I started writing information and articles for future doctors since September 2010. All these years as a doctor, I have seen many young doctors and even colleagues who resigned and left medical practise. When I ask them why, the answer will always be the same:

– never thought medicine was this though and depressing

– parents wanted me to become a doctor

– thought medicine can make a lot of money

– I thought being a doctor is just sitting in a clinic and see patients.

– got influenced by TV programmes

– thought can cure the patients all the time

In fact, I have even seen and talked to parents who got no clue of what medicine is all about. Some were willing to make their son/daughter as a doctor at whatever cost, no matter how poorly their children perform in their SPM/pre-U exams simply due to status and money! The actual scenario is far from what anyone can imagine. The reality is totally different and I felt that it is my duty to spill the beans and inform budding doctors and non-medical parents regarding the truth which may be very painful indeed. The future of medicine in this country is very bleak due to poor planning by our government. We have the highest number of medical schools per capita population in the world with 36 medical schools for a population of 27 million!

There is no proper monitoring of these medical schools and many are here just to make money out of our societies obsession in doing medicine. Here I list all my articles under ” For Future Doctors” series:

A copy of these articles are also found in my Home page and Education page. Please also read all the comments made for these articles.


872 Responses

  1. I hereby, thank you for your efforts and praise you for letting us to know beforehand of what may come upon us once we graduated and become a doctor.

    After reading your articles, it changes my perspectives of medicine world but still worth something to hold on.Despite the ‘things’ you mentioned above, i hope with the help of caring senior doctors like you, will make a great inspiration for us, future doctors to stay and fight. 🙂

    Thank you.

    • Dear Dr.

      I am a high school graduate (finished my spm in 2011) and will be taking foundation in science this year. My results thus far indicate I am academically able to go into medicine. But that may or may not change.

      So hopefully if everything were to go well I could enroll in a medical program in 2013 or and maybe finish the MBBS 5 year program by 2018. Would it still be worth it by then?

      I’ve always wanted to be a physician since I was kid when I could finally understand what an auntie and uncle of mine did for a living. I have no illusions of it being easy or being a millionaire by 25. Its just a meaningful profession to me. Not just a job but a profession.

      Recently, news of over supply of medical graduates and imcompetency of some HO’s have dampened my spirits of entering this field. Will I have even the slightest chance of prospect? Or will I be operating a restaurant with a doctor’s degree?

      Your honest opinion on this matter would be greatly appreciated.


      • Firstly i don’t agree Foundation in SCience as the entry qualification for medicine! It is a way for the medical schools to provide easier route for the students to enter their medical college. Foundation in science is NOT a standardised exam like STPM, A levels etc.

        What is your purpose in doing medicine? If it is for guaranteed job and money, then I am afraid, you may be dissapointed. If it is for passion than you may be able to put up with all the frustration that comes along the way.

        BTW, I know many GPs and doctos now who have started restaurant business. Not bad idea after all.

      • I see, thank you.

        If Foundation in Science isn’t ok, then how about MOE Matriculation?

        And yes, as I’ve mentioned above it is for passion, i know doctor’s aren’t paid pots of money especially in gov’t service. I think I can put up with any problems but my concern is will there still be housemanship positions by 2018+? Heck, will they even allow students to enter medicine anymore next year or the year after?

        About the restaurant thing, its not wrong. But its sort of redundant if I don’t do what I was trained for 5 years in med school to do.


      • Currently matriculation is standardised as it is under MOE except for Asasi Science UM , if I am not mistaken. It is still considered inferior to STPM, A levels etc. Matriculation is also not recognised elsewhere as an entrance qualification, even Monash Malaysia do not accept matriculation. To keep your options open, it is always better to do A levels, STPM, AUSMAT etc.

        Yes, getting a job will be difficult by 2018 but it is still possible. They may still provide housemanship under contract as it has already started but after that ? The government can’t prevent anyone from doing medicine but they don’t promise you a job! You do at your own risk. Same like the nurses issue now.

    • on March 26, 2012 at 3:53 AM | Reply Ilyani Rahim

      Dear Dr,

      I’m spm leavers(spm 2011) and looking forward to persue my study in medicine. My spm result is qualify for me to take medicine.I want to study abroad after doing IB so which country do you suggest? i’m thinking to go to ireland but some people said that the system the are more on theory..and can’t even touch a dead body..is this true?

      But for this year, the chance to study abroad is so small, so as backup plan, i want to study in malaysia. What is the best for me? Do foundation in science at private college(as some college offer scholarship)? Or study in matriculation? or Asasi in local universities(UPU)?

