your advice…

  87. Dear Dr. Pagalavan,
    What would the process of gazetting a specialist medical degree in Malaysia involve? My specialist degree has been recommended and approved by the National Specialist Register, Malaysia. Does this mean the degree is automatically gazetted?

    • Suppose to be. NSR only approves you once they are satisfied that you have completed your training. Where did you train?

      • Dear Dr. Pagalavan,
        MD Pathology from Manipal, I trained again for 4 years from Singapore and completed my MRC part 1. I have been informed by NSR about the approval and the certificate is due to arrive in august. I would be grateful if you can brief me a little about the gazetting for the degree which will complete my entire medical registration in Malaysia.

  88. No. But have been offered a job in Malaysia.

  89. Would you please explain the differences between private and public sector hospitals to me in terms of gazettement? I would be grateful for any guidance.

    • I presume that NSR approved you as a Pathologist. For you to practise in Malaysia, you need to get MMC registration as well. If you going to work as a lecturer then nothing more is necessary. However private hospitals and labs can’t employ a foreigner as their Pathologist unless they are unable to get anyone despite advertising atleast 3 times. If you can get MMC registration then you don’t need any gazettment process.

  90. I have been granted full registration by MMC. Thanks. I can breathe now.

  91. Dear sir, i had just received an offer letter from aimst? i do have few questions to ask.. is aimst recognized by other countries? can i continue my postgrad after i finish my degree in aimst.? if yes after i had finished my postgrad in overseas can i work in other countries such as spore regardless my degree is from aimst?? your guidance is so much appreciated

    • Our degree in Malaysia is not recognised in other countries. Even postgrad as well..

    • AIMST degree is NOT recognised elsewhere! You can’t work in other countries unless you sit for their entrance exam. What overseas postgraduate degree are you talking about ?
      You can sit for MRCP or MRCS and go to Singapore to work as registra.

  92. First of all, I would like to thank you for making this blog so informative. It is simply great! I have a few questions :

    1. After I have taken MRCP (UK) Part 1, 2 and 3 in Malaysia, and undergoing gazettement for 18 months to become a specialist. Can I pursue my subspecialty training in most of the countries since MRCP (UK) is internationally recognized and it is the entry exam for specialty in UK and most of the countries? Are MRCP (UK), MRCS, etc… the ways to pursue subspecialty training in the overseas?

    2. If we take MRCP (UK) in Malaysia, does it mean that we can only become specialist in Malaysia?

    3. You mentioned that we can do our MRCP (Part 3 ) training in Singapore. Once we have completed MRCP (Part 3) training in Singapore, are we considered as specialists in Singapore? In addition, can we do our subspecialty training in Singapore as well?

    4. If compared to IMU local degree MBBS, will Monash (Malaysia branch campus) be easier to pursue postgraduate studies since it is recognized by Australian Medical council ?

    I am a Jpa scholar who is going to enroll into IMU local MBBS degree, i need ur advices urgently. Thanks a lot =)

    • 1) Possible. Especially in UK and Singapore.

      2) NO. It is recognised as an entry to speciality training in UK. However, in Malaysia, after 18 months, you can be known as a specialist but not in other countries.

      3) NO, infact now you can do all the parts of MRCS in Malaysia BUT it is not a specialist degree. Yes, you can further you training in Singapore after MRCS.

      4) Depends on what postgraduate you are talking about. For local Master’s , it does not matter. If you intend to go to Australia , then Monash will be better but NOT necessary easier to get into postgraduate training.

    • Forget about the UK, unless you grad from one of their partner med schools in UK, you can’t even enter the system. they specifically place a condition on your visa to prevent you from getting a training post, unless your primary MBBS is from the UK. I think you should not think of these things for now, it will be a good 7 years at least before you can consider postgrad, by that time, a lot of things would have changed.

  93. dear sir, thank you for replying…. much appreciated … what i meant is like this… for example, i finish my degree in aimst.. then i would like to further oncology or maybe cardiology in australia, am i able to do that? is australia goin to take in students from aimst? i do appreciate ur info as this help me to think twice… THANKS…

    • As I said, your degree is not recognised and thus you will not be able to work and train in other countries unless you pass the entrance exam or you are just doing an attachment sponsored by MOH.

      • First of all, I would like to thank you for making this blog so informative. It is simply great! I have a few questions :

        1. After I have taken MRCP (UK) Part 1, 2 and 3 in Malaysia, and undergoing gazettement for 18 months to become a specialist. Can I pursue my subspecialty training in most of the countries since MRCP (UK) is internationally recognized and it is the entry exam for specialty in UK and most of the countries? Are MRCP (UK), MRCS, etc… the ways to pursue subspecialty training in the overseas?

        2. If we take MRCP (UK) in Malaysia, does it mean that we can only become specialist in Malaysia?

        3. You mentioned that we can do our MRCP (Part 3 ) training in Singapore. Once we have completed MRCP (Part 3) training in Singapore, are we considered as specialists in Singapore? In addition, can we do our subspecialty training in Singapore as well?

        4. If compared to IMU local degree MBBS, will Monash (Malaysia branch campus) be easier to pursue postgraduate studies since it is recognized by Australian Medical council ?

        I am a Jpa scholar who is going to enroll into IMU local MBBS degree, i need ur advices urgently.
        Thx =)

  94. Thanks for replying. Sir, you have indeed exposed me to the real situation of postgraduate studies. Thanks a lot.

    In addition, is undergoing MRCP (UK) Internal Medicine to become a Physician (Specialist) a must/ compulsory to pursue subspecialty training in all the countries?

    Thanks for advance =)

    • I believe it is not ALL the countries.

      MRCP is an exam formed by the 3 royal colleges of physician : 1) London, 2) Edinburgh, and 3) Glasgow. It is an exam taken by people who are doing their internal medicine training in UK, to be completed in their first 3 years (out of the total 6-8 years?) of their training.

      In Malaysia, we recognize it as an EXIT exam to be a physician (internal med specialist).

      Singaporeans do not sit for the MRCP. They have their own singapore Masters.

      Malaysians who want to further on their training in singapore, can opt to go in with MRCP. If they are accepted, they can jump into the internal med masters program that singapore has, along with other singapore fresh graduates. There is also an option of “credit transfer”, where lets say you have worked for 3 years in the medical department, singapore might let you skip the first year of training, and join the 2nd year masters student instead.

      Please correct me if I am wrong.

      • Singaporeans DO sit for MRCP to become a registra after which they undergo subspeciality training. Master’s is a different thing all together BUT their Master’s final exam is the same exam as MRCP. That’s why most of them get MRCP and Master’s at the same time. However, recently Singapore has introduced residency system like US.

        You are right about MRCP as entrance exam as I have mentioned in my blog postings before.

        Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device via Vodafone-Celcom Mobile.

    • Not in all countries. Only in countries which recognizes MRCP as an entry to speciality. eg.: US has it’s own residency programme etc etc.

  95. Thx a lot =)
    Last question I wish to ask, a FRCP holder like Dr Pagalavan gives an international recognition in medical field. Does this mean that a FRCP holder can choose to work in any country as a specialist?

    Sorry for my extended curiosity. thx again =)

    • Not necessarily. You get the MRCP after you pass the exams, which is for ENTRY into specialist training in the UK. After 4 years of training, you get the Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT, previously known as CCST). Only then are you recognised as a specialist in the UK.

      In Malaysia, you need 18 months of gazettement (versus the 4 years of semi-structured training in the UK). I do not know if this is a simple attachment or if any teaching is provided by senior specialists – Dr Paga might be able to answer this.

      The FRCP is an honorary postnominal, given to select MRCP holders for various reasons. There is no exam.

      If you wanted to work in countries that have a better healthcare system than Malaysia as a specialist, you need to have both the MRCP and CCT. For example, Singapore and Australia both clearly state those 2 requirements – although the MRCP alone will allow you to slot into Singapore as a registrar.

      You cannot get your CCT unless you work in the UK and there are many restrictions to prevent foreigners from doing so (easier if you have a UK degree).

      To be a specialist, the MRCP on its own counts for nothing unless you are in Malaysia, India, Pakistan, etc.

      • Thanks =) Since CCT (Certificate of Completion of Training) can only be taken in UK with so many restrictions, it is really hard to work in countries who have better healthcare system.

        So, the only way to work in Singapore as a specialist is to take MRCP/ MRCS to be accepted by Singapore, and undergoing postgraduate training BST (Basic Specialist Training) and AST (Advanced Specialist Training) programmes? After going through these training (BST or AST), are we consindered as a specialist in SIngapore, or do we still need CCT? After becoming specialist in Singapore, do we have chances to do subspecialy training in Singapore as well? How about other western countries, do they clearly state that MRCP and CCT are required?

        Thanks a lot .

    • Nope, FRCP is a honorary degree which is given to those who have contributed to medical education, publish papers and an MRCP holder of atleast 8 years and above. They must also be a consultant in their home country and be proposed by a fellow of the colleg. It is recognised in some countries and will give you certain status but not necessarily a job or position as a consultant. It is up to the respective country to decide on your application based on your experience and degree, if you are applying for a job.

      • So, the only way to work in Singapore as a specialist is to take MRCP/ MRCS to be accepted by Singapore, and undergoing postgraduate training BST (Basic Specialist Training) and AST (Advanced Specialist Training) programmes? After going through these training (BST or AST), are we consindered as a specialist in SIngapore, or do we still need CCT? After becoming specialist in Singapore, do we have chances to do subspecialy training in Singapore as well? How about other western countries, do they clearly state that MRCP and CCT are required?

        Thanks a lot .

      • Having MRCP/MRCS do not make you a specialist in Singapore. You can get appointed as a registra and then go on to do AST. However, Singapore has changed their system to residency system as of this year. After AST, you will become a subspecialist.

  96. Hello again Dr,

    In your opinion, how long will it takes for me to become an orthopaedic after mbbs? To become an ortho, should I take MRCP? Or I should try masters postgrad?

    • The P in MRCP stands for physicians. Orthopaedic specialists are not physicians, they are surgeons (unless you’re in the US, where everyone is a physician, but they do things funny anyway).

      MRCP is for specialising in internal medicine and its subspecialties.

      You can take the MRCS (S = surgeons) exams in Malaysia, which can help you get on to the Masters programme, but in itself is not recognised as a specialist qualification.

      • So, the pathway starts from MRCS then masters only will be recognised as a specialist?

        So how long will it takes before I become an ortho? Is it that i will be able to work in UK or Singapore after taking any of the subspecialties?

      • You can do master’s without MRCS but having MRCS is an added advantage. If you can get your Master’s slot on first try , you can become an Ortho surgeon within 7 years but this is rather unlikely with the current glut and the number of post available. Local master’s IS NOT recognised elsewhere and thus you will not be able to work in Singapore or UK as a specialist, with MRCS probably you can get a registra post if you are lucky.

    • MRCP is to become a physician. The only way to become an Othopaedic surgeon in Malaysia is to do Master’s. It is very competitive and some have to apply almost 3-4 years in a row before getting a place. It is one of the most popular Master’s programme. After 2 years of HO and 1 year of MO , you can apply for Master’s which is a 4 year programme but chances are, you will NOT get it in the first try!

  97. Dear Doctor,

    I’m Saranya Manoharan from Johor. My daughter is in her final year of medicine in the University of Edinburgh. She is about to apply for her F1 job in England. She is very passionate about medicine. At the moment, she is having a very difficult time deciding whether or not to come back to Malaysia to practice. She feels that after years of studying in an amazing medical school and having worked as a student doctor in a number of hospitals there, she may not be too happy with the situation here. She feels that her future career may be compromised by the training environment and unequal opportunities to progress in her career. She is not afraid of hard work and I know that she will become an amazing a doctor, therefore I can understand her fears.

    It will be very helpful if you can answer these questions for me:

    1. what is the actual value of a gmc certificate for a non-EU doctor

    2. if she does her F1, gets certified, then comes back to Malaysia for 5 to 10 years, will having a gmc cert give her an advantage to apply overseas in the future if she wishes to (I would prefer her to come back here for a few years get married and start a family since she will be graduating only at 25). And what level will she be starting at when she goes back there again?

    3. will she benefit from starting her career in the uk. If she builds herself up to a senior registrar level before coming back to malaysia, will she be able to reach consultant level more quickly than she would have here

    Thank you in advance.

    Kind regards,

    • Other people will have their own advice, but this is mine:

      Let her stay overseas in the UK for now. She should finish her FY1 and 2 years there. At that point, she can reevaluate things, her choices could be:

      1. Stay in the UK to try and get on to a training programme if the situation at the time is favourable for non-EU residents.
      2. If the situation in the UK isn’t favourable, and she still wants first-class postgraduate training, consider moving to Australia or NZ. Lots of Malaysian UK grads have moved to these 2 countries in the past 3-4 years. Things are getting more competitive in Aus because of their own increase in medical graduates but there will be more info when the time comes. NZ is still welcoming UK grads with open arms.
      3. Move to Singapore. Especially good since you’re from Johore. However, working conditions for junior doctors in Singapore are extremely stressful. I have had friends who tried this option (move from UK to S’pore) who then moved on to Aus/NZ because of the work environment.
      4. Go home to Malaysia. She will still have to work as a houseman if she hasn’t finished done the compulsory rotations in Malaysia. It will be extremely competitive for postgrad training because of the huge number of graduates and relatively small number of Masters places available. A certain amount of those places are also reserved for our bumi brethren.

      I think it is extremely unfair to expect your daughter to come home, get married and have kids, and then go overseas again. Think long and hard about this.

      Will her husband be able to work overseas with her? If she gets married to another doctor, this can only happen if his degree allows him to work there. Will her husband want to move in the first place, thereby possibly sacrificing his own career ambitions?

      Is it fair to expect your daughter to raise a child and do postgrad study at the same time? It’s not impossible, but is this what she wants?

      I was in a similar situation as your daughter 7-8 years ago. My parents let me do what I wanted, but I knew they’d be happier if I moved home. Being from a Punjabi family, my parents would get ‘enquiries’ from others about my availability but these people really don’t think straight sometimes. Most were parents of other doctors whose children would not have been able to work overseas – I was not willing to move back home to accommodate someone I barely knew in a semi-arranged marriage situation, because I was already on a training programme overseas. I’m married now, still overseas, planning to come home in the next few years and have no regrets whatsoever.

      In the end, you have to talk to your daughter about this and allow her to make her decision with as much info as she can have. If family circumstances change, she can come back to Malaysia at any time. But it is important for her to at least get and maintain her GMC registration, because this allows her to move back to the UK or work in Aus/NZ if Malaysia is not where she wants to be at the time.

      • Dear Nav,

        Thank you for the prompt reply. I’m glad things worked out as you wanted and all the best to you in becoming a career woman and a family maker at the same time. This isn’t easy and is an amazing feat. I know this being a lawyer myself. But what I want for my daughter ( I do believe that I know my daughter well enough and that I know what she wants) is to have a balanced life and this is possible looking at the women all around us today. Those 5 years will give her the opportunity to socialize and meet a man of her liking and one that would suit her lifestyle and commitments to cherish and support her throughout her life and career. I believe that family support is very important as I wouldn’t have been able to achieve half the things I have today if not for my husband and 2 children. End of my boring lecture!

        You’ve mentioned that she should get her GMC certification and maintain it. I’d like to know more about this process.

        1. Does she only need to do a year of F1 to be certified?

        2. In order to maintain the registration, does she have to pay an annual fee (how much), during which she doesn’t necessarily have to work in the UK?

        3. What is the advantage of being registered as opposed to having a degree?

        4. If she returns to Malaysia for 5 to 10 years after f1 OR graduation, what are her advantages compared to other non-EU citizen / internationally recognized graduate when she reapplies to be absorbed into the UK system or anywhere else in the world?

        5. Upon completion of her MRCP and having obtained a degree from the University of Edinburgh, will she not be able to get a job anywhere in the world? This was the reason why we paid for her education abroad in the first place, to allow her the flexibility to choose what she does and where she does it. She doesn’t particularly enjoy being in the UK or in the NHS system (still much better than it is in Malaysia).

        5. Can MRCP not be done abroad using own expenses without having to be selected for it by the government universities and be bonded for 5 to 7 years as the Dr had said before?

        All the very best to you and thank you very much.

        Kind regards,
        Saranya Manoharan

    • Dear Saranya,

      I am a Malaysian who is a consultant surgeon in Glasgow, so hope that I can give you some useful perspective to your queries. Firstly, please accept my congratulations for your daughter about to complete her medical studies in a fine institution. End of one journey, start of a longer but potentially wonderful journey (if her passion holds true).

      There are essentially 2 paths your daughter has ahead of her:
      1) to return to Malaysia
      2) not to return to Malaysia (note that this is not the same as remaining in the UK. Her degree is internationally recognised and she can potentially seek employment in most countries subject to passing local licensing exams in some nations like USA. Singapore and NZ would be pretty seamless)

      Should she choose to return to Malaysia, there are 3 main options:
      1) after Foundation training (2 years).
      2) after obtaining a recognised postgrad diploma that means something in Malaysia (eg: MRCP, MRCOG; ~4-6 years) Note that MRCS is meaningless. Dr Paga can give you a better answer as to how much service she would need before being gazetted a specialist. This *may* mean that she becomes a consultant in Malaysia sooner than if she was to go through the M’sian system.
      3) after completion of specialist training (the long haul ~10-13 years). Her specialist qualification would be fully recognised and she would be gazetted a specialist and be eligible to apply for consultant posts in Malaysia (also in the UK, for by that time, she would be a permanent resident and have no immigration barriers to her employment).

      If she returns to Malaysia after Foundation training for 5-10 years, it will be near impossible for her to return to the UK to pursue specialty training (note that GP/primary care is also a specialty in UK). Firstly, there will be the massive barrier that is UK immigration law against the employment of non-EC persons. Secondly, competition for specialty training posts in the UK is fierce. After being out of the UK system for 5-10 years, she may not have a CV that matches up to her contemporaries. She will also be seen as a “foreign” trainee. Whereas if she continues in the system after Foundation training, she will be viewed by her Consultants as a “local” trainee. Yes, there are immigration issues with this, too. But they are easier to overcome than if she was to leave for 5-10 years and try to return to the UK.

      Realistically speaking, if she leaves after her Foundation years, she will have no chance to return to the UK for specialty training. I would urge her and your family to think long and hard about this decision.

      When she graduates from the University of Edinburgh, she will have acquired an internationally recognised medical degree. If she stays on in the UK, is prepared to work hard and has the potential, she will go on to acquire postgraduate training and degrees that are internationally recognised. If she returns to Malaysia after Foundation training, she effectively will sever all these potential advantages. Having invested so much in her education, are you willing to give all this up?

      Ultimately, it really comes down to how she feels deep down inside about life in Malaysia (and the UK). Choosing to remain in the UK may mean a lot of sacrifice especially when it comes to family time which I expect will be one of the key issues.

      If she remains here for 10-13 years to complete her specialist training to the very end, be prepared for the possiblity that she will choose life here over life in Malaysia and never return. But it does open the door for her future generations to live a life free from constitutional prejudice and racial persecution.

      My apologies for such a long reply. Best wishes.

      PS: If your daughter would like to speak with me personally for advice, I am happy to correspond with her.

      • Dear Jon J,

        Thank you for the very detailed reply. It is reassuring to know that the wiser and more senior doctors are prepared to guide the young and aspiring ones.

        Her current situation stems from the fact that she isn’t completely happy living in the UK. Otherwise, this would be an easier and straightforward path for her to progress in her career. The ideal situation in her opinion is to return home after graduation, spend less than 10 years here completing HO, MO, and MRCP. During this time she will also start a family as she would like to be married and have children by the age of 30. She doesn’t intend to do her Masters because that will only allow her to work in Malaysia. Ultimately, she would like to migrate abroad when her career had progressed along with a family to keep her company. She is willing to stay another year to obtain GMC certification providing this brings an added benefit to her future job applications elsewhere in the world. If it does, can you kindly point out where it is stated on the GMC website? I noticed that you said two years in foundation training. Is it not just one year before certification?

        Please also help to clarify these.
        1. What is the difference between registration and licensing?
        2. What is the annual fee to renew a registration and is this possible even if the doctor is not working in the UK at the time?
        3. Will she be considered a ‘foreign trainee’ if she reapplies to the UK after 5 to 10 years having been educated in a university in the UK? Is the situation any different if she is registered under the GMC?

        Please accept my apologies if you had already answered some of these questions in your previous post. I will send her all these information and ask her to get in touch with you for advice if she needs clarification. It is very kind of you to offer help. Kudos for achieving a consultant post

        Kind regards,
        Saranya Manoharan

      • I think that your daughter is asking for a lot, i.e. to have a good family life and at the same time be able to progress in a medical career. Perhaps it is possible in other fields, but certainly not in medicine in the UK, at least during the training years lasting around 10 years after FY2. I am currently an anaesthesiology trainee in the UK, and from my FY1 onwards, every year I had to change Trust (hospital). It makes it very difficult to settle down let alone having a family. If your daughter have kids, they will have to relocate every year and there is no guarantee that her husband will move to the same area as her assuming that her husband is elligible to work in the UK for whatever reasons. On top of that, to be able to manage a balanced family life and at the same time progress in her career, she will need to somehow find enough time in a day to 1.do her normal duties including oncalls (and for ST1 onwards, that is quite a lot of her time), 2.study for exams 3.manage a family (especially with kids) in the UK, and on top of that find time for things that are important for career progression such as research, publication, phd etc etc. It is not impossible, but it takes quite a superwoman to be able to do it, and on top of that, her husband will have to be willing to sacrifice a lot to accommodate her career needs.

        And speaking about equal opportunities, your daughter will have as good chance of getting into the masters program as the specialty training in the UK. I was in the top quartile when the ST results were out almost 3 years ago, yet they put me in the reserve list because they had to fill the post with EU nationals first. I only managed to get into the program because somebody was offered 2 posts at the same time and had to turn down one. In other words, no matter how good you are, you will only get a training post once they have filtered through their own citizens.

    • I presume your daughter is self sponsored, if not she should come back in accordance to her contract. If she wants to do FY1 in UK then might as well she complete all her specialist training in UK, which is recognised in many countries. You must understand that Malaysian postgraduate training is not recognised elsewhere.
      There is no point going back to UK after coming home. Whether you will become a consultant or not depends on her training level in UK.

      I think since your daughter is a doctor soon, you should forget about her married life etc for the moment. Medical life is not easy and many doctors who married early usually will end up with problems in their family life. That is the reality. I had housemen who got married just after graduation and either never did her housemen or ended up quiting all together. I think you should let your daughter to decide on when she wants to get married. Many of my classmates of female gender did not even do the speciality that they wanted after they got married. Some even became housewives or ended up doing Radiology, public health and GP.

      • Dear Dr,

        Thank you for this blog. It is very informative; especially so for foreign graduates who have not been exposed to the hospital environment in Malaysia, who had no contact with senior doctors who have been working with the Malaysian system for many years, and those who don’t have an army of doctors in their families to provide the information to make sound career decisions.

        1. Is MRCP always done locally for Malaysians? And is that recognized worldwide? Is there a possibility to do this abroad so that there is no scholarship/bond and the need to wait for a place in the government universities in Malaysia.

        2. Nav mentioned that my daughter will have to complete the rotations which are required for houseman training in Malaysia, if she hadn’t done so in her F1 training in the UK. If she had done the rotations, does that mean that she will be exempted from repeating them, thus shortening her HO training.

        Kind regards,
        Saranya Manoharan

      • 1) MRCP can be sat in Malaysia, Singapore or UK. The first 2 parts are theory papers and can be set in Malaysia. For the 3rd part ( Clinical), you can either sit in Malaysia, Singapore or go all the way to UK. The exams are the same no matter where you sit. There is NO bond if you sit for MRCP, it is purely self sponsored! MRCP is not a specialist degree in UK. It is an entrance exam for speciality training in UK. IN Malaysia, after 18 months post MRCP, you can be gazetted as a general internal medicine specialist if your HOD is happy with your performance. After this you can go on to do your subspeciality.

        2) HO training in Malaysia is 2 years . Each postings has certain duration. MMC will go through all the postings that you had done in UK and then decide on which postings that you need to do in order to get full registration. IT does not make your HO training any shorter. She will only be exempted from doing the posting that she had done in UK ( depending on the duration as well)

    • Dear Saranya,

      I will reply here since the comment tree structure allows only 2 levels of reply. Others have already given their point of view with regards to the difficulty of pursuing a medical/surgical career and having a family with children. They make very good points which I agree with. Medical/surgical postgraduate training is not conducive to a family setup where both spouses are in full time careers.

      Registration with the GMC simply means that a doctor is in good standing with the GMC. The easiest way to understand licensing is to consider whether a doctor who qualified in medicine 50 years ago is still necessarily fit and up do date to practice clinical medicine! From 2012, formal revalidation procedures are going to be instituted such that one’s GMC licence to practice will only be renewed if the practitioner has undergone satifactory revalidation. The details of what exactly revalidation will entail are still being worked out.

      The current annual fee for maintaining GMC registration with a licence to practice is £420. the fee for registration without a licence to practice is £145. If your daughter was to return to Malaysia but wants to maintain her GMC registration, I would advise taking registration without a licence. Once formal revalidation procedures for re-licensing are established by the GMC, it is unlikely that she would be able to fulfill all the requirements of revalidation from her work in the Malaysian medical system to be eligible for re-licensing anyway.

      You are correct that only the first year of foundation training is required to attain GMC registration. If that is all she wishes, then she can leave after her F1 year.

      However, the UK training system has now moved on to be “competency based” where one can only progress to the next level upon attainment of defined competencies. One of the requirements for entry to specialty training is the completion of 2 years of foundation training. Without completing her F2, there is every chance that this may become an issue should she wish to return to the UK for future specialty training.

      GMC registration is useful primarily in the UK, Europe and some Commonwealth countries (eg: Australia and New Zealand). Where a country recognises UK GMC registration, there will normally be no requirement to serve an internship year and the doctor may apply to more senior positions

      If she leaves the UK for 5-10 years, she will definitely be seen as a “foreign trainee”. Neither having a UK degree nor GMC registration will count for very much then. It is the combination of having a UK degree and being currently trained in the UK postgraduate system which will make her be regarded as a “local trainee”.

      Kind regards.

  98. Dear sir

    First of all this is a great article and Im grateful that Ive found it. Anyway, I would like to ask how do I apply for housemanship in singapore? currently Im holding a MBBS degree recognized by the singapore government but I don’t know to search nor apply for housemanship in singapore. People told me that i could search through the web but I don’t have any clue how should i get started. Do you have a specific website/civil service body/ that could I drop my resume or email or even a phonecall for enquiry?

    Thankyou in advanced.


    • Hospitals in Singapore are not government hospitals anymore. They are known as Restructured Institutions, only partly owned by the government. The health system is run by 2 companies: Singhealth and NHG. You need to either visit each hospital website or go to singhealth website. However, I was told that HO and MO appointments has been centralised to MOH Holdings Singapore. Please visit their website as well.

    • Dear Tristan,
      U can try googling for MOH holdings website n they should hv info regarding recruitment.
      MOH do hold recruitment drives in aus,uk n even Malaysia too!

  99. Hi dr.Pagalavan,

    I’ve been following your site for quite some time now. Thank u so much for all the informations and insights for us young doctors. I’m well in my final semester of med school and am thinking of taking medical entrance exams such as USMLE,LMCC,AMC etc (and even considering sitting for PLAB during housemanship later). So I guess this is the right time for me to start preparing myself for the 1st part of the paper that I will choose later on.

    And for this, I really need your help dr.Pagalavan..on choosing which entrance exam is the best and which has the highest chance of getting intership placement afterwards. As we know these papers are costly and chooSing the right one is crucial.I really don’t mind working in any of those countries in the future. Just want to do my postgrad degree that is recognized internationally n do it abroad 🙂

    Thank u dr.Pagalavan in advance, for your time reading this and for your help.

    • First of all it is difficult to do these exams while you are doing housemanship but with the current shift system being introduced, the chances are better. If you are planning to defer your housemanship just to sit for these exams, than it is also not a good idea. The last I heard, even internship post in Australia is getting saturated as most foreign students wants to do internship in Australia. I think LMCC is probably a better option. Passing USMLE do not guarantee you a post in US. It is better for you to start your housemanship and do one of these exams along the way.

      • Dr Pagalavan has a point about the AMC exam; even if you pass the exam, you will still be placed the lowest in priority when it comes to internship positions i.e. every single medical graduate in Australia (Yes, this includes international students in Australia as well) who wishes to undergo internship training will have to be placed first before AMC candidates can even be considered. With the current internship bottleneck in Australia, I would even go as far as saying your chances for an Australian internship in the next few years are close to nil.

        USMLE is probably the only exam in which your results (Step scores) actually matter in determining whether your residency match is successful or not. But then again, considering the precarious situation the American economy is currently in, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more health care funding cuts in the States, especially if the Tea Party gets its way…

      • Thank u for your advice dr.Pagalavan. Regarding my question more than a week ago, I think I’ve done enough research on which entrance exam (joined some online student forums for almost 6 months actually & looked through some of the modules) and with your advice I have some rough ideas (can I say plus intuition?haha) on what I should do next. I know both Canada and the US offer very limited posts for IMGs and I’m aware that it will not guarantee a post but I’ll take my chances on one of those two. And as adviced earlier, yes I will do the exam next year and we’ll see how everything goes during my housemanship. Thank u again dr.Pagalavan! Will keep following your very interesting site 🙂

    • Might I also add that you’re only allowed to take the USMLE once, say if you barely passed the exam, you’ll still find it really hard to land a residency. Go, look up the annual match statistics (US seniors vs IMG statistics) and at least get an idea of the competition you’re about to face.

  100. hello dr,
    I just completed the 2 yr housemanship and now waiting for m.o placement. I plan to complete mrcs part 1, 2 and 3 in malaysia before going to ireland for both specialist training and FRCS. btw I graduated from Ireland and not a scholar so I’m not bonded with the government. since mrcs is not recognised in malaysia, that’s why i plan to complete all postgraduate training in Ireland. my questions are:
    1. if i quit government now and do mrcs on my own before going to Ireland, can i complete the 2 yr compulsory service after coming back from Ireland (after completing FRCS). (btw the reason why i plan to quit government now is because i want to concentrate on my side business first before starting on a surgical postgraduate training).
    2. I am aware that for part 2 and 3 mrcs, i need to do the training with a hospital. can i do it at a private hospital in malaysia? if not, can i continue back with the government as m.o after quiting for 1-2 years and do the part 2/3 mrcs training there?
    3. is FRCS recognised in malaysia? I still want to come back and settle down in Malaysia for good after completing all postgraduate training
    please help, thanx

    • 1) As you said, you need to be in training before you sit for MRCS Part B ( they have combined Part 2 and 3 to Part B from this year onwards). Thus, it is not advisable to quit government service.
      2) Nope, as far as I know, you can’t do your training in private hospital because there is no such thing as training in private hospital in Malaysia. All consultants are self employed and the private hospital would not allow you to touch any of their patient. So, how are you going to do surgery? Yes, you can rejoin MOH on a contract basis depending on availability of post. You can be posted anywhere in Malaysia depending on availability and looking at the situation of oversupply of doctors soon, likely you will be given a post in rural hospitals/east Malaysia.

      3) Yes.

      • I have a question.

        Lets say i.k above, who is currently a 1st year MO, finally got a training position for say 6 years in Ireland. He still wants to continue to serve the Malaysian government after he finished the training, as a general surgeon.

        Can he “take an unpaid leave” or “break” from his government service, head to ireland to do his training, and then come back to Malaysia, and continue to serve the government, not just for 1 more year, but for many years to come, but NOT on contract basis?

      • Unpaid leave not possible as it depends on years of service. Break in service is possible but usually for only 2-3 years BUT it will affect your seniority in service as well as pension. Promotion will be based on actual service in Malaysia. The break will not be considered.

  101. 1.according to the new rules,is there no working clinical experience required for mrcp 1?

    2.is there any clinical experience required for mrcp 2 ?

    3.can i do the mrcp training in singapore after clearing the first 2 parts,if my undergrad degree is not recognized by MOH singapore?

    • 1) MRCP PART 1 can be set after 1 year of housemanship. So you must be inservice for 1 year.

      2)You can sit for Part 2 but you can’t sit for Part 3 without clinical experience. You need a supervisor to sign the application form.

      3) You need to complete all 3 parts before being accepted in Singapore!

  102. Hi Dr. Pagavalan Letchumanan,

    I graduated from a local private medical university in 2006, completed my housemanship training in a local government hospital, passed the MRCP(UK) in 2010 and currently i have just finished my gazettement this month.

    My problem is that I’m in a relationship with another doctor who is currently attempting the FANZCA (Anaethesiology) part 1 and if she pass the part 1, she will have work in Australia for about 2 years before she can take the final exam. We are planning to get married next year and if she pass her exam I will have to follow her to Australia and work there as well.

    My questions are:
    1. Can I apply to work in Australia as a physician/registrar with MRCP and a Malaysian MBBS?
    2. Do I have to take the AMC part 1 even though I have MRCP?
    3. Can I apply for a subspeciality training post in Australia with MRCP?

    I hope others who had such experience can provide me the relevant information..Thank you very much in advance.

    • Dear HS,

      Your partner doesn’t HAVE to work in Aus to get her FANZCA. There are 5 hospitals in Malaysia in which she can do all her training. It is probably desirable to work in Aus/NZ to prepare for her Final Exam, but not compulsory.

      Your MRCP(UK) without the CST will not allow you to work as a specialist in Aus. If you apply, the Aus Medical Board may allow you to work as a Registrar without sitting the AMC exams, although this is on a case by case basis. If their decision is unfavourable, you will have to sit the AMC exam and work as a house officer for one year. If you wish to stay in Aus as a specialist, you will have to sit the FRACP exam and do advanced training there. It is a more difficult exam (some might say more unfair as well) than the MRCP and most from the UK think they can pass it easily because they have the MRCP, but end up failing at least once.

      I advise you to contact the AMC or Aus Medical Board (I don’t know whose jurisdiction this comes under nowadays) directly, and apply. Also contact the RACP and they may have some advice for you. You may have to give yourself as much as 12 months for this process. You will also need a valid IELTS. Good luck.

    • 1) MRCP is not recognised in Australia. However you can apply as a foreign trained specialist via the respective colleges. BUT, since you just passed MRCP in 2010, you may not be considered as a specialist.
      2) pls contact the respective colleges for further info. Sometimes , they may accept you as a MO/Registra but wil need to complete the FRACP exams in time

      3) NO

  103. Dear Dr, I am a gazetted ENT specialist – undergraduate from India and postgrad from UKM. I am interested in trying it out in either Singapore or Australia in the near future. I am really grateful to come across your blog and I really thank you for that. my question to you is whether it is advisable to take the MRCS ENT from UK or the AMC in australia? from your previous blogs, I reckon that MRCS is easier to attain as compared to the AMC exams…please advice. Thank you

    • MRCS if Singapore. AMC for Australia. Master’s is not recognised elsewhere. At the most, you will get a registra post.

    • Dear LCN,

      I have a friend who was in a pretty similar situation as you. Indian undergrad and UM postgrad in ENT. He managed to get a fellowship post in NZ, during which he sat the FRACS ENT final exam, and is now working as a specialist in Aus. According to him, the RACS partially recognised his Malaysian Masters (this is on a case-by-case basis), which meant he did not have to sit an exam to work in Aus/NZ. However, he needed a supervisor for his fellowship and it has to be a general fellowship. You should contact the RACS directly for more info.

      If you sit the AMC exam, it means you are starting from scratch. You will have to do 1 year as a HO, and then work your way as a registrar to be eligible to sit the FRACS ENT exam. The MRCS ENT exam has no standing in Aus without the CST, as far as I understand (but you can ask the RACS about this).

      I don’t know about the situation in Singapore.

  104. Thank you for the prompt reply Dr. Is the fact of taking AMC more difficult than the MRCS. From what I see, the MRCS is more expensive, on the other hand, AMC looks almost not possible with all the red tapes in Australia. please advice, thank you

    • Your Master’s and even MRCS is not recognised in Australia. However, you can try applying through the respective colleges under foreign trained specilaist. They may accept you as a MO/registra and ask you to sit for their ENT exams before allowing you to work as a specialist. As for Singapore, MRCS may be sufficient to get a registra post.

  105. Dear Nav, thanks for filling me in. I think I do know who u r talking about. In fact I spoke to his supervisor recently. I am in fact trying to get the FRACS ENT that way. However, I have problem trying to contact him to find out more about this.thanks

  106. Dr,

    Thank you for your information. Perdana university is a new medical college which in collaboration with John Hopkins medical college in US. They will be using the same syllbus as US and some visiting professors from John Hopkins. Please note that the MD degree certs will not mention anything about John Hopkins and is not reconised by US though the syllbus is following US style training.The tuition fees is 1 million and JPA offer a scholarship which 10 years bond.
    The 2 years residency will be done in Malaysia or MAYBE in US.
    I am thinking to practice residency in US and further my master, phd in overseas as well. But after my studies, I am willing to come back to serve my nation as a full time clinician and part time researcher. Yet I really don’t know what JPA will do to me before I step out.
    Kindly share your thoughts on this.

    • I think you should read what I wrote about Perdana University in my recent blog postings.First of all, a fee of RM 1 million for a degree that is not recognised elsewhere is total bullshit! What should we pay that amount of money for a local degree. There is NO such thing as 2 year residency in US. All medical graduates in US have to sit for USMLE before getting a post for internship. Thus, unless you pass the USMLE there is no way you can practise in US. It does not matter which curicullum they use. Even MOnash Malaysia’s degree is not recognised in Singapore despite the same curicullum and training style.

      Since you are bonded, you will not be able to leave the government service. If you do, you or your guarantor will have to pay back the RM1 million.

    • As far as I am concerned, Perdana University is a BIG joke. It is a money making business and the government is supporting it through the backdoor by giving JPA scholarship to all students accepted into the university. Please read my postings about Perdanas under Education page.

      • Yes I read that and for certain informations I will call the department for confirmation.
        I went to the JPA interview today, it was not easy and the skem is quite complete; they look into the different aspects of a student.
        But I really concern is the residency part and the accredition. They claim to match us with US hospitals yet the prospect is uncertain. Without accrediation, I don’t know where can accept my post grad studies.
        I already spent my 3 years in university and I really wish that I will not make a wrong choice agian. If I were to go into medical field, I hope to go into research.
        Right now I have another offer by o&g medic fac in PPUM, to further my sutdies in a very interesting subject. Yet, a doctor can be a researcher but a researcher cant be a doctor. Kindly advise me.

      • Please do not trust all these claims!! everyone will claim everything like what Melaka Manipal claim that they are giving the same degree as Manipal Uni in India but do you know that Melaka Manipal degree is not even recognised in India?
        It depends on what type of research you want to do : basic research or clinical research. For basic science research, you don’t need a medical degree as you are not going to do lab work once you become a doctor. Medical schools also DO NOT teach you this! For clinical research , yes but you are just carrying out clinical research on drugs already developed by pharma company or doing clinical outcome research on patients. So, if you are really into research then forget about spending 4 years in medical school! A basic medical science degree and PhD will do.

  107. Thank you for your response. But I feel like being a doctor can serve for human mankind more than staying in a lab. I like to help peoples, care about them…..
    Yet the future seems so bleak with this so-called world class medical teaching instituition…

    • It is my last chance to go into this career.
      Do you think I stand stand a chance to do US residency and further studies at UK/US, then come back and serve?

      • Nope. As I said, you need to sit and pass the USMLE exam before even applying for a post in US. Passing USMLE also DO NOT guarantee a post. So, you have to do everything in Malaysia. And being bonded is another issue. For UK, you need to pass the PLAB exam with no guarantee again that you will get a post.

        Pls do not think what you want to do after MBBS at this point of time. Things will change along the way. Only decide after you complete your housemanship.

  108. How to know that I am ready for this? How to know I am doing the right choice? What if I really selected for the scholarship.
    I get more determined after my degree yet with you facts and assumptions, I feel lost again.

    • You must ask yourself why you want to do medicine, for passion? money? want to be a scientist ? glamour? job security? etc. I know of a very well known Professor of medicine who is internationally known. He and his wife were in a local university (now retired) and spend their entire life doing research, teaching and doing clinical work. They had 3 sons and NONE of them ever wanted to become a doctor!! why? because they hardly spent any time with their parents( they spend their life with their maid) so much so they do not want to do the same thing to their kids!! So, if you are really interested in doing research and at the same time do clinical work, then you must forget about family life! In western countries, a researcher hardly does any clinical work and vice versa.

      That’s the reason I said that if you want to become a reseacrh scientist, you should not waste your time doing medicine. It is best for you go on to do basic science Masters and then PhD. Medical schools only teach you to become a clinical doctor to treat patients. Of course you can still go on to do PhD but it is going to be purely lab research work. That’s the reason many clinicians do not do PhD because by the time you finish your PhD, you would have forgotten your medicine!