      • The best will still be UK, Australia etc. I have seen graduates from Ireland who are not that competent but that was long time ago. Can’t say about current situation. Try to do matriculation and enter local uni like UM, UKM or USM.

    • Dr.

      Most of your posts in this blogs are talking about what challenges that medical students need to face.
      My question is, is it also happen to dentistry students?
      In term of studies, job offer etc.

      • Can’t say much as I am not a dentist. The number of post in government sector is almost full for dentist but we still need a lot of dentist in the country especially in rural and semirural areas.

  2. hello, ur blog gives good reading..have a few dillemna which i hope u will help me to address. i m a 1st poster in medical dept at Hosp Sandakan. the reason i choose to work there is because of the learning opportunities tat i heard from those pplz from MOH. to my surprise, the hosp kinda crowded now with limited opportunities. whereas in places like hosp sultanah aminah , some of my frens have done nearly 40+ cvp lines,10 appendicectomies.

    i planned to take up surgery, wat’s ur opinion on the MMA ‘s article published last year that postgrad priority to be given to those posted at borneo? i think it’s jst another gimmick by the government…and how i wish to work at HSA ….

    • I have mentioned this before that smaller hospitals usually don’t manage complicated cases and thus less chances of doing certain procedures. Since MOH is also sending HOs to smaller hospitals due to lack of space, everywhere is going to get crowded eventually. The saying that working in east malaysia will give you added points for Master’s has been going on since 1990s but unfortunately it does not work that way. The university has the final say, not MOH.

  3. Hi Dr. Your blog has been very inspiring and informative. Most people wouldn’t unravel the truth about the medical field, but you did. For that, hats off Dr! I have many friends who are going for medicine for the sake of their parents, money and status. These are the one’s who are going in the wrong way, with the ‘under tables’ and agencies. I’ve only came across one of my friend who is doing it for the sake of passion. I think it’s pretty unfair for them to do so, it’s effecting us who really want to do medicine for a good purpose not for money or status.

    I’m very much interested in medicine. It has been my dream since I was a kid. I always want to help another girl who suffered just like me (i’ve undergone two surgeries so far). I did very well in my SPM, I fail to obtain 5 scholarships. When I was doing my a levels, i had a mejor surgery, and was on MC FOR MONTHS. My results doesn’t meet up the medicine requirement. I know exactly what is it like to be in agony. Many people wouldn’t realise how stressful and hectic is a doctor’s life. I know how it does, i’ve practically been in hospital for a week experiencing how doctor’s work ( not as a patient, but as a person). I do want to come up with cancer foundation in future. I want to go to refugee camps in Africa to do social services. A ”thank you” from my patient would just do it all, it gives me a satisfaction that I’ve always yearned for. These are my dreams.

    To be a doctor is more like a calling. It’s not that I can’t do any other courses, I can. I’ve tried to divert my mind into other fields such as pharmacy, physiotherapy, biomedicine, biotechnology and even journalism and communication courses since I write alot. But i can’t, it’s just not my thing, i don’t find my happiness there! I don’t get the satisfaction of a saving a person’s life, of being the reason to one’s happiness.

    I’m aware that a doctor’s career involves alot of stress, emotions and strength. I’m aware of every single thing.

    Despite knowing how things are going to be 5 years down the lane (the influx of doctors), I’m still standing strong with my decision to do medicine. I know that by me going in the right way ( not going through agents and under tables, which I’ll never do ) I will succeed, no matter how much of hardship i will have to endure.

    A word of advise from you would be very encouraging indeed. Do you think I should go for my dreams?

    • Dear Sanjana.. if you are really interested in medicine and you are sure this is the life that you are looking for.. willing to work in long hours, and financial support is not an issue.. then just go ahead with your dreams.. wishing you all the best.. 🙂

    • You seem like a person who wants to do medicine for passion and not for glamour or money. If you are really into it and can put up with all the frustration along the way, then by all means go ahead. About doing charity work and setting up foundation, you need to be a millionaire to do that. Unless your family leaves you a fortune, your income in government service will just be enough for you to survive. Also, remember that you want to get married and have children. It is easy for you to say this now because you are still being supported by your family members. Being a government servant itself is actually doing charity. Furthermore, you can take part in some charity work during disasters in other countries. MERCY malaysia does this on and off. If helping people by doing charity is your aim, then you don’t need to be a doctor. You can do so many other things and become a millionaire at young age and then do all sort of charity work!

    • Dear sarjana….go ahead with your dream…..i m just like you …we have the same inspiration to become a doctor….NOT because of money o status….just
      we love life of doctor….ya,u r correct just a word of thank you from patient will
      always keeps us going on…just fight for your dream

  4. Hi doctor,

    I’m currently a 2nd year med student in imu. and I’m already changing my mind to switch my course to dentistry. but I do want to clarify some things before I make the drastic move.

    do you think I need to specialise to become a GP? how many years?
    what can I do after I finish 5 years of medical course, 2 years of housemanship and 2 years of compulsory service? a full time doctor around the house? with no family or personal life?
    if I finished my medical course in overseas, like uni of adelaide, do you think there’s some sort of priviledge that I can have as a doctor who graduated from overseas as compared to local graduates? will I be able to start a private practise as a GP then? or do I have to specialise to do so? and do you think it’s easy to do housemanship in aus and work there?

    thank you so much for whatever you do here. It really opens up my mind. and finally I can use your article to convince my parents that medical degree isnt the best. do you think doing dentistry is good for me? 🙂

    • I think you should read all my postings under for future doctors series. At the moment, you don’t need to specialise to become a GP. You just need to finish 2 years HO and 2 years MO before resigning and opening a clinic. However, in the future GP will become a specialization by itself. Whether you graduate from oversaeas or local university, there is no speciali previlage in getting a training post. You can’t become a GP after graduation!!

  5. on September 22, 2011 at 12:09 PM | Reply Dr Niketu Parsania

    may i know which exam is require for new doctor(foreigner), who comes in Malaysia and who want to-do practice in malaysia.

  6. Hi Doctor,
    I’m currently in my 1st year doing medic in um and have been offered the JPA scholarship. The scholarship value for 5 yrs is about rm60k, bond is 10 yrs, and the contract claim is rm250k.
    In view of the glut situation in the coming years, do you think it is advisable for me to take up the scholarship? In your opinion, would it be likely that the government will give priority to JPA scholar to work in public hospital, or to get a seat to do postgraduate?
    Would you please share your foresight about the situation for fresh doctors come 2018-2020

    Thank you very much for you advice.

    • Taking JPA scholarship is definitely better for future job prospect as you are bonded for 10 years. Gov have to give you a job. However, that does not guarantee a postgraduate post as it has got nothing to do with undergraduate scholarship.

      BTW, if you are planning for specialization , then 10 years is nothing. BUT you must also remember that if you do Masters in the future, there will be additional bond of 7 years, on top of your 10 years. If you do subspeciality then another 3 years will be added.

  7. Hi doctor,
    I’m 5th year medical student in Egypt..This is my first time following your blog, and seriously right now I’m kind if loss actually.. When you were talking about some HO doesn’t know how to take history, blank about some meds terms. I think it’s me. I’m 5th year, and currently I’m on my way to take my final exam. and if you ask me to take a history of a patient, I only remember the terms, personal, complaint, present, pass, family history. but I don;t really know where it takes me, which part should I ask to lead me to my provisional diagnosis.and when I read some online meds articles, there are a lot of meds terms I have to search the meaning.I’m this far, 5 years. I don’t know, there’s a lot I wanted to ask you.I hope there is some way for me to ask you personally.

    • Tetvcop, are you serious? If yes, I m very worried how did you manage to go through to year 5? Again I should not be surprised, maybe!
      Are you on govt scholarship? If yes, u have let the tax payees down, only 1 million supporting 22 million population. I think you need to ask yourself are you determine to be doctor, if yes you need to buck up now and fast.
      If not, please reflect on whether you want to venture into something else.

      • Yes, I think it is. But now just realized that it’s just me and my low self esteem. I know I’m better than I think I am.Frankly, I’m really into this medicine field. But too much HO stories, sometimes let us down. Don’t worry, I’ll never let those tax payees down.These articles actually opened my eyes, telling me to do better than ever. It shows me that life as a doctor is not as grandiose as others heard. Harder, than I’ll strive harder, and be among those limited. May God will.

      • I think it is great that tevtcop has insight into her own capabilities. And that is why she is one of the few who will greatly improve, throughout her final year, and throughout housemanship.

        There are many other future HO who : 1) Are not competent, and 2) Do not know that they are not competent.

        I think the most important skill one have to have is lifelong self directed learning.

  8. btw, sorry for the typing error..

  9. Hi doctor, my daughter is currently studying Asasi in UM, She’s still uncertain what to take for her degree next year. She’s under JPA sch.for Pelajar Dalam Negara…doesn’t know much about the best latest courses offered in medic field or do u think dentistry and pharmacy is better compared to medic?