      • But that is not true. I did encounter a full time clinician, part time researcher in national university malaya. She did her MD degree, master and phd in overseas and she has 2 children now. So inspiring to see her balance her career and family after experience so much in overseas.
        I would say is passion. I like to digest the occurence of the disease, our body mechanism, drug interaction, and at the same time communicate and care for people. I feel that I only have short 40-60 years life span and I go for this mission, fulfill my life in this world. I work for few months and I strongly feel that I am wasting my time on those unethical industry.
        That is what I feel. Few years back I dint go for it due the scary career pathway and self-doubting.
        About the scientist career, maybe I should consider after housemanship. If I directly go for master and phd, I might end up facing virus for the rest of my life but not the people. I think the connection with people and serving the people is the main motivation for me to go on any career.

      • As I said, having children is one thing but the amount of time spent with them is another. You will know what I am talking about once you get into it.

        Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device via Vodafone-Celcom Mobile.

      • Why not apply directly to Johns Hopkins University, one of the best if not the best medical school in the United States? If you’re good enough to be accepted, then JPA would be crazy not to sponsor your studies there. It’s actually cheaper to study at JHU itself than in Perdana – how that is even possible I have absolutely no idea. Now, if you graduate in the US, you’ll be considered a US Senior, NOT an International Medical Graduate (IMG) as you would if you graduate from Perdana. This makes getting a residency in the US so much easier – look up the statistics if you don’t believe me. But the truth is what worked for the previous generation will NOT apply to you, simply because the market is slowly saturating with doctors, even in Western countries. The clinician you know didn’t have to face this kind of competition. now did she? And hey if you manage to get into Perdana, you could perhaps snoop around to find out about the class GPA and MCAT average. I for one would really like to know the numbers (which I doubt Perdana will ever disclose even though the tax-payers are funding this)

    • This is the nature of the scourge of the 24 hour day – this rule applies to everyone, no exceptions. With that in mind, you can only do so much in the time available to you.

      I am an old friend of a Professor at University Hospital who is exactly as you describe – trained overseas with MBBS, subspecialist qualifications and PhD as well. Top clinician, excellent academic in her part non-clinical time, mother of two lovely children… we might even be referring to the same person!

      I admire her greatly and she is indeed inspiring, but I think that she is the exception that proves the rule!

      • This is scary, we might talking about the same person!
        She has a perfect perfect perfect life.
        I never know I was so wrong before I met her. Things will be different if I met this kind of person few years back…

  109. Going to John Hopkins itself need interview and no phone interview is allowed. I wonder when JPA will stop sponsor the stupid one.
    I don’t think they can be consider an International Medical Graduate (IMG) after Perdana. The uni is not listed under WHO.
    Only first class degree honor is accepted. Anyway, getting 1st honor degree in Malaysia is ABSOLUTELY EASY.
    For first year, MCAT score is not taken into account. yet they are required to take the test, before they enroll.
    Anyway tax-payers are paying around 30 millions to this university, first year, around 25-30 students.

  110. dear yuan xin,

    Being a medical doctor and a researcher is two different pathways. You have to be clear on what you want and what will be your passion and income for your future. My husband is doing residency in peds in US, currently in second year. And i graduated with biotechnology in Monash Malaysia. I can give you an insight in career in both fields. First, MD. In order to advance yourself to a higher level (specialization), you need to plan ahead what med school will you be attending and make sure the degree you earn is recognized at the country you want to get your specialization. Common places to specialize is UK, SIngapore, Aus, and US. In UK, the chances are rather slim due to government regulations agaisnt non EU graduates. Singapore and Aus, you still have some chances proviced you take and excel all their entrance exam. In US, to quality for residency, you have to take the USMLE exam (consist of step 1, step 2 CK, Step 2 CS and Step 3). Once you completed step 1 and step 2CK with flying colors, you can apply for residency. But, if your grad school is non-US based, you will be considered as an IMG (international medical graduate), where you will compete with the rest of the world (doctors from iran, india, uk, aus etc etc) and the matching percentage is around 38% suceess rate. Another way to gain an upperhand in US residency matching is to be a canadian graduate (grduate from canada medical school) As a canadian grad, you will be classified under US-IMG where the competition is less fierce and the matching rte is around 70%. Note that USMLE is self sponsored and the exams plus the residency application fees plus the interview costs are all covered by you (budget around 30k for this). And no guarantee that you will get to match a spot. For medical doctors, they can still carry out research. This will only happen at a higher level (after your residency, you can apply for fellowship which allows you to subspecialize). After 3-4 yrs residency and 3-4 years of fellowship, then you will be an attending. As an attending, you can carry out clinical research. This pathway is long and arduous (5 yr med school + 1-2 yrs of exam and application + 3-4 yrs residency + 3-4 yrs fellowship) during which your pay as a resident and fellow is meagre and just sufficient for a moderate lifestyle. NO BMWs, NO BIG HOUSE!

    Second choice. Lab research. You can graduate in biotech, biomed or any science research degree and they are all the same (in corporate world at least). Basic deg (3 yrs) + Masters (2-3 yrs) + Phd (3-4 yrs).
    For basic deg and masters, your career options are similar. Either research in universities, sales for pharma drugs and equipment, become a lecturer or a med lab tech. As a researcher in universities, your salary is grant based and will be around Rm1200-1500. You will be hired under a contract based on how long the grant is suppose to lalast (usually 1-2 yrs) and you will be the one running the entire project from ordering of lab supplies to cleaning labware to running the experiment to writing the paper for publication. And because you are contract based, you are considered part timer with no benefits, no bonus, no increment and no promotion. Sales for pharma drugs and equipment. You will join companies like merck, gsk, invitrogen, eppendorf and be their sales person. Monthly salary can reach 4000 IF you meet your sales target. Lecturer in colleges and pre-u courses earn around 2200-2800. Lastly, med lab tech like those in hospitals or lab companies. You will be in charged of taking blood from patients, running their blood or urine or fecal samples, printing out reports, analyzing and explaining to your customer. All for around 1500 starting salary and also in charge of telemarketing and data-entry. Lastly, the glorified PhD holder! So, after your Phd, the usual carrier path is to become a university lecturer. If you are lucky, your university will allow you to do research. (after all universities hire you for teaching and not to spend money on research). As a lecturer, (in monash at least), you will be hired on contract basis (3-5 yrs) and you must carry out research and PUBLISH papers in order to continue your contract. Publication is very very important in research world and it is NOT easy to publish in an international journal. As a lecturer, you will be bogged down by plenty of classes and teaching obligations and usually your research is done by your honours or masters or phd students and NOT BY YOU!! You will be the one guiding them but you will not be doing the hands on.

    Also, don’t be fooled by research in general. The process is not easy as it seems on tv and movies. You can be stuck in one process eg bacterial cloning for 3-4 months without any results and it is very frustrating. Or you could culture some super important cancer strain and the next thing you know, it could be contaminated by fungus and you will have to redo the whole thing. IT IS NOT EASY. Working hours can extend to 9-10 pm and sometimes on weekends just because bacterial cells need 16 hours of cell growth and if you want to start harvesting them on monday, you need to go back to the lab to culture them on sunday for overnight culture.

  111. Looking into Perdana university’s website link as provided by yuan xin. I read it and almost died laughing. Perdana university’s claims are just magic smoke and mirrors! i looked into their website and it was horrible! Spelling mistakes everywhere. Selangor spelled as salangor, hospital spelled as hospitak. I always believe that the university’s website gives a clue to how they would run the school. If i can point out such mistakes and their IT crew does not bother to rectify them, it reflects the quality within. Beware!

  112. Thank you Elly for such an informative comments. The US system sounds less ‘hassle’ than Msia systems where you need to queue for master and subspecialize programs. However I doubt Perdana graduates could even take the examination at the first place as Perdana is too new to be recognized under WHO. To take the licensing examination, the institution should be recognized by WHO. My other concern is JPA would let the graduates to practice residency in US since in recent years those who studied medical in overseas are forced to come back immediately for their residency program in Msia. It will be very contradict. Singapore is a good place for specialize, but during the JPA interview, the insecure interviewers kept asking: Will you go Singapore? lol. From the questions they asked in interview: ‘Are you willing to go remote area? If too saturated with specialist, could you remain as MO?’ I have no idea in what form the scholars will be kept here by JPA after graduation.
    For research in university, I was lucky enough to get around 2k as starting pay. A good chance to further studies. So at the end, as a biotech grad, what you choose? But I have to agree that fastest way to earn good income and have all the house or car or whatever, is being a medical rep. I got an offer by the company that you mentioned but too ‘bad’ I think that I am not ‘destined’ for this luxury route 🙂
    Research is never easy even though how hard you work 😦 As you said I did bacteria cloning, 3-5 months no result at all, and it was only at PCR stage! But I still had to keep it going, and it turned out fine for my final year project. I understand it will be very very tough for master/phd project and I strongly feel that having lab fingers is important (which I still need to improve on it)
    Perdana University has a group of dedicated people in serving the students and making things work. Of course the fame and recognition can only be seen after some years, hope it will be as good as DUKE-NUS.

    • As far as Duke-NUS is concerned, I doubt Perdana will ever be able to match them simply because Perdana is a private initiative (regardless of the fact that JPA is keeping it afloat) as opposed to NUS, which is a well-established and reputable PUBLIC university. You have to ask yourself: why can’t it be UM-Johns Hopkins or UKM-JHU? If this is not a money-making exercise, then can someone please clarify the justification for having another medical school in Malaysia?

      Also tell me, who exactly is this group of dedicated people? Last I checked, there appears to be an exodus of talent from 1Malaysia – who are they trying to kid here? Ironically, this institution will eventually also contribute to the American people, that is if everything goes according to plan. A modern-day practice in imperialism, don’t you agree?

    • dear Yuan Xin,
      just would like to give some opinion and suggestions. i’m glad to hear that u want to proceed to study medicine. but the perdana is very new, their quality still unknown, and the tuition fee is so expensive. i don’t think it is worth to go for that school (although they r the only one currently providing the 4 years graduate medical program). if u successfully secure a JPA scholarship, u will be bonded may be for 9 – 10 years. if u wish to break the contract, then u need to pay them abck a huge amount of money. but if u wish to work in oversea, then u cannot wait until u completed ur bond, by that time the western countries may change their policy and do not want any “foreigner” doctors any more. i myself hold a MSc in chemical pathology before i entered medical school at the age of 27. i couldn’t get any JPA sponsorship or loan for my medical program because they told me their policy was no sponsorship for degree holder to do medicine. so i’m very doubtful if JPA has changed their policy now and starts to sponsor graduate students to do medicine????? please read the contract carefully before u sign it. but for the safe side, i still think it is better to enter a well-established private medical school with a lower fee compared to perdana. just think in this way 300k in well-established school vs 1 million in unknown quality school..

      regarding research, it is very hard for a clinician to do clinical work and the laboratory works at the same time in this country, due to lack of lab facilities and equipment, as well as limitation in grant allocation. they have money to send somebody to “tumpang” other peoples kapal angkasa and called him an angkasawan, but they don’t have money to upgrade our research lab.. :p i’m interested in research as well, but more to clinical-based (not drug-based).. there r many clinical based research can be carried out in the hospitals for the benefit of patients.. don’t give up ur dream. make the right decision for the life u would like to have in future. i have a friend who hold a biomedic degree, worked as drug rep for 3 years selling vigra, and now is a houseman in perak. i myself worked as a dish washer before in a fast food restaurant for pocket money, and now i’m busy washing the brain in the hospital.. nothing is impossible.. take the responsibility and work with passion, and don’t end up as a doctor potato.. good luck to u.. best wishes.. 🙂

      • JPA came up with this new special scholarship for Perdana to keep Perdana floating ! If not they will kaput!

      • there is just only a school of medicine inside the perdana.. only one medical program is offered (no pharmacy, no nursing).. but how come it can easily get the status of “university” so fast..?? i thought an instituition must have combination of different schools (engineering, arts, bussiness etc) before it can be granted the status of “university”..?? last time the IMU also started as a college and after many many years only it got the “university” status.. even the sedaya college only able to get a “university college” status after so many years.. but how come perdana…..????? emm, may be ada udang di sebalik batu.. not one udang, but few udangs i think… :p

      • Dear Dr.Simon,

        Sorry for miss out your comments! Thank you thank you so much! I like the part you’r washing brain in hospital, are you a forensic pathologist?
        My first concern is money. Though the quality in the school is really unknown, yet JPA pay for it. I don’t have 300k for another quality private school and it seems that this is the last chance to study medicine w/o paying a huge sum of money.
        My second concern is choosing between a research career or medical career. I am lucky enough to choose between them yet I don’t know how to make up my mind. A medical career in Msia might not be assisting me to further my studies in overseas while research career, the opportunity is unknown and depends on the talent and hardwork.
        Dr. Simon, as an ex-research student and medic student, how do you see both career? I am thinking going for research (cancer) for some time before go into medical career since I already have a good offer in a good university. Or I should directly to go medical? All I want definitely is not money, is only the satisfaction and the contribution which align with my passion and talent (if I am really blessed with talent). I foresee I will be struggling in research career due to lack of lab fingers, but I still can work hard on it.
        About US residency training and other stuff, besides feeling weird and have some prejudgment on the school, I am fine with doing horsemanship in rural area.

      • dear Yuan Xin,
        i m doing neurosurgery.. if the jpa scholarship is confirmed, and u hav no other better options, at the same time u r so keen to do medicine, then u may hav to just proceed with perdana.. but i still suggest u to go to the perdana campus to find out their facilities and read the jpa contract crefully before u sign it.. is their private teaching hospital ready? if not, where are the students going to have their clinical teaching? who are the lecturers? hav they hired any lecturers yet? they cannot just depend on the US lecturers.. who is going to teach if these US lecturers cannot come to perdana? also, once u signed the contract, u will be bonded for 8-10 years.. is it ur dream to go for oversea postgraduate training? is this “bond” going to affect ur dreams? these r the things that u need to consider in depth.. 🙂
        if ur ambition all these years is to become a doctor, then just go for it straight.. personally i don’t think going for research career first and then come back again to study medicine is a good idea.. our brain cells are degenerating and dying every day.. :p remember: older age = poor memory = learning difficulty = poor performance.. also, u will have more family commitment and social responsibility with time, all these factors may affect ur study as well.. u will become a houseman at an older age as well.. just imagine if there is a childish MO (younger than u) giving u all the nonsense instructions all the day.. furthermore, u may have difficulty to get into the postgraduate training (especially the local master program which selection of candidates is based on the seniority).. i’m not sure about the external exams (eg. mrcp, mrcog etc..) in future.. may be one day in future these external exams qualification are no longer recognised in this country (may be the local universities want to standardize the local postgraduate training and do not recognise these UK training any more).. any thing can change in future..
        u still can carry on with ur research after u become a doctor later.. i meant the clinical-based research, not the laboratory-based research.. u may also work together with other scientists, giving ur clinical opinion so they can design an approriate laboratory-based study which is more relevant to ur clinical needs..
        wish u all the best.. 🙂

      • I had a short tour in the school and it looks good. Anyway I don’t know what kind of facilities should exist in a medical school. They have anatomy room, computer room, etc. Thanks you for the reminder, I will read the jpa contract carefully. Their private teaching hospital SHOULD BE ready by 2014. Most of the professors are visiting professors. I might better keep my expectation not-too high towards all the their plans….
        Thank you for your words. Finally found someone kinda ‘agree & support’, 1st one in this forum and a few one in my life. 🙂 Appreciate it..

      • the basic facilities include: clinical skill labs with manikin for the students to learn how to insert branula, put in nasogatric tube, urinary catheterization, gynaecological examination, basic cardiopulmonary resuscitation, basic dressing skills, tracheal intubation techniques etc.. these r all very important otherwise the fresh graduated doctors will traumatize the patients due to poor skills and improper techniques.. they also should have well-equipped library with internet access and online journal subscription.. pathology lab with real organ specimen if possible, microscopes for basic histology study.. etc.. etc..
        i think it is a little bit late if they start taking students this year but the hospital itself only ready by 2014.. this does not match their proposed education philosophy – the US style of medical education.. furthermore, the private hospital patients usually will request “specialist” to attend them (so will the students get enough clinical exposure if these private patients don’t allow the students to touch them?)..
        hav u contacted other private schools? some schools will help u to get PTPTN loan.. u may try SEGi or RCMP.. (quite helpful and not so money-orientated)..
        hope these little info help.. 🙂

      • Even if the hospital is ready by 2014, I can assure you there will be no patients for the students to see. Any private hospital will take atleast 5-6 years to have full occupancy. It will take atleast 2-3 years even for the insurance companies to put you as a panel hospital. AND as you said, private patients go to private hospital for specialist care and privacy. I am very sure they would not allow students to see or disturb them. The guys who are running this school probably got no clue of what the Malaysian Healthcare system is all about. We are totally different from the US system where all hospitals are private hospitals!! Monash wanted to build their own hospital in Sunway but aborted the paln last year. Despite having Sunway medical centre nearby, Sunway did not allow it to be used as a teaching hospital! I can assure you now itself that Perdana Hospital will be a failure and most likely the government will buy over the hospital later on! See what is happening to Prince Court hospital , funded by Petronas, there is an interview with it’s CEO in today Star.
        Please do not take huge loan from PTPTN or anywhere else to do medicine. You may not feel it if you are a single person but when you get married , the debt will be huge with car and house loan coming your way.

  113. Dear Dr Pagalavan,

    i m M.waleed khan and i m doing my MD from afghanistan and i belongs to pakistan i m very disturb about my further study because i have no guaidline and i want to do my specilization from malaysia what would be the procedure please would u like to guid me plzz

    • First of all your MBBS degree must be recognised in Malaysia. Then you can try applying to our university Master’s programme under UNiversty Kebangsaan Malaysia, University Malaya or University Science Malaysia. They do offer some slots for foreign students but your country must also recognise these degrees, if not there is no point doing it. Please visit their websites.

    • See, this is exactly what I am talking about. An article from the guardian sums up the situation nicely – bottom feeders will always be bottom feeders:


      “In most countries, especially in the developing world, doctors are trained at public expense. If a doctor from Ghana is recruited to the US, not only does Ghana lose its doctor, it loses the money paid for the training. It may be that the doctor is likely to send a portion of earnings back home (known in the development business as “remittances”). But this is scant compensation. In sum, the US is receiving a massive subsidy from the developing world in training its medical staff.”

      Here it says Ghana, but nobody can deny that this applies to Malaysia as well. So you good tax-paying citizens are actually supporting the greatest country on Earth – for that the American people thank you.

      “In 2002, there were 47 Liberian-trained doctors working in the US, and just 72 working in Liberia. And even when a doctor is recruited from Canada, Canada then looks to South Africa, and South Africa to wherever it can. The poorest will always lose out.”

      See, same thing applies to the scenario here. America looks to Malaysia, Malaysia to Afghanistan (or for this matter Bangladesh etc) and…not really sure where Afghanistan plans to look for doctors.

  114. yuan xin,

    Not to say i am pessimistic, but an interview from JPA does not guarantee you anything. In fact, i went for one of those interviews a couple years ago and they asked me the same questions. This is just a way for them to make sure that they are NOT forcing you to go to rural areas to serve, NOT forcing you to take lousy med deg etc. For example, they ask, are you willing to go russia or indonesia if we grant you a JPA spot there? You answer yes. Then, they can justify that you agreed to it. My friend was offered a spot in indonesia, she declined it. I did not get past the first round of interview.

    JPA would still force their students to come home and serve. That’s what i think. So, don’t bank your hopes for them to let you loose for residency and fellowship (a 6-10 yr process). And most fellows would decide to stay on in US because the medical system here is more advanced and the pay scale is much higher. Whether Perdana Uni students are eligible for USMLE i don’t know. Then again, if they are JPA scholars, the gov would not let them apply for residency, so no point taking USMLE.

    Since you had some experience in the lab, you should know which one you are leaning towards. Medicine is a long and slow rewarding career.

    • I totally agree with what you said. I was too innocent to see that. Thank you 🙂
      Besides, I think Research is also another slow, sometimes not-so-rewarding career 🙂 At the end of the day, it really depends on what you want in life 🙂

  115. doctor but let suppose my degree is not register or recognise in malaysia but it is registerd with our own government then what will b the procedure what should i do to make way for my further education plzz would u like to suggest me some thing for my batter future plzz

  116. Hi Doctor;

    I will soon be graduating from a Russian Medical Univerysity which is recongnise by the Malaysian gov, I have heard some people going back to Malaysian to do their HO for 2 years and after that leaving to go to the UK for specialisation striaght after that. So i was wandering if you know anything about this? and if i were to do the same thing,what are the things I will need to do? Thank you for your help!