    • At the moment dentistry seem to be a better option but I was also told that it will also get saturated soon. But UM dentistry faculty is among the best in the country.

    • Hei, have you considered doing NURSING?? Yes laaaaa………… nursing. There is currently and will definitely continue to be a chocking shortage of nurses WORLDWIDE; especially if you speak English. If you add chinese to your language skills [mandarin and cantonese], there are and will be plenty of nursing jobs in asia eg HK, and the western world, including USA and UK. Remember that nursing today is quite unlike nursing in the old days. It is still a very people-oriented and hands-on profession, but there is certainly more respect for nursing today. But the main point here is job security. BTW, nursing today is really serious stuff. There is the skill side: patient interaction, procedures, etc and the theory side: university level education and training. After obtaining your basic nursing degree/qualification, get a couple of years of good all-round experience in general nursing and then specialise- I suggest doing midwifery and working in the operating theatres. A good skillful competent nurse well versed in several languages is definitely worth her weight in GOLD. Think about it!
      BL Tay

    • If uncertain, please dont let your daughter do medicine or dentistry. Do something else easier with good prospect. Being a PTD after doing any degree (human resource related) is a good choice.

  10. Doctor, thank you for yr reply.. Could u suggest the best place to study medic both local and overseas after completed Asasi? I heard about studying medic in UPNM..any comment? thanks for yr time

    • UPNM is new and has not poduced any graduates yet, so can”t comment. If I am not mistaken, you can”t do medicine overseas with Asasi as it is not recognised overseas xcept probably Egypt! Pls think twice before doing medicine! Locally, UM/UKM/USM are still the better ones but the quality is detriorating as well.

  11. doctor, i think life as a pharmacist is less frustrating compared to a doctor especially for a woman.. though pharmacists are not that highly “respected” as doctors in Msian community. I read about pharmacy course; BPharm and MPharm in IMU.. any comments? Tq

  12. Dear Doctor Pagalavan Letchumanan,
    As medical licensing examinations are very costly, i am currently left with one choice,either USMLE or MRCP.I would like to know which will you suggest from your perspective.Thank you for often keeping us well informed about the current problems in the medical field in our motherland, we truly appreciate it.

    • It depends on where you want to work! If you are planning to come back home, then MRCP will be better. If planning to go to US, take USMLE but no guarantee you will get a job!

      • Thank you very much , Doctor Pagalavan!

      • But MRCP is just an entry exam, only recognized in Malaysia as an exit qualification.

        But if you manage to get a training spot in US after the USMLE, you will have a exit qualification (American Board of Internal Medicine) that is recognized in most countries.

      • Yes, that’s why you need to decide where you are going to go before deciding what to do. Even in Malaysia, you still need to complete 18 months of post MRCP gazettement before being able to function as General physician and another 3 years formal training for subspeciality.

  13. the latest news about pharmacists… how very true. i think that’s why many good students who applied for pharmacy were turned down by JPA (SPM 2010).. so what’s the best field for me to do my first degree next year after completing my life science? i surely appreciate yr advice. Thank you doctor.

  14. Hello Dr Sim and Dr Pagalavan,
    Thank you very much with the informative advice.I have decided to take USMLE,hope i will make it. I love both of your blogs. Please keep up the good work. May God bless both of you with goodness, joy and laughter! take care.

  15. Dear Doctor,

    Once again, thank you so much for keeping us informed! I’m sure your posts are helping many who are searching for answers.

    Doctor, as I currently understand it, (being a 3rd year student in a UK university), we, namely the Malaysians and even some of the Singaporeans are beginning to realize that the UK will essentially stop us at FY2 as a senior HO, because they’re more likely to give postgraduate training spots to UK/EU applicants, making postgrad training options for us near impossible.

    What is your recommendation? Seeing as the only other options I can concievably think of are 1) returning home – with the potential glut of new doctors, 2) trying for USMLE, and even then with no guarantee, or 3) considering the new singapore residency system, which is relatively new?

    What’s a medical student to do?

    • You just have to accept the fact that medicine is not as smooth as you thought. It is going to be very tough soon but being a UK graduate will give you an added benefit in terms of recognition elsewhere. You just have to find your own way out. There is also no guarantee that singapore will take you in. Furthermore, not sure whether the training in singapore under the new residency system will be recognised in Malaysia.

  16. I’d never thought of becoming a GP
    I’d never wanted to take medicine.
    but somehow in these years, I realize i’m interested in psychiatry, not for the social status and financial stability as what are the misconception of people, like mentioned in your blog. Nor I have the passion to help people like angel.
    I think I am highly intrigued by how people think, and “abnormal” behaviors exhibited by “abnormal” people just because they are out of norm.
    I like to deal with them, treating one like a mystery or a problem to solve, or a challenge to overcome, then get into their minds, and alter their life, in a way, helping them.
    yes, I have done research on psychiatry through internet and books published by psychiatrists themselves.

    But then again, I have to go through housemanship etc right?

    What is your comment, doctor?

  17. Dear Doctor Pagalavan,

    Doctor thank you so much for giving us lots of information.

    Doctor, i am fresh medical graduates from Hasanuddin University, Indonesia and currently waiting for my induction. I’m planing to take full time specialization and I’m interested in Orthopedic or any Traumatology in any overseas country such as Canada, Holland or New Zealand and settle down there. Can doctor please guide me what should i do? Should i just continue with HO or further my studies?

    What is your recommendation?

    • I think you should read all my postings. You can’t do direct specialisation after graduating as a doctor. Doing housemenship is compulsory to get full registration, after which you need certain number of years of service before even applying for postgraduate studies. Whether you get a post or not depends of the number of postgraduate training post available every year.

      In order for you to work in the countries mentioned above, your undergraduate degree need to be recognised by their medical council. As far as I know, your undergraduate degree is most likely NOT recognised in these countries. THus, you would not be able to do any training in these countries unless you sit and pass their respective entrance exams.

      I have a feeling that you got no clue of what medical training is all about. Pls spend some time reading throu this blog. That was the purpose of me starting this blog

  18. hello doctor,
    i am about to complete my a levels soon. i need some advice. my parents want me to take up medicine to add up the number of doctors in my family, but to be honest i do not have any interest or passion to be a doctor at all, although i like to be in the medical field. the main reason is because the working environment does not suit me very well. i just would like to know other courses parallel to the medical line other than MBBS OR MD.

  19. hello dr,
    may I noe M.MED stands for? and it is good to study housemen here then go overseas to study?

    • M.Med stands for Masters in Medicine. It is up to you where you want to do housemanship and where you want to further your training.

    • First check if your basic medical degree allows you to “go overseas to study”. If not, then you may have to sit entrance exams. If you pass those, then you have to compete for jobs. If you get a job, you will most probably start again from the bottom (though this can vary). Once you’ve worked in the system for a while, then you can apply for training posts for your postgraduate study.

  20. on January 7, 2012 at 10:36 AM | Reply Captain debridement

    Hi Dr,
    Love your blog very much. Im currently an aviation medical officer based in Institute of AeroMedicine (Royal Malaysian Air Force). Im still quite new in this medical world (USM grad in 2007). I have a huge passion for orthopaedics. even when i was posted at rural area (3 years in mentakab) I’ve dedicated most of my free time reading orthopaedic journals and basic sciences (mentakab is a dead town anyway). Im going to submit my application to MINDEF to pursuit in Master in Orthopaedics.. and eventually I was told that they will not be sending anymore candidates for the programme as they got enough Ortho surgeon. Recently I came across MRCS and FRCS (Tr & Orth). The questions are
    1) For one to go for FRCS, one must be a recognized Ortho surgeon first? Can I just straight away go for FRCS course (with my MD only)?
    2) Where can i apply for FRCS and how long is the course? ( it is a ‘course’… right?)
    Thank you

    • The only way for you to become an Ortho surgeon in Malaysia is via the Master’s programme. MRCS is not a specialist degree. It is an entrance exam to speciality training. FRCS is no more available in Malaysia except FRCS(opthal). Thus, you will not be able to do FRCS training in Malaysia. There is no recognised training centre in Malaysia. However, you can use your MRCS to go to Singapore for training. In UK after you complete your speciality training (CST) and upon passing the exit exam, you will be given FRCS.

      • on February 26, 2012 at 3:34 AM Captain debridement

        thank u for the info. i think i’ll send my application no matter what. I still have 6 years to go under contract.. anything can happen in 6 years right? maybe suddenly all the ortho surgeon decided to retired from gov..haha.. in a mean time i’ll just do ortho attachment with the army hosp hoping 1 day my DG decided to open up for ortho master. i believe in ‘doing what u love, and love what u do’. thanks a lot sir! 🙂

  21. on January 7, 2012 at 1:08 PM | Reply Non-JPA Student

    Dear Dr.Paga,

    From your previous post (and of those from Nav, Huskies, Jon J), it’s stated very clearly that the future of Malaysia Healthcare system seems not to be very bright and jobless doctors may start appearing by 2015. Also, the same thing is going to happen in UK as well as the Australasia and that’s why they start closing their door towards IMG. And so, some medical students or even parents invest their hope on our neighbour country, Singapore, hoping to get an intern job there. However, is that possible that one day, Singapore will stop accepting IMG, even though the medical degree is recognised by SMC?