  117. Hello Dr.

    Do you think doing housemanship at UMMC is good? or at non university hospitals are better such as hosp. Serdang, Hosp. Klang?
    What are the pros and cons doing HO in university hospitals? your recommendation please.. i am graduating soon.

    • I would prefer MOH hospitals. University hospitals have too many people above you like MO, Master’s students, Lecturers , AP and Prof. Their patient numbers are also limited and very subspecialised. They mainly take only referred cases.

  118. hi
    i am a surgeon
    did my mbbs ie graduation, dnb ie diplomate of national board in surgery in india. i have cleared my mrcs also. now i am doing dnb in surgical oncology as superspecialization. can i work in singapore iwht this of my qualifications. do need to have any licensing exam there
    please guide me
    also how much approx will be pay for my calibre in singapore.

    • Dear Hitendra,
      Only the following Indian undergraduate degrees are recognised by Singapore:
      CMC, Vellore
      Armed Forces Medical College, Maharashtra
      JIPMER, Pondicherry
      Lady Hardinge, New Dehli
      Grant, Mumbai
      St John’s, Bangalore
      Madras Medical College, Chennai
      With regards to your postgrad qualification, they do not recognise Indian ones. The MRCS is useless without the CST, though it might allow you to work as a registrar.
      Your last resort will be to apply to the Specialists Accreditation Board. They may consider your application if the following conditions are met:
      1. Regarded by their peers to be internationally renowned in that particular specialty.
      2. At least 3-5 years of specialists experience in public hospitals of adequate size and standing.
      3. Proof of proficiency of English
      4. Where appropriate, may be subjected to assessments by the Specialists Accreditation Board, Singapore.
      5. Other doctors on a case-by-case basis, depending on experience and standing
      I do not know what your ‘calibre’ is, but surgeons in the public service in Singapore earn approximately S$20,000/month.

    • PLease contact Singapore Medical Council for further info. MRCS may allow you to get a registra post in Singapore. BUT you may not get a surgeon post.

  119. dr simon,

    oh my! Your observations are correct! I did not even notice that Perdana Uni is a university status without any other arts, science or engineering programs. In fact, all universities (as far as i know) start out as colleges until they can fulfill the criteria of becoming a university. EXCEPT ONE! And it was so quickly set up that even without proper facilities, it can collaborate with JHU. Looking at their webpage, you will notice many spelling error and lousy setup. You cannot view their proposed curriculum cause the fonts are so blurry and small, you cannot zoom in also. No faculty information, nothing important except proposed tuition fee of 250,000 per year. Almost like a Ponzi scheme..

  120. one word: SCAM! First, your degree is awarded by Perdana University not JHU. Second, sky-high fees for building private hospital and for flying adjunct professors in and out of the country to teach a few classes (if you notice their faculty are made up of almost all adjunct prof). Third, private hospitals are costly and why would patients pay so much to be poke and tested by medical students (they could have got the same treatment at gov hospitals). Forth, there is no guarantee that Perdana Uni students can sit for USMLE because the medical school need to be recognized by ECFMG. Fifth, you will be considered an IMG (international medical graduate) and not US grad, hence your matching success rate would be less than 50%. Sixth, they did not mention you have to pay your way through USMLE tests and application for programs and interview (around 30k-50k usd in total). And finally, taking or passing USMLE tests does not guarantee a match in residency. If you have 1 million to spare, my suggestion is to take up a twinning med program such as IMU-Jefferson or IMU-Canada med program. Then, take USMLE after you graduate. That way, you will be considered US grad or US-IMG and the matching success rate is much much higher.

  121. Hi, i am informed that IMU is listed as one of the directory medical schools by WHO. What are the benefits of being listed? Thanks.

  122. hi, i ‘m a 2nd year student and i’m interested to find out about my MO years. what happens after i finish my MRCS part 1& 2?? am i allowed to work in singapore and to then finish my part 3? then am i a specialist in singapore?? i’m studying in UNPAD, Bandung Indonesia.

    • MRCS has only 2 parts now, effective 2011. You can sit for both in Malaysia BUT it is not recognised as a specialist degree, just an entrance to specialist training. Having MRCS only allows you to work as a registra in Singapore and then go on to be trained as a surgeon.

  123. and when is the recommended years to sit my part 1 and 2 and 3?? can i take my part 1 in my 5th year, and part 2 in the HO years?? and finally take the part 3 in singapore after completion of HO?? then am i allowed to work there?? and continue to FRCS?? Is FRCS shorter or the local master a shorter programme?? am i allowed to work in singapore if i already have MRCS?? will it supersede my m.d. from indonesia??

    • Good to have a plan but don’t lose focus of being an good all-round doctor in medical school. I always find it interesting that many aspiring doctors want to become surgeons before even experiencing a surgical rotation in medical school.

      “when is the recommended years to sit my part 1 and 2 and 3??”
      When you are ready.

      “can i take my part 1 in my 5th year, and part 2 in the HO years??”
      No. To be allowed to take the exam, you must have a medical degree (and your med school must be in the Avicenna directory)

      “and finally take the part 3 in singapore after completion of HO??”
      No. You must have the MRCS (i.e. all the parts – only 2 in the new system) before Singapore will even consider you.

      ” then am i allowed to work there??”
      Yes, after you have the MRCS. Being allowed to work there and actually getting a job are 2 very different things though.

      “and continue to FRCS??”

      “Is FRCS shorter or the local master a shorter programme??”
      In the UK, it will take another 6 years after the MRCS to finish your surgical training. In Malaysia and Singapore, it can take 4-6 years depending on the surgical subspecialty and their requirements.

      “am i allowed to work in singapore if i already have MRCS??”
      See above

      “will it supersede my m.d. from indonesia??”
      It’s a different qualification altogether. One is undergraduate one is postgraduate (although technically speaking an MD is a postgraduate degree, but places like UKM and obviously some Indonesian unis tumpang glamour from the USA by using MD for their undergraduate degrees).

      • I did not answer one of your questions:

        “and continue to FRCS??”
        Once you are in Singapore (if you can get a job there), you will be expected to do their Masters programme if you get on to training. I do not how how difficult it is to get the FRCS on its own there.

  124. Dear Sir,

    I would like to enquire about ATLS training course in Malaysia.
    Where do they offer these courses? Will an overseas doctor be eligible to apply? (I’m an Airlangga University Graduate, Indonesia).

    Thank you.

  125. hello doctor
    how i can do apply for my post graduation

    • Who are you? Med student or junior doctor?
      Where did you graduate from?
      Where are you working?
      Which postgraduate course do you want to do?
      What specialty are you interested in?

  126. I did, but cannot find enough information to go with. Can you please provide me with a website for me to go through? Thank you!

  127. I did google “atls malaysia” and “advanced trauma life support malaysia”, but cannot find enough information to go with. Can you please provide me with a website for me to go through? Thank you!

  128. Thank you for the info. It seemed my computer has something wrong and unable to open the first web you mentioned. (It only opens but a most part of the article was missing). Thank you for your help!

  129. on August 20, 2011 at 9:41 AM | Reply Dr.Ameer Khan Ali

    Hello Dr.Pagalavan
    First of all thanks a lot for your all information you providing for others and spending your valuable time for others.

    Im Dr.Ameer, MBBS graduate from Govt.Medical College in Calicut,Kerala State in India.Right now Im working as Medcial Officer ( UD 43) in Kota KInabalu. I would like to know how ( what basis) MOH giving grades of the doctots working public sector? Can I possible open private klinic or pharmacy in malaysia?If foreign nation cant possible, is this possible to open local guy sponsoring..

    • For Malaysian civil servants , from 2010 onwards the grades depends on number of years of service. For contract doctors, it depends on MOH and HOD recommendation. IF you are a foreigner (non-PR), your work permit only allows you to work in one particular location and thus you are not allowed to open or run any private clinic under the immigration law! Even if it is sponsored by a local guy.

  130. Hello Dr Pagalavan

    I have a question. Is is compulsory to finish 2 years government service with MOH before going for postgraduation or can I complete my residency and board certfication in USA immediately after 2 years of housemanship and return back to Malaysia to serve government after that?

    Thank you

    • IF you are not bonded, you can complete everything in US as US board certification is recognised in Malaysia for certain field. If you have stayed and worked in US for more than 10 years then you do not need to do the compulsory service but anything less than that, you need to complete the balance of your compulsory service.

    • You do not even need to finish 2 years of housemanship, and can go immediately after medical school. When you return, it will be 2 years of compulsory service (if less than 10 years). No houseman years.

  131. respected sir,
    i really in a confusion sir….
    sir i hv read all dis posts,i feel u can xplaine me in a better way…
    sir i hv done MBBS at present joined for MRCOG ( 4 yrs supervised pg ) in bangalore…my nly query is , is it compulsory to do all dis 4 years rsfrom d same hospital? sir i m appearing for part 1 …. n i wanna do d next 3 yrs of pg work at my placed hospital…..is dat possible ? whom should i concern for dis matter? n if i do 3 yrs frm other hospital will RCOG concider dat certificate?
    plz reply me wid n explaination
    thnk u


  132. Hi,
    Im a 4th year medical student who studying in Indonesia.
    if i planning to do a MRCP / MRCPCH, can i do both in Malaysia?
    when i’m eligible to apply for the examination? during HO or MO?
    Thanks for the advice about over-flooding of doctor in Malaysia.
    So if possible i try obtain the MRCP/ MRCPCH as fast as possible to buck up my medical degree from Indonesia.



  133. Hi Sir ,
    I am currently undergoing training in Family Medicine in Singapore Health Clusters ( MOH – Singapore ) & would be eligible to give M.Med ( FM ) & FRACGP exams after 5 yrs from now.
    I am interested in clearing all the 3 parts of MRCP
    As i would not spend my time in wards , managing inpatient , is it advisable to go for PACES ?
    Will MRCP really help in my practice , as i aim to be a Family Medicine Specialist.
    Waiting for your reply
    Thanking You
    Dr.Murali Krishna MBBS(JIPMER) 2010
    TTSH , Singapore

  134. Im Dr.Ameer from India, working here In Kesihatan Kementerian as Medical officer for 2 yrs contract basis.

    I had applied to convert my Indian driving license to Malaysian ( as Indian driving license accepted in Malaysia), but JPJ in Putra Jaya KL they rejected my application, and told I got VISIT PASS ( TEMPERORY) …. they only accept work permit/ Employment pass…..

    When I enquire in immigration department they told, they issuing all doctors only Visit pass ( Temeperory)…

    Is there any other solution to change Indian driving license to Malaysia/?

  135. dear dr.pagalavan,
    i find your blog very very very interesting. I’m actually a form sixer whose intending to do medicine. It’s medicine or nothing for me. My parents tried to advice me but i’m still adamant of becoming a doctor. I’ve been doing surveys on quite a number of universities now and there’s always something to say about that university. People might say one is good,another might say no. This is the dilemma i’m facing and i’m also aiming for a mbbs programme in NUS and is that possible. I heard the singapore government is allocating 10% of its medic seats to foreign students. So here i am. I noticed that you are very professional in what you do,dr.pagalavan and i like it. So,i’m here to seek for your advice on my matter. You suggest mbbs local,masters foreign or vice versa? And also which university would you recommend to attend in terms of quality and cost?

    • The glut is getting worst. The MO post for NS, Malacca and Selangor is deemed full. Thus it is best to do your undergraduate degree in an internationally recognised university where you can work in many countries. Yes, NUS do accept some foreign students BUT it is not easy to be accepted into these university. You need to score atleast 5/4As in STPM. As in Malaysia, I would only recommend UM, UKM and USM. UM and UKM is recognised in Singapore but you need 5As to get into these universities. You can decide what postgraduate degree to do after you complete your housemanship. You can’t think of postgraduate degree if you can’t get a job in the first place. Trust me, the situation is getting from bad to worst in Malaysia. If you are ready interested in medicine for what is medicine all about and willing to put up with all these frustrations, then go ahead.

  136. Hi Dr. Pagalavan,

    I am a third year medical student from a private Uni in local and I would like to ask, after graduate, I will have to do 2 years housemanship rite? After that 2 years or 3 years of compulsory service do i have to go through? And when can I continue my specialty training if Im considering being a surgeon in Singapore? thank you very much.

    • I wrote this on a separate forum; so I thought I’d share it here again:

      Health care in Singapore has undergone a major restructuring programme – basically public health care is now split among 5 health clusters, namely the National Healthcare Group (NHG), the National University Health System (NUHS), Singhealth and 2 other hospitals (Khoo Teck Puat and Jurong) – residency training will only be provided in the former three but more on that later.

      The traditional system in Singapore goes something like this:

      For specialists: medical graduate – house officer – medical officer – medical officer (basic specialist trainee) – registrar (advanced specialist trainee) – associate consultant- consultant – senior consultant (the whole process takes up more or less 8 to 10 years depending on the specialty choice)

      And then of course you have the family physician/GP track which is considerably shorter in addition to a clinical research track.

      Such a long training period would invariably mean a shorter career for full-fledged physicians, hence Singapore’s decision to introduce the residency programme which is modeled after its namesake in the US. The new system will be implemented under the guidance from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) – now before you start salivating about the prospects of working in America after your stint in Singapore, the residency programme will NOT qualify you as a physician in America nor does the Singapore government want you to leave its system – “we don’t need a brain drain in Singapore” as the recruiter puts it nicely. You will only be able to work in Singapore, and that is despite taking the same board exams that US residents take – a board-certificed physician who cannot work in the US.

      The biggest advantage of this residency system is the ability to enter the programme straight out of medical school – straight into R1. Now, say if your first attempt at matching is unsuccessful, you can still be a house officer (PGY1) and then apply the following year as a PGY2 – of course your chances will naturally increase as you get better at what you’re doing and you know more people in the system.

      There’s a lot more detail behind the whole application process – apparently they have to accommodate graduates from three different time frames (Yong Loo Lin, UK and Aus)

      Oh and not forgetting remuneration ; while not as good as Australia, it is still much better than what you get in Malaysia. (Btw, the pay is dependent on your seniority, it doesn’t mean that a PGY1 resident will earn more than a PGY1 houseman, so you won’t actually see much earning potential until at least you’re through with your residency)

      House officers get a base salary of 3.000 SGD per month, locals get CPF while foreigners (mostly Malaysians anyway) get an additional 850 SGD housing allowance. House officers are expected to work 60-65 hours per week (surgical residents 80 hours +) and you’ll probably get six or seven night calls per month (110 SGD per call). And of course you have bonuses, either group or personal and not forgetting ……………….lunch money !!!!!!! (8 SGD weekdays, 12 SGD weekends)

      PGY2s get a slight bump in their salary package, basic pay is around 4,000 SGD and you get 220 SGD per call.

      Just to add a few more details: since you are from a local private university (none of which is currently recognised in Singapore), I would say your chances are pretty slim; MOHH showed us the application numbers for the pioneer batch of residents and they don’t look very good (way more applicants than seats available, especially for the usual suspects ortho, plastic etc) Sure, you could stick with your choice and try again year after year, but it’s best that you start early in the Singapore system (know the people and the system), preferably by completing your internship in Singapore, but again I don’t see how that’s possible for you unless you’re doing the IMU-PMS program.

    • After 2 years HO , you need another 2 years compulsory service ( total 4 years). AS for singapore, your undergraduate degree need to be recognised by Singapore Medical council in order for you to work there. None of the Malaysian degree except Um/UKM is recognised in Singapore. Thus if you want to do surgical training in Singapore, you need to pass the MRCS before applying.

      • Btw Dr Pagalavan,

        I’d love to hear your thoughts on the new residency program in Singapore – do you think such a model will be adopted in Malaysia eventually – especially if Perdana is successful?

      • Personally I don’t like this residency system. It creates a lot of subspecialised specialist who do not know basic medicine. IT is not feasible in our country at the moment where you can be practising in district hospitals etc. The UK system is much better for countries like Malaysia where you need to have strong foundation before subspecialising.

        The situation is different in US where you need to have a basic degree before enrolling into medical education. Their hospitals are all private hospitals with good ER services. All diagnosis are made in the ER before calling the respective consultants/units for further management. Can we do that in Malaysia? Well, we all know the situation of medicine in US, full of investigations and cover backside medicine.

        Singapore has a very developed medical healthcare system. They have good ER services and every speciality in every hospital. They have good human resource and a very small country. Other then hospitals, they have got polyclinics which are mainly run by foreign doctors. They also practise CBM ( cover backside medicine). Patients are broken into body parts and 1 patient will be seen by 4-5 teams of doctors!


  137. Dr Pagal,
    If you could answer this question for me, I’d really appreciate it.
    If I have already completed both parts of MRCS and gone for the specialty training in Singapore, would I then be eligible to work in Malaysia as a Surgeon?
    And if not, what valid option do I have so that I can get a qualification as a Surgeon to work in Malaysia while still have a window opening to work elsewhere in the future should I want to? As I understood, Master of Sugery programme in Malaysian Uni is not recognized outside the country – not even in Singapore.
    Thanks in advance

  138. Dear dr.Pagalavan,
    it’s me again and this time i would just like to know what are the demanding speciality fields that i could venture into? I’m currently amazed by vascular surgery. Does it have a bright future?

    • I think you should not decide what you want do when you have not even started your medical education. Yes, at the moment vascular is hot in demand but things wil change in the next 10-15 years. It will take you another 15 years for you to become a vascular surgeon! You will only know what you are interested in after you complete your housemanship. I have had people who wanted to become this and that but ended up resigning as doctors! Many will get dissapointed along the way as things don’t happen as what you want it to be. Even training post are limited and competitive.

  139. Hi ,
    I am a family physician working in India , can i give MRCP exams
    I heard it is not much difficult to pass part 1 & 2 , BUT how would u advice me to go for PACES…Do u advice me to work in any hospital or do u think , i can proceed with my FM seeing patients.
    Kindly advice appropriately

  140. Dr Pagalavan.
    thanks for the article.
    i did not get thru my masters in surgery about 3 years ago.since then i have been sitting for MRCS, awaiting to pass part III now. After that may go singapore like i have suggested and probabloy apply for their training program.
    Just wondering what do u think about me joining the university now as a trainning lecturer, say in UPM then getting back into the masters programme again.

    DR M


    • you must understand that joining a lecturer training programme has it’s own pros and cons. You will be bonded for 7 years if I am not mistaken. Unless you are really into academic life than there is no point joining this programme. Of course, it is one of the way of getting into Master’s programme. BUT will you be accepted again into Master’s programme since you left once?

  141. hi Dr, Im SN. Ive always wanted to do ORL HNS but found that my medical skills is better than my surgical skills hence as a new MO im sent to do medical and psychiatry which is a bummer. Still interested in ORL HNS and requesting to change department which will take a long time. Its making me a bit depressed that im not even given the chance to experience ORL-HNS. May i have ur advice on how i should proceed with all these extra time in my hands? MRCP? MRCS?

    • If you are still interested in ENT then procede to do MRCS. After passing Part 1 probably you can apply for Master’s. After Part 1 probably you can ask your Pengarah to send you to ENT department. Situation like this is going to be very common soon as the glut gets worst. Some department may not have enough post to take everyone.

  142. hi sir,
    can u please tell me about the training process for mrcog 1 in saudi arabia,any advice would be appreciated, thanks

  143. Hi Sir, How are You?
    I am currently a junior HO in local University hospital, and i have a huge passion of becoming a specialist in OG field someday.
    I noted many doctors in my hosp competing for the masters programme.
    It would be great if i know: what option and flow to become one of the specialist. Masters vs ?MRCOG.
    Thank you, alot. 🙂

  144. Hi Sir, How are You?
    I am currently a junior HO in local University hospital, and i have a huge passion of becoming a specialist in OG field someday.
    I noted many doctors in my hosp competing for the masters programme.
    It would be great if i know: what option and flow to become one of the specialist. Masters vs ?MRCOG.
    Thank you, alot.

    • Please decide after you complete your housemanship, your perception may change along the way. Both Master’s or MRCOG will do but I would suggest that you do MRCOG as well even if you can get into Master’s programme.

  145. on October 7, 2011 at 3:53 AM | Reply jochim arvind

    Hi Dr, I am a MBBS graduate from AIMST, i was working as a House Officer in Government Hospital from 2008, i couldn’t complete my houseman training due to my illness, i quit my job after doing 3 posting ( Ortho,Medicine and Surgery )on Jan 2010, it has been almost 2years now, and now i am completely fine after undergoing treatment.

    I want to continue my houseman program again but SPA has rejected my application. What shall i do?

    • There must be something written in your file previously that made SPA to reject your application! You can still try to apply to MOH to work on contract basis. Usually once you resign, they will not take you in as full time gov servant. Contract is possible

  146. on October 7, 2011 at 5:52 AM | Reply Screwd up parent

    Dear Dr. Paga
    My daughter is currently a 4th year medical student in Aimst. i just want to know after sitting for FRCS exam is she able to practice medicine overseas eg UK, or Australia? I understand that her degree is not recognised elsewhere as i am opting that she might be able to practice medicine in other countries after the FRCS exam.

    • Hi there,

      First of all, your daughter can’t sit for the FRCS exam. There is no FRCS exam (sort of … but I’ll get to that later).

      There is the MRCS (M=Membership) which she can sit. In the UK, candidates who have completed all parts of the MRCS are eligible to apply for advanced surgical training posts. After the MRCS, they are not yet specialists – barely halfway thru training. At the end of their training, they are awarded the FRCS (F=Fellowship) postnominal. Some surgical specialties have an exit exam (e.g. Ophthalmology) before they are allowed to get the FRCS but most don’t.

      While you daughter can sit the MRCS exam, her surgical training in Malaysia will not be counted by UK authorities and she would have to sit the PLAB exam to be eligible to work in the UK. Note that being eligible to work doesn’t mean you will get a job – because there is no shortage currently and EU nationals get preference. Same with Australia – have to sit the AMC exam to be eligible to work but there, the MRCS on its own is not worth the paper its printed on.

      Singapore might be an option, but really depends on whether or not they want you. they don’t recognise the AIMST degree but they might take into account the MRCS.

      I have only talked about surgical training because you mentioned the FRCS exam. While it’s good to think about options, your daughter should look at these things again once she’s a house officer and talk to seniors in her department – things are changing very rapidly and I think more doors will close rather than open in the future.

    • As Nav has said, you cannot do FRCS training in Malaysia. You can complete MRCS in Malaysia but this does not make you a surgeon! However, you can try Singapore for further training after completing MRCS. In Malaysia, the only way to become a surgeon is by doing the local Master’s programme. This is not recognised elsewhere either.

      Since you undergraduate degree is not recognised elsewhere, she can’t for training anywhere else, unless she sits for the entrance exams. However, passing this exam does not guarantee a job!

  147. on October 7, 2011 at 11:22 AM | Reply screwd up parent

    thank you!!! i will let her know about it.

  148. Dear Dr Pagalavan, I’m a houseman, still undergoing training currently.Just about to enter 2nd year. I’m interested in medical field and I hv an interest to do MRCP exam. But I feel I am sooo lack of practical skills. Now, still thinking of my next plan. Which hospital do u think would provide me a lot of chances to learn practically and theoretically? And now I can actually start to take the part 1 MRCP right? Sorry for asking too much, just thinking that I need an expert answer from someone experienced like u.

    • Please read my article on “: Step by step approach to internal medicine” under my “F or future doctors ” page. Any big general hospitals will do . You need to find time to practise clinical skills. Someone senior should take you for short cases on a weekly basis.

  149. this webiste is full of information. great service indeed

  150. HI DR. Pagalavan Letchumanan…I”m one of the MO in rural area.i’m very much interested in further my studies to become a dermatologist. Apparently i have heard that we can do dermatologist without enrolling master programme.
    If you don’t mind could you please brief on that matter. your information is very much appreciated. thank you.

  151. Marcus

    hi, dr. Pagalavan Letchumanan…i am a USM final year medical student..(a malaysian) not more than a year away from housemanship…i hope i can be an O&G specialist in S’pore in time to come..and not to forget if possible, i hope i can also work as HO,,MO in s’pore..Unfortunately, USM is not one of the recognised hospital In s’pore neither in undergraduate or postgraduate degree..i lost all along my way after knowing the news…After seeing comments above,then a few questions kept puzzling me…

    1)any possiblity where i can do housemanship in S’pore? (as i heard that there is a chance/need/must to be a private candidate to sit n pass for NUS final year exam before proceeding to HO in S’pore….am i wrong??) If i am correct, where n when should i apply?? If my application of being a HO in S’pore is approved by S’pore authority, is there any chances for me to continue my MO and then S’pore postgraduate programme as it treats the local s’pore medical graduates??

    2)From the comments above, i realised that the only way that i can practise medicine and be an O&G specialist in S’pore is by taking MRCOG…
    —What means by a proposer when i take MRCOG??Role??Who, where n when i should seek a proposer when i finish medical undergraduate (before or during housemanship)??

    3)if i take MRCOG, should i take in m’sia or s’pore?any differences/benefits?

    4)what a proposer look into me before propose me for MRCOG??

    5)if i take MRCOG,as i am an USM undergraduate,should i get a m’sia O&G proposer or s’pore O&G proposer??Do S’pore O&G proposer will accept and propose me to take MRCOG since i am a m’sian USM undergraduate??and let’s say if one of S’pore O&G proposer accept n plan to propose me for MRCOG,but at the same time i am doing housemanshp in m’sia,what should i do?should i quit the malaysia HO and proceed to S’pore housemanship or or continue my housemanship in m’sia??

    6)if i’m passing MRCOG part 1 (that held in m’sia) while doing m’sia housemanship, can i or do s’pore accept me if i plan to do my at least 4 years training in one of s’pore Hosp O&G department??n subsequently complete MRCOG part 2 held in S’pore?(in this condition who will be my proposer??m’sia’s or s’pore’s)—can i have different proposer of MRCOG in my case??

    7)can i go s’pore to proceed my MRCOG part 2 (after passing MRCOG part 1) while i am in the half way of compulsory training (2+2) in m’sia??do i need to resign from m’sia gov service?n what is “no pay leave” ??

    8) Taking MRCOG—at least 4 years training in O&G department before MRCOG part 2—is it considered as post-graduate training or equivalent to master programme training?

    i hope dr. can understand me n answer me accordingly..thanks for your assistance and look forward for your kindly explanation….

    • 1) Yes, you need to sit and pass the NUS final year exam. No guarantee that you get a post or postgraduate training post.

      2) your proposer should be someone with MRCOG

      3) Same
      4) up to the proposer

      5) Your proposer must be someone who knows you and have worked with you.

      6) NO, you need to complete the entire MRCOG in order to go to singapore.

      7) as no 6.

      at the moment MRCOG is equivalent to Master’s.
      Finally, pls complete your housemanship before deciding on what to do. Things will change.

      • thans a lot dr..

      • thanks a lot..dr…
        still got a few questions from me…

        1) to who n where should i refer if i plan to take NUS final year exams? in other words, can u please guide me or brief me on how to apply n enroll myself into NUS final year exams?how, where n when i should apply for that?

        2)if i pass the NUS final year exams, (though i also pass my USM undergraduate degree), am i qualify to apply Housemanship in s’pore even though USM is my mother’s school which is not one of the recognised school by s’pore?do s’pore authority treat me as their local medical undergraduate with that instead?

      • 1) please contact Singapore Medical Council

        2) Yes you can apply for housemanship but you are not considered as a local grad.

  152. Hi Doctor,

    I’ve been looking at the information regarding the Singapore residency system, and well, although Singapore is said to have a good reputation, I can’t help but feel that their new residency system is not as good as they make it out to be. A friend of mine from NUS medicine said that it’s very messy for them.

    1) What are your thoughts on getting postgrad training from Singapore? Is it worth anything internationally or are we essentially “forced” to settle there?

    Has anyone had experience here? I haven’t heard good things about the working environment there. Particularly as I’ll be graduating from the UK, I’m also unsure of the matching rate of UK non-EU grads into postgrad training. Even if we were to try US, there’s USMLE – if we were to try Australia, there’s no need to sit PLAB, but I think we’re considered after all the intern spots there are filled.

    2) What are the realistic prospects for obtaining postgraduate training in Australia (rural/non-rural)?

    3) If I was considering Singapore training after graduating in the UK – would passing up the FY1 and FY2 houseman years there and GMC registration be advisable to work in Singapore as a houseman? Would developing contacts there for residency outweigh the potential loss of training opportunities in the UK?

    4) Is a “machine gun” approach wise? I.e. apply broadly to US, UK, Aus, NZ, Singapore, M’sia?

    Sorry for the boatload of questions. Thanks a million for your patience, kindness and effort in maintaining this blog. If we hadn’t come across the information here, I don’t think many of us would even realize the difficulties we’re about to face.

    • 1) at the moment their postgraduate training is recognised elsewhere as they use to tie up their degree with MRCP/FRCS?FANZA etc. However, the new residency system is associated with the American Board certification. Whicever country that recognises this certification may recognise your training.
      Whether you will get a post or not depends on their availability and your performance. They will not give you a postgrad post directly. You may need to work as a MO before applying for apost.

      2) It is the same. Depends on which field and preference is given to their citizens and PRs.

      3) If I am not mistaken, if you complete your FY1&2 in UK, you don’t need to do housemanship again in Singapore.

      4) Can try!

  153. Hello Dr
    I am currently a medical officer working in a Klinik kesihataan, i am intrsted in family medicine….is there any other external paper for this programe which is recognised by KKM…

  154. Hello Dr.

    I’m still a medical student in Russia, 5th year. I would like to ask which source should I go to to inquire further about doing a postgraduate course, qualifications needed, recognition of overseas postgraduate programmes, etc.

    I would also like to inquire about your opinion concerning where should I do my postgraduate course. I’m considering surgery, obstetrics or neonatal as a specialty.

    Any advice would be most helpful. Thank you

    • Unlike undergraduate medicine, there is no such thing as a taught course when it comes to postgraduate medical/surgical degrees. Postgrad specialist training involves competing for a very limited number of training posts. Working in these posts, one provides service whilst getting experience and training on the job. Then there are exams to sit and pass (relevant to each specialty) in order to be conferred the degree. Postgrad medicine/surgery is like an apprenticeship.

      • Hello Jon J

        how and what an undergraduate course is like, that I already know, but thank you for the input.

        problem is that I don’t really know where to start looking for a post-graduate course. As good as Russia is, it still remains my last choice (7 years here is enough). Thus, I was hoping to get some input, opinion from other med students/postgrads/doctors here.

    • I think your question has been answered in the post. But here you are anyway:

      You can do all 3 specialties you mentioned via the Malaysian Masters programme, noting that neonatology is a subspecialty of paediatrics. If you don’t want to rely on the Masters route, you can sit the MRCOG and MRCPCH exams for O&G and paeds respectively. For surgery however, MRCS is not recognised for training in Malaysia, although sitting the exams will help you get into the Masters programmes. Sitting these external exams may also help get you into Singapore, but they usually don’t look too kindly upon medical degrees from the ex-communist bloc.

    • Most of your questions has been answered before. In Malaysia, for all surgical field, the only option is local Master’s programme except MRCOG ( for Obstetrics). To become a physician or paediatrician, you have the option of doing MRCP or MRCPCH. Neonatologist is a subspeciality of paediatrics, thus you need to become a paediatrician first. You can visit the national specialist registry at website http://www.nsr.gov.my for further info on recognisable degree then go on to the respective colleges website for the programme.

  155. Dear Dr,
    This is quite an interesting platform for discussion regarding various ways for career development. However i feel personally that the medical recognition rules have become too stringent and biased these days. I am an Indian national and completed as MD Physician from Medical University in Bulgaria in 2004. After this i obtained Specialist license in General Surgery in 2010 from same university in Bulgaria. After the accession of Bulgaria into the European Union, the degrees from Bulgaria were mentioned in the EU directives, which means to say is it became ” at par” with similar qualifications from other EU member states. This is to say that someone who was graduate from the university can now work anywhere within Europe as specialist or GP. However there is a twist to the tale…The above privilege is only available to citizens of EU countries..Therefore it doesnot matter whether you spent last 10 years finishing your studies from an EU state, at the end of the day you are still biased on basis of your nationality ( Non EU). Therefore my Bulgarian counterparts can apply and work directly in UK as GP’s and Registrars while on the same hand i cannot due to my nationality. The other twist to the whole tale is that the Indian medical council disapproves of all postgraduate degrees obtained in Europe ( except the UK), which means to say you cannot even apply for govt based jobs in hospitals within India. At the end of the day its a total mess up of recognition and recognitions, which i totally agree is country to country dependable, but then there should be some fairness to the whole situation. Now i am looking towards MRCS, dont know how much that will help in applying for any further training.
    Any wise advises to the above scenario?


    • As you will be aware that UK is slowly closing it’s doors to non-UK and non-EU citizens. This is due to their immigration laws. Even if you have MRCS there is no guarantee that you will get a training post. It may allow you to go back to India or Singapore.

  156. Dear sir,

    I’m a medical student currently studying in a local university and I’m a JPA scholarship holder. There are some questions about the future of a fresh graduates from medical course.

    1. Since I’m a JPA scholarship holder, is it still possible for me to sit for the MRCP/USMLE exam, assuming I pass all 3 parts of it, go overseas to continue my master programme in a foreign country and only returning to serve m’sia as a recognized specialist? I’m fine with doing HO and MO here, it’s the limited places for master programmes that’s frightening me.

    2. One of my prof. suggest that we should take USMLE part1 and start preparing for it while we are in 2nd yr as the exam syllabus is almost the same as our 1st and 2nd yr’s syllabus combined. Do you recommend or oppose this idea and why is that?

    3. Honestly I’m not sure whether USMLE is better or MRCP is a wiser choice. I’m still not sure where and what specialty I’m going to further my studies on, but I would like to have the ability to choose, not studying some course chosen by our government or forced to choose something I’m not interested in due to the limited places available for master programmes you mentioned in your article. I’m honestly lost now, so it would be great for you to give some advice to help me and all other medical students avoid from this terrible situation.

    • 1. Unlikely, unless JPA become more flexible. Usually, they bond you from your HO year. They will waive that bond once you enter local Masters (because you cease to become a MOH employee in some cases) but a different bond will start after the Masters. Having said that, everything negotiable. If you talk to JPA and get a waiver to say that you will serve the govt after you return from postgrad overseas, then why not?!

      2. Your prof is a smart man. Listen to him – if you are going to sit the USMLE.

      3. USMLE and MRCP are 2 different exams for different purposes. USMLE is a medical school exam. It allows you to work in the US. It is not a specialist exam. Your marks in it will determine which internship and residency you can get into. The MRCP is taken after medical school, and allows you to gain entry into into a specialty training programme in medicine (not surgery or other specialties). It is also not a specialist exam (i.e. having the MRCP does not make you a specialist – although many Malaysians like to think so). Having the MRCP opens doors to Singapore and may increase your chances of getting into a local Masters programme. You can also become a specialist in Malaysia by applying for gazettement (18 months of supervision after MRCP).

    • 1) As a JPA scholar, you are bonded for 10 years. The last I heard, they do not allow you to leave the government service during this time without paying a fine. You may be lucky even to get a job soon

      2) You can sit for USMLE but passing this exam does not guaranteed you a slot in training programme in US. Whether you will get a post or not depends on your performance in USMLE and availability of post. Their training system is also different.

      3) USMLE is an entrance exam to work in US. MRCP is an entry exam to speciality training to become a physician. They are 2 different exams for 2 different purposes. It is better to wait till you complete all the rotation during housemsannhip before deeciding what speciality to choose.

      • Regarding USMLE, it is advisable for Malaysian local students to do it while they are still in med school. The reason being most PDs (Program Directors) don’t like to see a gap in between your graduation and the application for interview. They always ask what you were doing during the gap years. Once you have started the housemanship, it will be difficult to take a break, and swallowing the 8 kaplan text books takes a few months, that is if you are a fast reader, not including the time needed to go for electives and interview around the states.
        USMLE can be a long tedious process if you aim for good university programs. People start preparing for their cv in med school itself, by doing research, community services, writing for publication, going for electives and all.

  157. Dear Sir, I am a medical student from Melaka Manipal Medical College, currently in 3rd year of my studies. I am interested in the surgical field, but as u mentioned above, masters seats are kind of limited, is it a disadvantage for me as a private college student compared to those in public universities like UM & UKM. And if I want to migrate to Australia, what is your advice on that? Can I apply for intern in australia after graduation, apply for masters in australia or intern with malaysia MOH before applying for AMC?

    • Not a disadvantage being from a private uni, but you may find race-based discrimination (or advantage, depending on your race).

      MMMC degree not recognised in Australia. If you want to go there, you should start work in Malaysia and sit for the AMC exams while working. Passing the AMC exams is no guarantee of getting a job – only makes you eligible to do intern year there (yes, you have to start from scratch). It is getting more and more difficult to get jobs there because they also have increased graduates coming through from their own universities.

    • MMMC is not recognised elsewhere, so you need to sit for the AMC exam if you want to work in Australia. LOcal Master’s programme has quotas! Cables are also important. Selection process is never transparent, typical of Malaysian style. You got no choice but to work in MOH and try to sit for AMC exam which is quite expensive BTW. NO guarantee that you will get a post after that either.

  158. Sir ,
    Though i am interested in Family Practice , i sometimes feel that patients do not give much respect to GP’s & everyone always talk about specialists , bcoz gp’s always refer to a specialist.
    Are GP’s not of any value ?
    Should i forget about my reputation ?
    is FM a reputed area ?
    I dont know , whether a gp has a good reputation in society ?
    Kindly advice , as i got a FM offer in Singapore

    • At the moment whether you have a family medicine postgraduate degree or not, you are still considered as a GP, same as any MBBS holder. You will not be able to charge higher then a normal GP. However, things may change in the future. When the National Healthcare Financing scheme is introduced ( Gos knows when !), then the FM specialist may be able to charge higher. General MBBS holding GP is a dying field and patients nowadays are more keen to see a specialist. That’s the reason why most GPs try their best not to refer patients to a specialist as the patients will never come back to them.

  159. Hello,
    I just applied for housemanship in Malaysia few days ago. I am interested in doing postgrad in dermatology. Which hospitals in malaysia you suggest i should do my posting which would help me more in dermatology?

    • Firstly, MOH will decide where you are going to be posted. There is no such thing as postgraduate in dermatology. You need to become a physician by doing MRCP or Masters in Medicine before applying for subspeciality training in dermatology.

      You will not do any dermatology posting during housemanship and thus it does not matter where you do housemanship.

  160. HI Dr pagalavan, I’m one of future Hos, and Im confused to which specialty i’d like to take. What do you think of radionuclide physician, esp their prospect in private sector? and what is the path for it? and how about anaesthesiologist? Thanks you in advanced! =))

    • Please think of how to be a good HO first before you go about to think what you want to specialise in. For one, you may change your interest, and most importantly, many of the HOs can’t even do a simple thing such as being a safe doctor. Why think so far ahead? Why plan so far ahead, when you can’t even be sure you will certainly get a place for housemanship due to the glut.

    • It’s good advice to always first focus at the immediate task at hand (eg: being a good and safe HO).

      But I always encourage all my medical students and trainees to have a medium and long term plan. It confers focus and helps to develop a strong CV with a “theme” that is so important when applying for particularly competitive specialties. Yes, interests can change. But you would be surprised how many good colleagues and trainees I have whom had decided on their career paths by the time they had graduated.

      There is no written rule that one has to hit targeted career milestones in order to advance in specialty training. But most successful trainees hit the milestones within a range of expected timescales. If you miss your chance, the next wave of trainees will be along and you may be cast into the pot of those who are unlikely to ever make it.

      So yes, focus on the task at hand, but if wish to find out more about future specialties, I encourage you to do so and do not be put off by those who tell you not to bother as yet.

      If you might allow me the conceit of myself as an example, I completed my specialty training 11.5 yrs after graduation from med school. In my specialty, the average as per Royal College stats is 13.5 yrs. No, I had not decided on my specialty in med school, but I did have a future plan at every stage:
      1) med student – decided on surgical career pathway
      2) HO/SHO – decided on surgical specialty and to do research related to specialty
      3) research fellow – reaffirmed plan of surgical specialty, explored potential subspecialties
      4) specialist registrar – decided on subspecialty
      5) subspecialty fellow – decided on where I wanted to work as a consultant.

      Moral – concentrate on your current task but always have direction. Advance on a narrow front (eg: take on only limited research projects at a time, but always finish each one).

      I wish you all the best.

    • You need to become a physician first by doing MRCP or Master’s before subspecialising in Radionuclear. It is NOT popular in private sector. Only less than 5 private hospitals in the country have radionuclear physicians and each one of this only needs 1 physician!