    Considering the establishment of new medical unis (Duke-NUS and Imperial-NTU) and the limited training hospitals in Spore, sir, do you think Spore is still worth going to? I am asking this because I’m going to start my medical degree in Birmingham this Sept and definitely not planning to come back to Malaysia unless the entire system turn better (it’s very unlikely though). I hope the RM700,000 invested on me will not be wasted. Need someone to clarify the situation in Spore, UK and Aus as well as the career prospect in these countries in the future. Thank you.

    • You’re probably right about the situation in Singapore – they will eventually cease to rely on IMGs (could take place by the time you graduate)

      Can’t really comment about the situation in the UK, but I’m fairly certain opportunities will be very limited for IMGs in Australia by the time you graduate. Have a read through this document by the South Australian Institute of Medical Education and Training (or at the very least 11-15 of the review)

      Click to access review_of_internship_in_SA_v4.pdf

      “The data demonstrate RAH and FMC interns, who presumably selected these hospitals on the basis of their excellent reputation, are more likely to be permanent residents. It follows that the permanent resident group is less likely to experience a broad range of trainee experiences available at other sites, whilst trainees at other sites will not benefit from the high level experiences to be had at RAH and FMC. Similar conclusions are likely
      to be able to be drawn for a range of other demographic measures.”

      Make of this what you will…

    • Australia will be closing their doors as they will be producing enough soon. UK gives preference to UK and EU citizens. Many who stayed back to do internship are beginning to come home as they are not getting any training post in UK. Since you are going to UK for education, you still have a better chance to get a job over there. The way I see it, Singapore may not need anymore foreign doctors in 5-10years times. Many Malaysians who are working there now usually do not come back. Their new medical schools will be producing enough medical graduates for a state of only 5-8 million people ( including expats).

      Personally, as I had written before, doing medicine with such a huge investment is a waste. You will never get it back!Remember, your investment never ends there, you will also need money for your postgraduate education etc etc. You must tell your parents that they will never get the return of investment. The only satisfaction will be making you a doctor!

  22. hello dr.

    thanks for all the informative articles.
    i’m among the spm leavers waitin’ for the spm result to be announced probably in this march.and if based on my trial i think i can get straight A in the exams.

    actually i’m really interested with medical field as i love biology so much but i found that this field is quite complicated with its issues n problems. my question is do u think it is still relevant for me to be a future doc?

    • Biology and medicine are very different in practice. Your question is very difficult to answer. The country will always need doctors but it is very likely that there will be an oversupply, which will result in some very disappointed, angry and frustrated graduates and parents. If you are going to do medicine, try and get a UK/Aus/NZ degree so that your options are kept open.

    • Loving biology and loving medicine is 2 different thing evnthough biology is part of medicine. Whether you want to become a doctor or not, depends on you. You can make your own decision after reading all my entries under “for future doctors” page

  23. Hi Dr.

    Your blog is full of informative articles. Thank you for posting them.
    I have been told that the IMU local degree for medicine is only recognised in Malaysia and Sri Lanka. If that is the case, will I be able to do any specialist training overseas? Let’s say for example after obtaining the MBBS from IMU, I would like to go to UK for the specialist training. Is it possible? Since the IMU degree is not recognised there.

    Thank you very much =)

    • Nope, it is not possible unless you sit and pass the PLAB exam in UK.

    • And even if you pass the PLAB, there is no guarantee of a job in the UK. If you are lucky and you do get a job, it will be an unpopular post in an unpopular part of the country. Then, once you’ve started work there, you have to compete for a training post (this is even harder than getting a job) – and the popular specialties will probably be out of your reach. Don’t let that stop you from trying – just don’t expect to get everything you want.

  24. Dear Dr,

    After completing the full local MBBS at IMU, can one undergo the Master’s training at UM?

  25. Dr., I find your blog very much informative and truly enlightening. I am currently doing my 1st year in AIMST. I am interested to become an army doctor after finishing my houseman ship. Could you give some info regarding this matter i.e. how to apply, requirements etc.. and whether joining the Malaysian Air force or Navy has better career prospects than joining the regular army.

    Thank you.