      Anaesth is a popular field and many are not getting a post for Master’s. The situation will get worst. FANZA is another option but only few hospitals in Malaysia are gazetted as training centre. There is no point thinking about money anymore, in near future all doctor’s income is going to be low, same as any other field!

      You just try to do what you are interested in

    • Hi renin,

      Malaysia is still very short of anaesthetists in the public sector. They don’t train enough per year because they have very limited Masters places. It is increasing in popularity in Malaysia so will be very hard to get in because of the number of graduates being produced vs the number of training places available. If you get on to training, there will be a good job for you in the public sector because they still need more specialists in each hospital and they are upgrading many district hospitals. The private market is saturated however.

  161. HI DR, i m steve, student of university of Malaya, recently just get offer by singapore government as a HO there, however, i heard that non singapore citizen will have difficulty to get a place in residency programme, is this the true. I am worry of this because i do not want to work as MO the whole life there. These is because going to singapore is a big decision, as once we go there, we cannot come back to serve malaysia unless we become specialist. This what i heard from my senior. This is why every year, many of UM students get an offer there but rejects it. Can u give me a guidance weather i shall stay here or go singapore. if i stay here, which hospital u recommend as the HO. Thk you for ur guidance.

    • It is all up to you. Getting a trainee post there is very competitive. Obviously their citizens will be given preference. It will be easier to get a post in non-popular fields. Thus, it depends on which field you are going to choose.

      Otherwise as you said, you need to complete everthing before coming home. Most of the time, majority will not come back!

      Obviously, it is not going to be easy to get a post in Malaysia either due to the current glut!

    • Hi Steve, in my opinion you should go. Apply for Singapore PR and you will be pushed up the ladder, though their citizens might still get preference. Better to finish your postgrad training there and then try to come back if you want. There is still no guarantee you will get the training post you want wherever you end up, the popular specialties are just that much more competitive these days. Good luck.

  162. I am looking for such a post, thanks for sharing such valuable information.

  163. Dear Dr Pagalvan
    I have to say that ur blogs are informative. however i somewhat disagree with ur crticisms and biased judgements of certain established medical schools like MMMC. you make it sound as if they produce complteley dumb doctors but mind you there are many who are doing quite well out there. as if other unis create super intelligwnt doctors all along. u get all kinds of doctors from all kinds of unis. eg they say russia produces horrible medical graduates but one of my top specialists in ONG hails from russia. dont blame the unis. doctors good or bad u get them from every damn uni and it depends on each doctors capability finally at the end of the day. there is no SUPERIOR UNI. at the end of the day patients go to see a capable doctor but not based on where they hraduate from.

    • I think I have said this before: It does not matter which university you graduate from but 2 important factors remain:
      1) good entrance qualifications, we must admit that you need certain level of intelligency to become a doctor.
      2) genuine interest and passion in doing medicine.

      The problem with some of our local colleges is that they have started to lower down their standards to take as many students as possible. They do this via backdoor by introducing “foundation studies”. I know of many SPM students who have been offered medical seat by just using their SPM results. The seat is guaranteed but need to do foundation studies. These foundation studies are all done within the college without any standardisation like STPM, A Levels, IB etc.

      Same goes for Russian graduates. There are so many medical colleges in Russia, good and bad ones. Majority of the Bad russian students that I have seen DO NOT have the 2 criteria above.

      • But doing well in A-level or STPM cannot prove u will be doing well in medical school…(even with all As)….for example, typical a-level subjects for student who wan to go med school are BIOLOGY, CHEMISTRY, PHYSICS or Maths…in med school, the things that u learnt from chemistry and physics during u a-level are totally useless from wat u get to learn in med school….so, basically i think that a better pre-u like pre-medical courses which prioritize certain subjects in med school like human anatomy and etc will be a better measure for entering med school…

      • Yes, but these pre medical courses must be standardised and not biased. Most of Malaysian uni runs this foundation studies as a big scam!! Just a eyewash!

    • In my own experience of provision of undergraduate and postgraduate medical/surgical training (now exceeding 10 years), I would have to agree with Dr Paga that robust university entry requirements and personal passion are the two most fundamental cornerstones for ensuring the best chance of a top class doctor.

      Yes, I am sure that there are decent medical graduates from MMMC and Russia. But so too does everyone I know have some relative who smoked, drank and lived a lifestyle of excess yet lived well into their ninth decade. These are the exceptions who prove the rule.

      The fact is, quality institutions have robust entry requirements and also attract quality applicants. Hence, such institutions are far more often and far more likely to produce a top quality graduate. It’s a simple matter of probabilities. Yes, they do occasionally produce a dud. Once again, the exception which proves the rule.

      Top quality applicants do not normally seek to study at places like MMMC and Russia out of choice. I will accede that on occasion, a late bloomer does shine at university after struggling through secondary school. Once again, the exception that proves the rule.

      By and large, top quality applicants to top quality medical schools have a long history of excellent performance throughout their school years. And it carries through into their postgraduate careers as well. Most of the best surgeons I trained with; and my best specialist registrars have typically had a long history of excellence.

      You might be right that there is no such thing as a “SUPERIOR UNI”, but there sure are a lot of mediocre ones which have relatively low entry requirements to medicine.

  164. Sir,
    What will be the proper steps that i should take to pursue my life as a
    Cardiothoracic Surgeon? I just done with my spm..Thank you in advance.

    • I think it is better for you not to think what you want to become when you have not even step foot into a medical school. Things will change along the way. To become a cardiothoracic surgeon: complete 2 years of Houemanship, 2 years of medical officer, complete 4 years of Master’s in Surgery, 6 months of gazettement after that, 1-2 years of waiting to get subspeciality training , 4 years of Cardiothoracic training. All this assuming you get your Master’s seat on first try and you pass on first try. Even after all these, you are not necessarily competent to perform a cardiac surgery on your own. It will take another few more years to be competent.

  165. hi Dr, may i know wat documents needed to sit for mrcp?

  166. I am looking for such a post, thanks for sharing such valuable information.

  167. Dear Sir, I’m a SPM student. I’m interested in medical but I’m afraid that I can’t do it. I just want to ask is it very tough in the routes to becoming a doctor ? I mean doing the housemanship,studies all stuff?

  168. Hi..Dr,Thanks for all your information,I am interested in doing internal medicine specialist..so if i finish MRCP in malaysia and undergoes 18 months of gazettement…is the status same as taking master in medicine in local uni?will mrcp increase my chance in getting course in local uni?

    thanks dr for your concern and time..

  169. on December 31, 2011 at 3:28 PM | Reply Dr. Zubair nur

    hi once dr Pagalavan…happy new year to u and all the readers. i wanted to know the process of getting registered by MMC.their website is not very clear. for foreign medical gradutes what is the procedure and how do we get to know about the exam rules and question guideline? can u suggest me which books to read and the exam registration process? from their website i found there are 2 dates every year.march-april and around october. but when do i register before exam is not written.will be grateful for the informations.thanks.

    • You need to write in to MMC to apply to sit for the entrance exam, atleast 3 months ahead of the date of exam. The exam that you will be sitting will be the same as the final year exam of the students in UM,USM and UKM. The exam format depends on which of these university is allocated for you.

  170. i’m gonna follow ur blog.such an informative n good blog.btw.i’m still searching ur post on part 1 n part 2.where is it?

  171. this blog is very informative. i would like to ask one question. currently i’m mo in klinik kesihatan. if i pass entrance exam in ophtal can i apply master ophtal in ukm despite no experience in ophtal dept as mo?

  172. on January 7, 2012 at 4:00 PM | Reply ms.safarudin hassan

    u’ve got an amazing blog here!
    i’m a 4th year medical student.currently interested in taking ::public health master:: after graduation n HO.what is the prospect of this master in medicine field?as in will i still be connected to the hospitals or what other options will thr be?and if i’m interested in being a lecture after master,do i still have to practise in hospital.and how is it related to community medicine?thank you for your help!

    • Master’s in public health is a non-clinical postgraduate degree. You will be posted to do admin work and nonclinical work after graduation. You will not be doing any clinical work in a hospital except for being a timbalan pengarah, pengarah etc. Yes, you can become a lecturer for non-clinical field.

  173. Hi Dr. Pagalavan,

    I’m interested in specializing dermatology. Do i need to sit for mrcp first? i’m also interested in family medicine. If i pass my master in family medicine, can i subspecialize in derm or do i just qualified to take a diploma in derm? Thank you.

    • Yes, dermatology is an internal medicine subspecialty in the UK and NZ. Aus has its own training programme separate from their college of physicians. All very competitive in those countries.

      In Malaysia, only way to do dermatology is via Masters in Internal Medicine 4 yrs) and then do subspecialty training after (3 yrs i think). Theoretically, you can do MRCP and possibly get gazettement in dermatology but this will only be recognised in Malaysia because it is a shortcut route. Doing the MRCP will increase your chances of getting accepted into a Masters programme in Malaysia and allows you to work in Singapore and eventually possibly get on to their Masters programme.

      If you do family medicine masters, you can do a diploma in dermatology but you cannot call yourself a dermatologist (because you aren’t one). You will then be a Family Medicine Specialist with an interest in Dermatology.

    • Yes, you either need to do MRCP or Master’s in medicine before sunspecialising in dermatology. You can’t become a dermatologist with Master’s in family medicine or a diploma.

  174. Dear Dr. Pagalavan,

    Hope you will be fine and doing great. Your blog is very much informative.
    I am a IMG right now enrolled in final year MBBS and wants to do housemanship from malaysia. Will you guide me how to make it possible ?

    I shall be thankful to you for this act of kindness.

    Bhunesh Kumar

  175. Dear Dr. Pagalavan,

    My degree is recognized by MMC so I do not have to worry about this. I need information regarding how to apply for this and other related info regarding this.

    With lots of thanks,

    Bhunesh Kumar

  176. Dear Dr. Pagalavan,

    No sir I am not a Malaysian.

    Bhunesh Kumar

    • Then, you cannot apply for housemanship in Malaysia. Housemanship can only be done in government hospitals in Malaysia and thus as a non-citizen, you cannot work in public sector. The only exception is when you are married to a Malaysian and residing in Malaysia.

  177. Hi Dr.Pagalavan,

    I have just recently applied to RCSI in Ireland for their 6 years medicine course (including a pre-medical course).

    My question is:
    Is there any chance for me to continue my housemanship there in Ireland after I graduated? If not in Ireland, can I try for UK? Or you think it’s better to come back here for housemanship and try for MRCP ? What is your suggestion?

    Sorry for the trouble. Thank you.

  178. Hi Dr. I found your blog is very interesting and helps me lots.
    actually im a SPM leaver and interested to take medicine course, so far i’ve heard that actually housemanship training in malaysia is really terrible, so tiring and so many ‘sighs’. So, I’d like to ask you, actually hospitals in malaysia do have shift on housemanship or not? so far i’ve read and heard that the housemen do the work for 36 hours non-stop. is this true? of 36 hours non-stop is just a hyperbola for a tiring and exhausting work? thanks Dr :))

    • There is no such thing as easy life in medicine anyway. That goes for not only houseman but also throughout your career.

      Yes, housemanship is done by shift system now but that does not mean that your workload is lower.

      Yes, doctors do work 36hours straight. I work 24hours a day, 7 days a week even after 15years of service. You just have to accept it ! That is a life of a doctor.

  179. Hi
    I’m a Dr from Nigeria currently doing my one year internship.
    I will like to do my residency training in pediatrics in malaysia. Please, how do I go about it?
    Thank you

    • Malaysia do not offer residency training for foreigners. However you may try these 3 university hospitals who do offer their Master’s programme to foreigners:
      University Hospital
      Hospital University Kebangsaan Malaysia
      Hospital University Science Malaysia.

      You can visit their website.

  180. Hi Dr.
    If I want to be a medic-course-lecturer, what is the pathway to do so?

    • In medicine, you cannot become a lecturer with just MBBS. You need to have a postgraduate degree before even being appointed as a lecturer. Even after you become a lecturer, you are suppose to do full time clinical work on top of teaching.


  181. Hi Dr,

    I am finishing my housemanship in a couple of months time and would like to take up psychiatry. Can you please enlightened me regarding the MRCPsych and CASC postgraduate courses for psychiatry and is it recognised in Malaysia and where can I appear for the exams.

    Thank you

  182. Dear Sir,

    If you don’t mind then can you provide me some useful links-of both hospitals and malaysian medical council, so that I can collect more information about Housemanship in Malaysia.

    I shall be thankful to you.

    Bhunesh kumar

  183. Hi Sir,could you tell me the pathway of becoming a skin specialist.Thanks

  184. hello Dr,
    i do read your blogs quite often.they’re really helpful to me.I have just graduated and i am waiting for my posting.i have heard that many HO are trying to complete the MRCP exams while they’re still in Housemanship,is it possible? another thing Dr, i want to be a cardiologist.im not quite sure of the exact pathway that i should take to achieve this.i want it to be recognised in most countries.can you please help me?
    thank you.

    • No, you can’t complete all the parts of MRCP during housemanship. However, you can sit for the Part 1 of MRCP after 1 year of service, which in Malaysia you are still in your 2nd year of housemanship.

      After MRCP/Master’s in Medicine and upon gazettement as a specialist, you need to apply to joint the cardiology training programme which is 3 years. You can read about this here :https://pagalavan.com/education/for-future-doctors-step-by-step-approach-to-subspeciality-in-medicine/.

      I am sorry but I don’t think any training in Malaysia is recognised fully in any other country. It may be recognised partially for you to be appointed as registra etc. It is up to the respective country’s specialist registration body to decide.

  185. Hi Dr, I am a medical study from one of Malaysia University who planning to work in Singapore. Since my Uni is not recognised by SMC, so instead of MRCP, MRCPCH, MRCOG and MRCS that u have already mentioned above, is there any other ways? Or can we sit for their entry exam offered by SMC?
    Waiting for your advices in a grateful heart. Thank you Dr.

  186. Dear sir,

    What are the benefits of doing houseman ship from Malaysia for future ? Will there be enough time during houseman ship so that I can prepare my self for MRCP and can give it or the houseman ship will be tough enough .

  187. dear sir,

    may i ask what is the difference between pegawai perubatan gred ud1-1 and pegawai perubatan gred ud41? Thankyou.

  188. Dear sir,

    Well I have emailed to MMC about houseman-ship so lets see what they response. Sorry for asking the same question again. If anyone of mine relative is holding employment pass of Malaysia then can I apply for it on this basis ?

    The reason why I am forcing this thing a lot is because recently I met a Professor of Medicine in KL at job fair and he told me that If my medical school is registered by MMC then I can apply for houseman-ship and after that I can practise Medicine in Malaysia.

    Bhunesh Kumar

    • I think the Professor is not aware of this issue. Is he a Malaysian professor or an expat?
      At this point, there are not even enough housemanship post for Malaysian graduates.

      Having a relative with employment pass makes no difference.

  189. He is a Malaysian professor .

    • Then, definitely he does not know what he is talking about. Singaporeans who graduated from Monash Malaysia were rejected when they applied for housemanship here. So far the only foreigners who have been offered housemanship here are those are married to Malaysia.

      Sometimes, university may take foreigners as housemen on contract basis if they are short of housemen. But that does not happen anymore as we have enough housemen now.

    • THis was taken from MMC website:

      Provisional Registration ( sections 12 and 13)

      Provisional registration allows newly qualified practitioners to undertake the general clinical training needed for full registration. A medical practitioner who is provisionally registered is entitled to work only in house officer posts in hospitals that are approved for the purpose of internship training by the Medical Qualifying Board.

      Sections 12 and 13 of the Medical Act 1971 states that a person shall be entitled to be provisionally registered as a medical practitioner solely for the purpose of obtaining experience as a house officer if he holds a qualification recognized by the Council. If he holds a medical qualification which is not recognized by the Council, he has to sit and pass the Medical Qualifying Examination in accordance to Section 13(1) of the Medical Act 1971.

      Note : ‘Housemanship’ or ‘Internship’ is the period of resident medical practice before full registration as stipulated in the Medical Act 1971.

      Provisional registration is available only to practitioners with the following nationality, rights and qualifications:

      Holding a basic medical degree from a recognised institution (as per the Second Schedule ( ) of the Medical Act 1971);
      Malaysian citizens;
      For non-citizens, exemption is given only to local graduates or those related or married to Malaysians.

  190. Thanks a lot for making things much clear .

  191. Hi Dr paga.
    Thanks for your very informative blog post. Just wondering do you have any of your friends/relatives/people that you know writing blog on other careers in Malaysia eg. engineering, accounting ect,ect? Thanks in advance.

  192. Hi Dr.
    Is MBBS from Melaka-Manipal Medical College recognised by countries like UK and Aus if I am planning to further my postgraduate there? Currently I am doing twinning programme in India. Which entrance exam should I take and when should I take it? Thanks. I am just a first year med student and want to know more about it.

    • MMMC degree is not recognised by any western country or SIngapore. To go to the US, you have to sit the USMLE. Some people advice sitting for your Part 1 USMLE halfway thru med school because it is a basic sciences exam. To go to the UK, you have to sit the PLAB – but jobs are a lot harder to come by in the UK for foreigners. To go to Aus, you have to sit the AMC exam – the good jobs are getting harder to come by in Aus for foreigners. You will only know the true job situation in each country when its close to your graduation.

    • MMMC is not recognised elsewhere, even in India!! You need to sit and pass the entrance exam in respective countrys in order to be able to work there. However, passing these entrance exams do not guarantee you a job.

  193. I know a few foreigner in MMMC, they are American and another one is indian with UK PR.As of this moment, the American from California are sitting for USMLE and the UK PR guy got into UK health system courtesy of his father’s help,his father work in UN.Hope this helps

  194. After completing my medical degree in ucsi, can I apply for postgrade residency in the US, or aus, uk? How?

    • NOpe, your degree is not recognised in these countries. You need to sit and pass the entrance exams in these countries with no guarantee thet you will get a job/post. UCSI is not even listed in WHO list and thus you may find it difficult to even sit for these exams

  195. Hey Dan, for you to practice in the respective country you need to be board certified.In US it’s USMLE, UK it’s PLAB and in Australia it’s AMC.
    before you embark on anyone of them,you need to check whether your Uni is recognise by the boards.Once you are sure they listed your uni as eligible for their entrance exam, then you can proceed to the entrance exam.

  196. dr…something amiss here. you don’t seem to like your career and discouraging everyone from pursuing a noble profession. seems like a case of the grass is always greener….the other side
    Also, it is not where you study that matters but how you work hard and get the experience you need to serve well in the profession one has chosen. all professions have its pro and cons and some do better than others. if you hate the profession, you will definitely not perform. This seems to be your personal grievance that you creating misconception.

    • I don’t think you get my point. I like my profession and I am happy with what I am doing. BUT there are many people out there who are not aware of what the profession is about and what are the challenges that they will face along the way. That is the purpose of this blog!

      In medicine, it is very important to study in a well established and reputable uni. It is not as simple as you think!

      • Dr. Pagal, are local public universities other than UM, UKM, USM considered established for my medicine study? How about other local private universities like PMC, IMU, AIMST? Which one is better, public or private? Thanks

      • UPM is OK. The rest are very new.
        Public is definitely better in terms of facility etc especially those which have their own teaching hospital.
        For private, I will go for IMU

      • How about you invest some time reading the posts in this blog? I am very sure you will be able to draw your own conclusions, thereafter.

  197. on February 2, 2012 at 3:33 PM | Reply Dr. Geeta Gupta

    Dear Dr. Pagalavan,

    I am Dr. Geeta (MBBS,DTCD and DHA) from india staying in indonesia near bandung since last one year with my family, My husband is employed in a multinational company here at purwakarta, I have total 6 years of working experience in different hospitals in india, Can you guide me how to get the opportunities in indonesia as a practioner or as faculty in the medical institutions/colleges/schools over here. So that I can remain in contact with my profession. I am eagerly waiting for your reply and advice.


    Dr. Geeta Gupta

    • I am not very familiar with the Indonesian system. You can probably contact their Medical council

    • Dear Dr. Geeta Gupta,

      It it possible for a foreigner to practice in Indonesia as both a medical practitioner or a doctor on specialty training (PPDS/Program Pendidikan Dokter Spesialis).

      You have to contact the Indonesian Medical Council/Konsil Kedokteran Indonesia (KKI) to get an evaluation from a local University. I heard that foreigners are only allowed to work in hospitals and not open a private practice.

      May I ask what your specialty is?

      We have a number of Indonesians graduating from foreign universities (eg. Germany, Netherlands, Australia etc). They have to do an adaptation program of approximately one year. The adaptation program comprises of work in a hospital setting and doing a national exam like all local residents.