    • After your housemanship, you need to apply directly to the Ministry of Defense. Whether they wil take you or not, depends on the vacancy. The prospect in terms of salary and benefit is better. They also sponsor their doctors for Master’s programme depending on their need. For example, I heard they don’t need any more Ortho surgeon and thus not sending anyone to Ortho Master’s anymore.

  26. Hi Doctor,

    First of all, I really have to commend your efforts in maintaining this blog, as it is full of practical information for future and current young medical practitioners, such as myself.

    I have a few queries of my own as well; I graduated with an MBBS from International Medical University (IMU) and completed my housemanship about six months ago. I am now keen to pursue further studies.

    I enjoy seeing patients in a clinic setting, and feel that primary prevention in our country still lags, and so I am keen to go into family medicine. I have been told that entry into the Masters program may take several years due to a large number of applicants, and that the failure rate is also one of the highest. I was wondering if you know of any other route to pursue family medicine, such as external papers etc, which is recognized in Malaysia. I am also wondering if you might know how the 1Care system will affect family medicine practitioners, and how a family medicine practitioner would differ from a regular GP without any postgraduate qualification.

    I have also given some thought to going into non-clinical medicine. There are some universities overseas which offer postgraduate courses such as Masters of Public Health and Masters in Health Administration and so on, which can be completed via distance learning on a part-time basis. I would like to know your thoughts on these programs.

    I look forward to reading your reply. Any advice is appreciated.

    • For family medicine, MOH do recognise FRACGP which can be done locally via the Academy of Family Physician. Pls visit their website. At the moment there is no mention of the role of FMS in 1Care system. The only difference could be your consultation fee.

      Pls check whether these Master’s programme are recognised in this country. You can check at http://www.nsr.gov.my

  27. on March 2, 2012 at 4:17 AM | Reply Nantha Kumar

    I am Nantha Kumar, 2nd year mbbs Malaysian student studying in India. I am confused regarding the PG course. I am interested to know about cardiology and cardio-thoracic surgeon. Doctor, can you help explain to me how to proceed from mbbs to those stage. How much would be the cost to do it in Malaysia for those PG course?
    Thank you.

  28. Dear dr,
    I have been reading your blogs recently and the comments that people posted. Well I am doing my a-levels now and decidingmon my degree course. I kind of thinking on the line on medicine and planning to further my studies in the uk. I also thought of doing dentistry. So dr, what do u think of dentistry? Which universities do u recommend?
    Thank you.

    • If you are planning to go to UK, any university should be OK as long as it is recognised internationally. I can’t say much about dentistry but it is definately less stressfull and better life.

  29. on March 8, 2012 at 8:12 AM | Reply money is not everything

    I am now currently waiting for my SPM result, and I have been thinking about becoming a doctor. But unfortunately, I was attracted to this profession is just because of the money. I know it sounds ridiculous, but after all, to me, all those ‘passion for job’ sayings is just utter rubbish, as one day when we have a family to support, money is all that matters. I rather think it practically as a vocation that will bring financial security to my love one. Of course, don’t get me wrong. I admit that I love money, but not till the extent of deceiving my patients and conduct unnecessary operation to get rich, as written in one of your article. I still do concern about their welfare although I am not that guy who will sacrifice my life as a doctor to help those underprivileged in the backwater of African nations as claimed by one of my passionate friend who are determine to become a doctor. But now with the ‘glamour of the doctor’ era long gone, I will definitely reconsider my option. ^^

    Just put aside what I had wrote for the time being. I was introduced to a Philippines medical school by a placement agent when I went to an edu fair. As expected, the medical school that was introduced was so good as claimed by them. With cheap tuition fees without compromising the quality of teaching, is just too good to be true. The medical school is said to be recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO), American Medical Council (AMC), Malaysia Medical Council (MMC) and JPA. I just want to ask where can I find the lists of medical schools that are recognised by WHO, AMC, MMC and JPA respectively? I think it is better for me to check up myself rather than trusting the agent completely. I have been searching for those lists high and low in the internet but my effort is still in vain. I will appreciate if you can give me some links regarding the recognition list. I would also like to have your advice about having a medical degree in a third-world nation, is it better because of the reality that we can actually have more clinical experience on real patients? I heard that America is still taking quite a number of foreign doctors, and the passing rate of USMLE is about 40% chance to get into America to work as a doctor. Is it true and is it a wise option if I pursue a degree that is recognised by AMC?

    • The WHO list has been replaced by the Avicenna directory, which can be found here: http://avicenna.ku.dk/
      It is not a big deal to be on the Avicenna directory. Any medical school can apply to be on it.

      There is no such thing as the ‘American Medical Council’. Each state in the US has different licensing requirements and medical school recognition might also be different. All will ask you to sit the USMLE though.