      I hope this helps!


  198. All professions have its advantages and disadvantages. I truly feel you are sharing a lot of knowledge but your replies are very negative. You create fear in the minds of the young. No pain, no gain as the saying goes. If you have the brains financial support, and hard working, go for this noble profession . With this prerequisite, you think any tom, dick and harry can be a doctor???? Think again on oversupply……..the only thing we should worry about is the profession forming a cartel/monopolisation. More supply creates healthy competition.Ok no more comments for me….MUST try to read your informative blog and keep my ambition fire on………..

    • This is where you are wrong again! I don’t think you understand the situation. Yes, any tom, dick and harry can become a doctor nowadays! I have seen enough of them. More supply creates healthy competition? Hmmmmm, again I think you are too naive in this field. What competition are you talking about? MY replies are not nagative but the reality on the ground which you will only realise after you graduate. Truth hurts! I never discouraged anyone from doing medicine but you must be aware of what is going on!

    • on October 1, 2012 at 2:59 PM | Reply All that jazz

      “You create fear in the minds of the young.”
      True, but it’s important that students, especially SPM leavers know exactly what they’re getting themselves into. The reality is bleak and the truth hurts. If Dr Paga’s essays are able to weed out those who are only a) doing medicine because of their parents or b) doing it for the money, then so much the better. Also, it’s not just the “brains financial support, and hard working” it’s also about PASSION, and INTEREST. If you have none of these, chances are you’ll hate medicine. Just thinking that it’s a noble profession is not gonna cut it either. I personally know people who have regretted doing medicine.

      Besides, think of the sacrifices that you have to make. And the pressure. And the bureaucracy and now, the terrible mess that we’re in, medical education-wise. Things look pretty crappy.

      So, with all of the information available here, and elsewhere hopefully students will consider very carefully about their decision to take, or not take, medicine. Informed decision is always a good thing. Also, I feel that despite all the negative things going on in our healthcare system, I’m sure those who are genuinely interested will NOT be deterred.

  199. Hi Dr Pagalavan,
    Is there an email address that u could publish for me to contact you. Would really appreciate your help

  200. Dear doctor,
    Thank you very much for the above details and information, it make things much clearer and transparence for newcomers like me!
    There’re some questions I would like to ask: will the result of my MRCPCH(Paediatric) be sent to the MMC or any other deanery? Will the result of exam affect my application for other further training? (in case I would like to apply for master programme in local university after failing the exam badly… :X ).

  201. Good job done considering your work load.

  202. Hi doctor

    I jus want to know regarding the noc thing if the university is recognised in Malaysia but the student didnt have a noc yet what ll happen to the student after complete the medical degree. Can the student still work ?
    Can work in other country?

    • Once you graduate, I don’t think NOC is an issue. I have not heard anyone being rejected as long as it is a MMC recognised degree. However, due to the glut that is coming soon, newer regulations may be implemented. Thus I can’t say what will happen in the near future.

      Whether you can work in other country or not depends on your degree recognition

  203. Hello dr,
    I am 34 yrs old
    I have done MBBS, DCH from India.
    I want to settle abroad. Time factor is crucial.
    Kindly guide me, what are the exams required to pass ?

  204. hello sir…i am still a housement..havnt done my surgery posting yet..
    but i hv plan ahead and very sure about pursuing and further specialising in SURGERY..the best thing for me to do now is to sit for MRCP..
    but i am kinda lost in it..i dont know how to start and how to go on about it..
    regarding the books and syllabus..

    plss guide me…thanks.
    hope u willget back to me soon
    Tqs sir

    • Why are you planning on sitting the MRCP if you want to do surgery?

      • sorry i mean MRCS…how am i suppose to go on or get started in malaysia..i know they have the exam in penang..
        but wht do i need to get started….cause i am kinda lost..just need the right guidance for me to get started n further on my studies…hope Dr.Pagalavan kindly help and guide me in this..tqs alot..

        kindlly looking forward for ur reply and guidance..
        tqs sir

    • MRCS is not a postgraduate degree. Even after passing the exams, you will not be considered as a surgeon. However,it gives you a better prospect in getting into Master’s programme which is the only way to become a surgeon in Malaysia. You can also use the MRCS to go to Singapore. For curiculum etc, you can visit their website or ask people who have sat for it.

      • ok sir..well i know a few who hv sat for it..but they are specialist now..n thy are not much of a help actually..
        i still duno where n wht books to get..n wht the syllabus are …so basically i kinda lost..
        sir if u know about it or anyone..plss do let me knw n help me out in this..

        tqs sir for the time..
        hope to hear from u soon

      • Pls check their website for the syllabus

      • Seriously? Have you even tried looking for the syllabus or webpage? I googled MRCS and was here in 3 clicks: http://www.intercollegiatemrcs.org.uk/outside-uk
        The syllabus is there.

        If the people you know aren’t much help, ask them if they know anyone else who might help. Do you have classmates working in other hospitals? Do they know anyone? Do you know any of your seniors from med school who have sat the MRCS?

        Have we bred a new generation of spoonfed doctors? Or is this a Gen Y / Millennial thing that I seem to be noticing?

  205. Hello Doctor , I m a 4th year medical student from local private uni , I ve recently completed my USMLE step 1 with decent score , I would like to ask whether will i be able to come back to work if i did not complete housemanship or compulsory services? I plan to finish the remaining steps the moment i graduate and start residency ( hopefully) there asap ( probabably around 2nd-3rd posting as a HO) .

    • Dr P might have more insight on this but from what I understand, if you resign from govt service it is very hard to get back in the system. A friend of mine resigned after completing his HOship to go work in Aus. It didn’t work out for him so he came back home. JPA would not take him back as a govt employee because he had resigned – he could only get contract jobs. The situation might be different if you returned as a specialist – someone else might be able to shed light on this.

      If you haven’t completed HOship, it might make things even more difficult because you won’t even have full registration.

    • It depends on when you are planning to come back. If you come back after completing your speciality, then it should not be a problem as long as your training is recognised in Malaysia. If not, you may be asked to do housemanship again(the remaining postings) as the US system is totally different. If you are a specialist and has served more than 10 years overseas, you need not do the compulsory service.

  206. Thanks , i thought so too , i think i will consult my HOD again when i m a HO.

  207. hey Vic,think you can do so only after 2 years of HOship.Think that gonna look good on your CV pal.to break in the middle are to dangerous, as you never know if you need to come back to malaysia to work.
    Breaking means a bad record with the government.will hem in your future prospect here in malaysia

  208. Hi Dr .Pagalavan, I writing this in response to your reply to Vic.As I understand so far, when you start housemanship there’s no backing out.you have to complete them(that’s 2 years)if you force a break in between(which most would consider as a resignation).It will leave a bad record in your work profile with the government and may jeopardise future work plan.
    I assume Vic plan to sit for the exam and later on serve his HO till he get a place.
    What I don’t understand from your statement is’completing of the remaining posting’.another thing there.if you force a break, chances is that you might have to start anew.Do let me know what you think.thanks

    • The funny thing is, the government is not even clear on all of this. Policies also keep changing. At this point of time, the only prediction we can make is that Malaysian healthcare is going downhill. Doesn’t matter whether your CV will look “good” to the government or not, or if you leave a “bad record” in the government or not.

      My advise is, if you get the place to specialize in another country, go for it. If after you specialize and our government doesn’t appreciate you, then screw them and go down south to work (you know what I mean).

    • If you quit housemanship, you can still come back under contract basis and not permanent civil service.If not, you cannot get full registration. I have seen housemen doing this and they were told just to complete the remaining postings.However, there must be documented proof of your previous posting completion which depends on the clerk of the hospital.

  209. icic. guess it doesn’t mean much these days as contract are being push to HOs.getting contract again after rejoining the service shouldn’t surprise you!!

  210. Hi Dr.
    I would like to ask regarding housemanship programme, I heard that housemen are immensely busy with their clinical tasks, so here, I started to ponder, is housemanship is similar to nursing programme ? When I read an article, it was about that housemen are trained to do clinical tasks such as taking blood pressure, check the patient’s progress and etc.
    Thank You.
    Shah Iskandar

    • Everyone in every profession starts from the bottom. It is not just housemnanship is tough, the entire medical life is tough if you really into it. Of course there are many doctors nowadays who don’t care less about the patient.

  211. Hi, I wanted to know if IMU medicine degree is recognised in any other countries other than Malaysia? If I completed IMU medicinde degree locally, can I do postgraduate elsewhere overbroad?

    Sorry if I’ve asked a silly question.

    • No, not recognised anywhere else. If you want to do your postgrad abroad you have to sit the entrance exams of those countries. However, if you transfer to one of the partner medical schools it is equivalent to graduating from that medical school. I would opt to transfer overseas if I had the choice.

    • Nope, not recognised elsewhere. Unless you take their twinning programme. Since it is not recognised, you won’t be able to work or do postgraduate oversaeas.

      • So, erm, if I do their entrance exam, then can do my postgraduate in overbroad uni? Is it? Or can’t?

      • Say ‘overseas’ or ‘abroad’. There is no such word as ‘overbroad’.

        If you sit and pass their entrance exams, you may get a job. And if you do get a job, you probably have to start from the bottom. In many specialties, they will give preference to their local residents for entry into their training programme (depends on which country you go to). So yes, there is a possibility but no guarantee you can do what you want or even get a job in the first place.

    • So, erm, by taking their entrance exam then I can’t do postgraduate in overbroad uni? Or cannot?

  212. Hi Dr,
    Is 2-year-housemanship is included in the 5 years medical studies ?

  213. Hi Dr,
    Nowadays, there are too many medical students which born from IPTA and IPTS as well. In this case, there must be students that are queuing to wait for their turn in housemanship, so is this condition will increase the possibilities for them to be jobless ?
    Can you explain about this circumstances clearly ?
    Shah Iskandar

  214. Dear Dr, i got few doubts to clear from an expert like you, I am deeply impressed by your article above and i wanted to know your opinion,
    1) I plan to sit for MRCS although i do know in malaysia MS is required, is it advisable to still go for MRCS, if yes, where in malaysia i can sit for my part A exam?
    2) I still uncertain whether to go for Surgery or Orthopedic, is MRCS useful for orthopedic postgrad studies?
    Your guidance is highly appreciated, thanks.

    • 1) still worth while if you are intending to go to Singapore etc. You can sit for the exam in Malaysia, usually held at Penang medical College and Penang Hospital.

      2) MRCS only gives you better prospect in getting a Master’s seat.

  215. Hello.
    I’m from private medical university under JPA. If i really want to become a surgeon, then I will have to go through the Master programme but it’s not recognised internationally, means the only route is to take MRCS and then FRCS. The problem is I’m bonded to government. It seems that a better route is to take MRCP in msia as it gives better future prospect. Does this means that I should give up my passion to becoming a surgeon? I know it’s too early for me to consider this, but i want to know how my future will be.

    • Well, it is all up to you but you can decide once you start working. Things will change along the way. I have seen enough number of students who wanted to become this and that but did something else.

      Even FRCS cannot be done in Malaysia. So the only option is Master’s. MRCP is to become a physician. Whether you will get a place or not, depends on your luck.

    • Chill.

      Just about everyone who says they want to become this or that in medschool ends up changing their minds.

      You may not even enjoy your surg rotation as an intern…. the early mornings, standing for hours on end… cholecystectomy after cholecystectomy…the simple procedures you do very very repetitively as a general surgeon…

  216. Dear Dr,

    Thanx for such enlightening post. This topic is actively discussed since 2010! I wonder why this important issue about postgrads and recognitions are barely discussed elsewhere in mainstream sites.

    I’m in final year medical school. I wonder how will be the route if I want to jump into management role? Will there be such hassle as pursuing specialist?

    I plan to complete my HO and serve the districts for some years, but since getting into postgrad is such problematic I wonder is there is another way to climb the career path, just to keep my options open.

    Thank you

    • Nowadays to enter management site, they would give preference for those who have Master’s in Public Health. Unless you want to serve smaller district hospitals in Sabah/Sarawak.

      • to dr pagalavan
        i kindly request you spend few minutes on this
        i finished mbbs in china,i am indian,i just want general sx,i did not clear license exam of here,i came across this mrcs recently,my university is nanjing medical university which is not listed in medical council of singapore,will i able to come to singapore after i finish mrcs 1,2,

        if i come for training will i get paid, wat abt accomodation…

        is there any exam to get license in singapore to atleast do house surgeon with stipend

      • MRCS is recognised in Singapore but you need to complete the entire course. As for training post, it depends on availability. You need to work as medical officer first.

  217. Dear DR sir,
    Thank you for the post. It is very interesting and very helpful. I’m a 3rd year med student, currently studying MBBS in India. Just entered clinical years of med degree
    (1) I’m very much concern with the housemanship prog. What is your advice to me as a 3rd year med student to prep for my coming HO years?
    (2) Does the country of one is having med degree done effect his/her quality?
    (3) What is your opinion towards military doctors in terms of their profession and prospect?
    (4) I am very much interested in Anaesthesiology. In your opinion, what are the pros n cons of being an anaesthetist? Can you tell me briefly on how to become an anaesthetist in Malaysia

    • 1) know your basics well, work hard and willing to learn the hard way
      2) not the country but the medical school
      3) prospect is better in terms of getting scholarship for further studies but vacancy is limited.
      4) you need Master’s or FANZA.

  218. Thank you DR sir. By the way, you mentioned about the Masters for anaesthesiologist.
    (1) Is it available in malaysia?
    (2) From your experience what are the pros n cons of being an anaesthetist?

    Thank you in advance and thank you for the advice. Will sure do my best in learning and in serving Malaysians. 🙂

  219. dear dr.,

    i realized you have replied a great deal to many questions but i still have a few concerns. i hope this wont take up much of your time.

    im a 6th (final) year medical student in brawijaya university and i have sat and passed on first try the USMLE steps 1 and 2ck (i didnt get a 99 score but nonetheless passed on first try).

    1. i had a look at the format of the mrcpch questions (parts 1 n 2 written) and i feel it is much easier than the USMLE steps. one reason being because the exam duration n questions are much lesser than the USMLE (8 hrs for step 1 and 9 hrs for step 2ck). WHAT IS YOUR OPINION ON THAT?

    2. you mentioned that to sit for the mrcpch exam i need an mrcpch holder to verify me? how do i get an mrcpch holder to do that for me? i was under the impression we jst need to apply online for the exams n pay up (much like the USMLE exam)

    3. i start my HO this yr sometimes in oct/nov (depending on how fast i get in) most probably in the klang valley (my hometown), with the verification by an mrcpch holder, will i be able to sit for the exam say in Jan 2014? (i say Jan 2014 because i think i read that the part 1 is only offered in jan n june. I could be highly wrong).

    4. for my part 3 mrcpch, how long does training take? can i do it in the UK? is applying for a place in UK difficult?

    thank u so much for ur help. if i could reciprocate in any way, perhaps by answering some usmle steps questions for other readers, id be happy to.

    have a great day everyone.

    aim for excellence! 🙂

    • 1)Firstly, you are talking about 2 different exams. USMLE is a basic licensing exam in US where as MRCPCH is an entry exam for paediatric specialisation.
      2) MRCPCH is a written exam and not online exam. You need to be in service in order to sit for MRCPCH, , meaning you need to complete your housemanship to sit for Part 1.

      3) as I said, you need to be in service for 1 year post graduation to sit for MRCPCH. YOu need to get someone in your hospital who has MRCPCH to be your proposer.

      4) to complete the entire MRCPCH will usually take about 3-4 years after which you need to undergo 18 months of gazettement to become a specialist. NO, it is not easy to get a post in UK anymore due to their immigration law. You need to sit and pass the PLAB exam in order to be able to work in UK.

  220. Hi dr pagalavan,

    Yes ure ryte, usmle step 1 is basic sciences. But from d websites that offer mrcpch part 1 exam practice, they have said its much like usmle step 2ck which is not basic sciences but clinical knowledge. I wouldn’t know yet but I was thinking of purchasing the books they mentioned to start studying. Tht would be a good idea ryte? Considering ill start my HO soon.

    And about the plab, on a previous comment, u mentioned that getting into UK d student wiill need usmle (or were u refering for getting into the USA, in which case I’m confused n sorry)

    Also, I read on the plab official website that if we have more than 1 year working experience we r exempted from d exam. Is tht true?

    I hve a friend who is interested in mrcpophth. What kind of adequate training would tht include in a general hospital? I’m so blur… Sorry… All this while concentrated on usmle.

    And another questions, the part 3 training, how long does it take?

    Ok that will do for now. Thank u so much for year prompt reply!!! Ure awesome. 🙂

    • You can always buy books and start preparing for Part 1 when you are a housemen. Always remember that things can change when you start working! You may begin to like some other field!

      PLAB is for UK, USMLE is for US.

      All graduates from outside UK will have to sit for PLAB exam.

      ONly certain hospitals in Malaysia are accrediatetd training centre for FRCS opthalmology

      As I said, 3-4 years

  221. hi dr pagalavan,

    i replied ur to ur reply on my blackberry but i dont see it here so ill reply again.

    yes ure ryte usmle step 1 is basic sciences for entry into USA but step 2ck is clinical knowledge and comprises of the main 4 subjects, int.med, peds, obgyn and surgery. it has a bit of ophth, ent, neuro, dermatology etc as well. but of course, the mrcpch is much specialized. there is this website which offers qbanks for mrcpch and some have commented there that the part 1 is much similar to usmle step2ck. also if we have a good grasp on our basic sciences we are ok.

    how long did it take u to prepare for ur mrcp if u dont mind me asking? many doctors from india (from another blog) said they spent from 3 to 6 mths studying (while working as they too have to do one year of working before sitting for the exam). also, do u think doing questions from qbanks will help?

    from my experience with the usmle steps, step 1 took about a year to study with attempting about 8000 questions (practice questions). and step 2 took about 6 to 8 mths (took me a year as well because out clinicals in indonesia requires us to spend about 65 to 84 hours a week on average) plus about 6000 questions (practice tests) to finally get the grasp of it. i do understand that for mrcpch WORKING is very important because without experience theory has no value alone, but then what advice can u give us on method of studying. do u think i should start now while im still a student? there is this book mrcpch part 1 for sale at amazon that most indian doctors use.

    and for part 3 training (say i do it in singapore) how long does it take? a year perhaps?

    thank u very much for your prompt reply. i appreciate it very much. not many ppl actually take the time off to help newbies. 🙂

    God bless u dr. P

    • For Part 1, you need about 6-8 months of preparation. To complete all, about 3-4 years.

      For MRCPCH, you can do everything in Malaysia. Only then you can go to Singapore. It does NOT make you a specialist. It allows you to enter speciality training programme.

      Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device via Vodafone-Celcom Mobile.

  222. oh i c… so part 3 exam itself takes 3 to 4 yrs to complete? that is so long. in USA the entire residency program takes 3 to 4 years. so this means if i choose to go the mrcpch way ill have to spend 3 to 4 yrs in singapore just for step 3 training?

    • MRCP is not a specialist exam. It is an entrance exam for speciality training. Residency training in US is totally a different system

      We follow UK based system which is a longer pathway compared to US system.

  223. dear dr P

    perhaps we are both not on the same page.

    yes i know USMLE is for US (i took the steps) but im confused when u said it takes 3 to 4 yrs training for part 3 mrcpch. here’s ur blog comment from the top:

    However, Singapore does recognise MRCP, MRCPCH, MRCOG and MRCS. Thus, if you have any of these degrees, it supersedes the undergraduate degree and you should be able to get a job in Singapore. Singapore is also a recognised centre for MRCS Part 3 training, which you can’t do in Malaysia.
    So, if you have MRCS Part 1 & 2, you can go to Singapore to finish your MRCS training and sit for the Part 3.

    my question is regarding the last sentence. that part 3 exam with training. that takes how long? 3 to 4 yrs just for part 3?

    thanks again in advance for your time. also your study time table from your time how u did it (considering there wasnt much available websites to download study material off from n u must have gone through the thickest books in the library n studied a great deal to have even gotten ur frcp and subspecialization) NOT EASY!!

    • I think you are totally confused. MRCS, MRCP and MRCPCH are 3 different exams and specialisation.

      All will take about 3-4 years of training. Please also read my article on “step by step approach for subspecialisation in internal medicine” under ” for future doctors” page

      Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device via Vodafone-Celcom Mobile.

  224. and you’re right, i might like another field. hmm.. but i suppose the extra studying couldn’t hurt. i jumped from neurology to anesthesiology to internal medicine (but after spending 3 mths for out internal medicine rotation here during clinicals, no no… im not into it too much) but then with pediatrics its not that i adore children (which i do) but every test or practice test i take, i seem to grasp it better. I can understand peds and psychiatry too well.

    sorry im harping on my trivial dilemma, but thanks again for the replies. 🙂

  225. OMG ure totally ryte!! i just saw, u mentioned MRCS not MRCPCH!!!! thats where i was confused. like why would i need training in singapore?!!

    ok sorry for all that confusion.

    but i got the replies i wanted. will ask my friend to check on the hospitals for her ophth but i think ill continue with studying for mrcpch and get my HO out of the way first for adequate experience. 🙂

    have a nice day! n thx again

    dun mind the abbreviations (jargon).

  226. Dear DR Pagalavan,

    if Malaysian students that study medical in INDONESIA, when they graduate do they have to do houseman ship?

  227. Hi Dr Pagalavan,
    I’m currently doing my housemanship (4th posting) and really interested in Radiology field. so what will be my next step? thank you in advance.

    • Either Master’s in Radiology or FRCR. FRCR can be sat in Singapore but has 4 parts. For Master;s you need to wait. The current waiting time is 3 years after housemanship. The Programme is a 4 year programme.

  228. Hi Dr,
    I read your posts regarding the doctors in Malaysia is just a glut and whatsoever, but what I know, in Malaysia the ratio of doctor to the patient is approximately 1:1100, so how come you can say that doctors in Malaysia is too many ? I’d rather think that if the doctor are said to be immensely exhausted, no much time for themselves, don’t even have a good time to sleep, so this kind of situation, enough to tell me that the number of doctor in Malaysia not achieve it’s target yet, perhaps to cut down the ratio mentioned.


    • I think you are living in your own world. I am talking about what is going to happen in the next few years. Your ratio is wrong to begin with. The Doctor: population ratio has already reach 1: 900 in 2010. Please read this: https://pagalavan.com/education/for-future-doctors-the-standards-of-medical-education-in-malaysia-and-its-acceptability-by-david-quek/ which was written by Dr David Quek who is a member of MMC and past president of MMA. The article was very clear on the current status. Being a MMC member, he knows exacly what is going on since MMC keeps the actual number of doctors. The government itself has officially announced that they will achieve a ratio of 1: 600 by 2016 and 1: 400 by 2020. Based on the number of medical schools now ( 36 in total), we may achieve the ratio much faster. Remember, 50% of these medical schools are yet to produce graduates. From now onwards, all these medical schools will gradually start to produce graduates, reaching their peak by 2016!! Actually, we do have enough doctors but the main problem is maldistribution.

      Now, coming to your next question. Firstly, being a doctor itself is stressfull and exhaustive no matter whether you have enough doctors or not. Secondly, the reason why you see the government clinics and hospitals loaded with patients is because of our healthcare system. For example, you still see government hospitals and clinics in Klang Valley packed with patients but the doctor: population ratio has already reached 1: 400!! THis is because, due to lack of intergration of public and private healthcare system, only 20% of the population is going to private sector. The balance go to public hospitals and clinics. These are the problems and it is more complex than you think. If you add up all the doctors and number of beds from both private and public, we have enough doctors and beds!

  229. I have served 4 years as an anaesthesia MO in Malaysia. To answer A student’s query, here are some pro’s and con’s as anaesthetist.

    – handling ciritically ill patients in the operation theatre and intensive care is an adrenaline charged and highly stimulating environment.
    – plenty of interesting procedures and skills which you will realise is an art to perfect with time.
    – you learn that team work matters a whole lot in anaesthesia.
    – it is rewarding to provide excellent acute pain relieve to patients.
    – if you love physiology, pharmacology and physics, anaesthesiology may be a good choice for you.

    – long working hours ( most on calls means virtually no sleep for the next 24 to 36 hours depending on how bad your call is, may range from 6 to 10 calls a month)
    – because of constant sleep deprivation and deranged sleep wake cycle, you may end up grouchy and quite unpleasant when you return home to family.
    -Yes, you will feel zombified and groggy by the end of the day, especially after exposure to anaesthetic gases in OT.
    – be ready to face litigation which may drag throughout your career.
    – if you have children, please make sure there is a very strong family support, Otherwise, it is not uncommon to have candidates pull out of masters programme or fail multiple times. ( thus having to repay alot of money )
    – you need to learn to face death and break bad news nearly on a daily basis depending again on which hospital you work in.

    hope this helps those students or HOs who have an interest in anathesiology.

    All’s said and done, You need to experience it first hand , to love it or hate it.

  230. private medical student in Malaysia really not recognized by Singapore? What i should do if i wanna work in Singapore with the certificate i have? Taking an exam?

  231. Hi,

    i aprreciate you higlighting the problems in our country. I have been reading your blog for quite some time. I would like to know what are the best medical schools in our country right now? i have the passion to be a doctor..but accoring to all your posts doctors won’t have a job in the near future. should i pursue it?

    • Whether you should pursue or not, it’s up to you. I am talking about the reality. If youy are really interested in medicine for what it does then nothing can stop you. BUT just like any other job in the market, it is not guaranteed. The best will still be UM, UKM and USM. For ptivate : IMU, MOnash, MMC, PMC etc. However, you must understand about the degree recognition issue.

  232. Dear Doctor,

    I actually found out your blog by chance and I found it quite interesting. Thank you for highlighting and share the issues about current health care system in Malaysia. I have a few queries:

    1. I was awarded a MBBS degree from UK and also I have achieved MRCP (UK). I will be moving back to Malaysia soon (may be this year due to personal reason). To my knowledge, in order for one to be registered with MMC one need to have a job. Do I apply for a job via SPA or apply directly to MOH?

    2. I will be completing my core medical training in UK by July this year. If I would have decided to stay, I would proceed to higher specialist training. My interest is in cardiology medicine. May I know how to get a training post in cardiology in Malaysia and what is the process?

    3. My wife is a qualified GP from UK. Is MRCGP recognised in Malaysia or she has to do a master degree in Family medicine?

    4. I came across 1care but do not much about it because I am currently not living in Malaysia. What is 1care?

    Many thanks!

    • 1) via SPA as well as MOH

      2) Firstly , you need to get a job and gazetted as a specialist by MOH. After which you need to apply for a cardiology subspecialist post via the MOH. The waiting period can be 1-2 years.

      3) please check http://www.nsr.gov.my. It is recognised but need to fullfill certain criteria.

      4) Wait for it’s implementation in 2014. No one knows for sure.

      • Dear Dr,

        Thank you for your reply. Very helpful information. Much appreciated.

      • Click to access malaysian-healthcare-a-critical-look.pdf

        The above article is exactly what is happening in the UK and what will happen to Malaysia Healthcare if 1Care is implemented.

        In the UK, based on current figures and if current trend continues, healthcare expenditure will take up 75% of GDP by 2050. This system is already proven to be unsustainable.

        The only people who will benefit from the 1Care system are those will cables to take the pie from the privatisation process. Those that were given a privatisation share will ultimately push up prices as reflected in Dr Hsu’s paper. Based on the Malaysian experience, where each bottle of 500ml water cost MAS RM4.50, it is very possible that each strip of Paracetamol will cost the 1Care fund RM10.00. If that is the case, everybody can do the maths how much it will cost the average Joe to seek healthcare.

        Another great move by our politicians and those with cables to them to rob the citizens of Malaysia. Well done!

  233. Dear Dr,
    Thank you for the reply. What about NUS? The degree from local universities, are they recognised anywhere else in the world?

  234. Thank you. Appreciate the reply.

  235. Dear Dr,

    I have found your blog via googling for more info about MRCP (UK). I have recently graduated with MBBS from Australia. I have rejected job offers in Australia to return to work in Malaysia due to personal reason. I do not have any idea about specialty training in Malaysia.

    Actually, I’m interested in general medicine, especially dermatology and gastroenterology. Can you shed some light on this?


  236. hi,
    i agree with what you but got quatity but no quality doctors…. i feel so sad for all my patients. all these problems are because of our so Smart govern…. all of medical school but product lousy so what for and eventually later overload with rubbish and fighting for post grad program me. so sad for all of us .

  237. sorry just noticed so much typo …

  238. Hi . My name is Madan. I have started reading some your informative posts and have some questions. I am currently doing my Canadian Pre-U with my aim to study Medicine later on. Recently my parents have been made aware of this Medical Institution: “Davao Medical School Foundation” and are interested in putting me in as soon as possible. However, after some research on the net, I have found some topics really confusing to comprehend. Such as, Once I have completed my course of MD, am I required to complete an examination in Malaysia even if this course is MQA(MALAYSIAN QUALIFICATIONS AGENCY) approved? Once I have, what happens if I fail? My dream is to practice in the UK. But I cannot understand the procedures involved. If it is WHO recognised does it mean that I can practice anywhere as long as I pass an exam? OR is it that where ever I go I have to pass an exam? Which is better MBBS or MD? I am really in a dilemma with my parents urging me to make my decision as soon as possible. I would really love some help from anyone in this post as well. Thanks.
    Kindest regards,

    • Davao is in the Philippines. No Filipino medical school is recognised in Malaysia, which means you will have to sit the Medical Qualifying Exam (MQE). Most people who sit this exam do not pass it – I don’t know why but I have a few guesses.

      The agency that recognises medical degrees is the Malaysian Medical Council.

      Any medical school can be WHO recognised. This allows you to sit the PLAB if you want to work in the UK. However, passing the PLAB is no guarantee that you will get a job there. Even if you do get a job, it is extremely unlikely that you will be offered a training post.

      If your dream is to practice in the UK, get a British degree. Since you are already doing CPU, get into IMU and transfer to one of the UK universities.

      An MD in the US (and probably Philippines) refers to their medical degree, which is always a postgraduate qualification. In the Commonwealth, an MD is a postgraduate research degree (like a PhD). Except in Malaysia where universities like UKM can ‘tumpang glamour’ and confer an MD with their undergraduate medical degrees. Malaysia boleh!

      In short, it doesn’t matter whether your medical degree is an MD, MBBS or MBChB. As long as it is recognised by the country you want to work in.

  239. Hi Nav, thanks so much for replying to my plea for help. I somewhat understand what you mean. So why do you think they do not pass the MQE? Besides that, I am currently in no more a situation to decide among the expenses of over RM500k for IMU plus additional fees for a twinning programme. I wanted to do that but now my financial muscle has been drastically reduced. That’s why I am considering countries such as the Philippines with no disrespect to them. Do you have any other suggestions for me. I would really appreciate it, if there was some other way for me to do this. Let’s say I finished my MD somewhere in Asia, and then want to do my specialization in the UK is that possible? If so will getting a job there be easier? So what does the PLAB require? Also, what about studying in Russia, at Kursk? Does that entitle the student to work in Europe? Does the student still have to do the MQE if he/she intends to work in Malaysia? Furthermore, if studying in Russia, will the student need to do his specialization there or else where. Basically? Does studying a specialized course at the country you intend to work in entitle you a better chance to actually practice there? Thanks.
    With regards,

    • You should spend more time reading my posts under For Future Doctors series, including the comments. Most of these questions have been asked and answered before. Anyway:

      1) MQA/WHO recognition does NOT mean anything. Whichever degree which is not recognised by MMC as in this list http://mmc.gov.my/v1/docs/Jadual%20Kedua%2011-12-09.pdf will have to sit for the MQE exams. The passing rate is way below 50%.

      2) MD/MBBS or whatever does not make any difference.

      3) Don’t fall to all the rhetorics given by agents who are out to suck your money. I know there are now many agents who are promoting universities in Phillipines, China, Maldives, Sulawesi etc etc which is not recognised by MMC. They use the so called WHO recognition to cheat the parents by claiming that it is internationally recognised!

      4) It is now very difficult to work in UK. This is due to their immigration laws which will not give you a work permit for overseas graduates.So, even if you pass the PLAB exams, it is VERY UNLIKELY for you to get a job. Your chances will be better if you garduate from a Uni in UK. Even then, you may just get housemanship post after which you may need to come back.

      5) Not all russian universities are recognised in Malaysia. You can check the list given above.

      6) I think you got no idea about medical specialisation. Pls read my articles. You CAN”T do specialisation immediately after graduation! Post graduate education in medicine is NOT a full time course. You study while you work full time. So, in order for you to do specialisation, you must first get a job and after completing your housemanship etc, apply for specialist training post. There is no guarantee that you will get a post.

  240. Hi doctor, thanks a lot for responding. I do understand that I can only even begin to think about post graduate studies after my housemanship. It’s just that I’m scrambling to write my questions as I’ve become really dull and nervous about the prospect of my dream of working in the UK. I know I have the passion and drive to pull through wtv I have to face. But the possibility that even if I do that I might not get a chance to help others, for the passion I chose medicine in the first place scares me. I am really confused and worried. I just got home from college and have read most of your articles. And I must say, it’s getting me even more worried. I am only 17 and thought age would not matter, but now it looks like I will require a great sense of not only hard work but maturity. My mother herself was an eye-specialist who graduated from India, but was not recognised here so she is now working as a GP in primary health care. I’ve seen her having to do this when there was no great rise in the number of doctors, but now the rise as well, do you think I will be able to get a job? Plus I did my IGCSE’s and do not have SPM Malay, but am doing MPW Malay in college as it’s compulsory for non SPM-candidates. I realised you earlier answered a question saying Malay is required for civil service, so will this be sufficient or what will I have to do? I am sorry for bothering you with so many questions doctor, it’s just that I am in this hurried situation and I knew it was a long difficult path ahead of me, and am willing to do it but as you said at the end of the day, you are going to need the money. Would you recommend to work elsewhere? If housemanship is offered overseas I am no longer required to do it in Malaysia right? Thanks.
    Kindest Regards,

    • you can forget about working in UK unless you graduate from a medical school in UK. Even if you do your housemanship overseas, it is up to MMC to decide whether you can be exempted from housemanship in Malaysia. Most of the time, you still need to complete whatever postings that you did not do overseas which is required over here.

      As for jobless, situation, I think I have written enough about it. I will be writing a new post soon on the current and future situation. Yes, you need a credit in Malay to be employed in government sector. If not, you can only work on contract basis.

  241. Thanks again doctor. So basically, what IF I finish my MD or MBBS overseas and decide to work there and Never opt to practice in M’sia will I be free of housemanship in M’sia? So what about twinning programmes with UK universities, I’ve heard about Newcastle University in Johor if I am not mistaken? Will that offer me somewhat a better chance? Besides the UK, would you recommend any other country to work in? I have also read your say on Dentistry through earlier questions, so would you say dentistry is much more open now then being a normal GP? What would your estimated cost be if anyone would like to open up a dental clinic, with equipment and stuff? Thanks once again, you have really enlightened me today.
    Best Regards,

    • Depends on your years of experience, degree recognition etc. IMU offers twinning programmes with UK universities but there is no guarantee that the particular university will accept you. It will be a better option if you can graduate in UK from any one of these universities. Newcastle universit Malaysia is a 5 year programme in Malaysia. You will be considered as an overseas graduate and work permit limitation in UK applies eventhough you may not need to sit for PLAB if GMC recognises the degree. Please read this http://www.gmc-uk.org/09___Newcastle_Medical_School_in_Malaysia___Quality_Assurance___Annex_A_B.pdf_46442981.pdf page 9 and 56.

      Other countries will be Australia, Singapore and N Zealand. I can’t say what will happen to dentistry in 5 years time, and the cost of setting up a dental clinic will also be different in 7 years time.

  242. Alright, thanks a lot doctor. I really appreciate your advice. Thanks, once again. Take care. Cheers!
    Best Regards,

  243. Hi Dr,
    In your point of view, what are the advantages and disadvantages of studying medic locally ?

  244. Doctor, how are you? I’ve just been thinking.. What about practising Dental in the UK? The chances and procedure? And if I finish my dental locally? And I want to work elsewhere? Lets say, Australia? Would it be the same procedure? As well as, which college would be better for private institutions? Also is maths necessary to join an MBBS or MD program anywhere? Or will the 3 science subjects suffice.

    • The immigration laws applies to everyone who wants to work in UK. You will be the last choice.
      Australia have their own regulation for dentist registration, almost similar to medicine . You can read here http://www.adc.org.au/dentistryinaust.html
      Whether Maths is necessary or not depends on the college.

      It seems like you are planning to migrate! If so, pls choose another field other than medicine or dentistry. I know of many accountants, IT engineers, psychologist etc who can easily find a job in Australia as not much regulations to follow.

  245. Doctor, thanks for your advice. I am sorry to say that other fields are far beyond me now. I grew up aspiring to be like my mother and now I have come to dreaming of succeeding in the UK. As long as I can keep trying I guess, I won’t stop. Hopefully, I have what it takes to make it. Thanks for the advice, if you have any recommendations on which field would be more suitable in Malaysia, UK or Australia I would appreciate it. Thank you.

  246. Dear Dr Pagalavan

    I’m a 5th year medical student, going to sit for my final exam in 3 weeks. I’m interested in O&G, and i’m planning to take MRCOG.

    I understand that I need to have 4 years of accredited O&G training before i’m eligible to sit for the Part 2 exam. May I know which hospitals in Malaysia provide such training?

    Besides, I need to apply for Housemanship soon. I plan to work in HKL, but many doctors that I’ve met said that it is not a good hospital for Housemanship training? What is your opinion on this?

    Thanks for the advice.

    • Any hospital will do for MRCOG as long as there is someone with MRCOG in the hospital to sign you up.

      With the glut of housemen now, whether you will get where you request is going to be difficult to say. HKL is busy but you will learn. It does not matter where you do your HO as long as you are willing to learn

  247. i am a student just finished studying in Indonesia university and now waiting for my posting to be ho. if i were to work in india,how is the process? and if i plan to do specialisation in india,what’s the steps and how am i able to get scholarship in india as i plan to stay and work there.

  248. Hello

    Very informative website. I am an UK national married to a Malaysian, we are both doctors about to finish our specialist training programs in Pathology and Radiology respectively. I am wondering as a spouse of a Malaysian will I be able to work in public and private hospitals as a consultant? Have you heard of any non-Malaysian consultants working in the big cities?

    • Yes, you can since you are married to a local. However you need to apply to MMC and NSR for registration and follow their instruction. Whether they will allow you to work in private depends on MMC.

  249. on March 25, 2012 at 3:11 PM | Reply trying2bbetter

    Hello Dr Pagavalan, thanks a lot for your useful information. I am a malaysian med student about to graduate in a year and i want to ask you a few questions. What status/effects will I be entitled to upon completion of my 2 years housemanship. Does my successful completion of housemanship automatically allow me to register me as a fully licensed doctor capable without supervision under the MMC? What about the 2 years compulsory government service? What happens if I choose to delay/postpone the compulsory service after my housemanship for migratory reasons? Will I still be able to return to work in Malaysia in case I fail to settle overseas? You also said that we should complete the HO no matter what. Thanks.

    • After 2 years of HO, you can be fully registered with MMC. The compulsory service is still inforce and thus you still have to complete your 2 years MO before you resign. However, it may be removed soon. If you leave after housemenship and return within 10 years, you still need to complete the 2 years compulsory service if the rule is still existant.I doubt the rule will exist by then.

  250. hi sir,

    i jus want know what will happen to those who studying medicine in a recognised university in indonesia without a NOC . after they finish their medical degree , can they work in msia. is there any exam for them. can they work in any other country.

    • As far as I know, as long as your degree is recognised by MMC, you should be able to work. Whether NOC will play a role or not, I got no idea but looking at the situation of oversupply of doctors in near future, things might change! Whether you can work in other country depends on your degree recognition.

  251. Greetings Doctor.

    I am a Singaporean currently studying in Mahsa University College. My college told me that I would be able to do my housemanship in Malaysia after my degree.Is this true?based on your previous posts you mentioned that foreginers are not allowed to do their degree in Malaysia. Thank You.

    • Yes, foreigners are NOT entitled to do housemanship in Malaysia unless you are married to a Malaysian. This is because you need to join our civil service to do HO and this is only for citizens. PRs can get housemanship on contract basis.In fact with the oversupply of doctors hitting Malaysia soon, the situation will only get worst as even Malaysians need to wait for a post. MOH is struggling to place their own citizens for housemanship, what more a foreign citizen. The government is not obliged to provide job for foreigners. Furthermore, since MAHSA is not recognised elsewhere, you will get stuck for good. Forget what the college tells you, they are in for the money.

      Even if you do get a HO post, you will need to apply for a MO post after that, on contract basis. Foreigners are also not entitled for Master’s programme except for some post allocated by the university hospitals. I would suggest you sit for Singapore entrance exam and work in singapore.

  252. Hi doctor.
    I am currently considering the p