      The most up to date version of the medical schools recognised by MMC is here: http://mmc.gov.my/v1/docs/Jadual%20Kedua%2011-12-09.pdf
      I can tell you now that no Philippines medical school is recognised.

      JPA has no list of recognised medical schools as far as I’m aware – recognition is given by MMC.

      If you want money go into business and management.

      • on March 8, 2012 at 9:10 AM money is not everything

        thx dude, for the enlightenment. Really cant trust those agents. What about your perception on studying in a third world nation will give you a better clinical experience?

      • What is important is the quality of medical schools. It does not matter which country. Of course, developing countries may have better case mix and more hand’s on training but that do not make you a better doctor if the teaching is crap.

    • If you are in for the money, than find another job. There is no money in medicine anymore as I have written before in numerous articles. Don’t waste your time and money doing medicine.

      As for philipines, you can see the link given by Nav, no universities from philipines is recognised in Malaysia. And there is also no such thing as American Medical Council recognised degree!! Everyone who wants to work in US including their own graduates need to sit and pass the USMLE exams. The agents just wants to cheat as many people and get your money. It is very rampant here and MOHE is not doing anything about it. The victims are mainly from middle income family and who got no idea about medical education.

  30. Studying in a 3rd world country may give you better clinical experience but the actual teaching might not be too great (i.e. not up-to-date or not teaching best practice). If you want good clinical experience, study in a good medical school then go work in a place where you can gain the clinical experience you seek.

    There is no limit to this ‘good clinical experience’ conundrum. Malaysia may offer better clinical experience than the US. But India offers better clinical experience than Malaysia. And Africa offers better clinical experience than India. Just go to a good medical school.

    My general rule is: If the entry requirements are crap, chances are it’s a crap medical school.

  31. Hi, I am thinking of pursuing medicine. Would it be more advisable to pursue medicine in Aimst university or MMMC (melaka-manipal medical college). Your honest opinion is appreciated Dr. Pagalavan

  32. hi doctor,
    i am going to finish my a level in june and want to further my study in medicine at either melaka manipal or imu (overseas). which one of this do u think is better? and i heard there are many issues regarding the quality of melaka manipal grad..is it true?

  33. on March 26, 2012 at 4:08 AM | Reply Ilyani Rahim

    Dear Dr,

    I’m spm leavers(spm 2011) and looking forward to persue my study in medicine. My spm result is qualify for me to take medicine.I want to study abroad after doing IB so which country do you suggest? i’m thinking to go to ireland but some people said that the system the are more on theory..and can’t even touch a dead body..is this true?

    But for this year, the chance to study abroad is so small, so as backup plan, i want to study in malaysia. What is the best for me? Do foundation in science at private college(as some college offer scholarship)? Or study in matriculation? or Asasi in local universities(UPU)?

    • The competition to get into well recognized medical schools is a bit tough, but manageable.

      Aim to get at least 40pts for IB with straight 7’s for the three higher level science subjects. 37 is probably the minimum, even for less known colleges in Ireland.

      In all developed countries there are shortages of cadavers.

      Some say it is essential in learning anatomy. Some say you only really learn on the job (during your surg postings). In the end it doesnt really matter as surgery is a specialty and you’ll only REALLY get experience in theatre on live patients. Cutting cadavers and cutting live flesh is like comparing cutting beef jerky and a tender sirloin steak,

      As previously mentioned,

  34. on March 26, 2012 at 10:44 AM | Reply Dr.Mervin Leo

    hi dr,
    This is Dr Mervin from India and i am planning to do my post graduation in m.d(community medicine) called as PSM (preventive and social medicine) in india,i am planning to get settled in Malaysia after my p.g course ,what should i do to work and practice in Malaysia,and kindly help me with the details of my work in Malaysia as a community medicine doctor and how to get myself registered in MMC and what will be my pay scale in Malaysia , kindly help me with these details sir

  35. on March 26, 2012 at 11:57 AM | Reply Dr.Mervin Leo

    i am an Indian and my ug degree is recognsied in Malaysia,and my ug is from vinayaka missions and my pg degree will be from pondicherry university

  36. on March 26, 2012 at 4:30 PM | Reply Dr.Mervin Leo

    Thanks for the reply sir,how do i approach the universities, is my pg useful in malaysia

  37. on March 27, 2012 at 1:40 PM | Reply Dr.Mervin Leo

    thank you sir

  38. dr do u have any comments regarding quality of Melaka manipal? hope u will help me in this…if there is a lot of negative comments, i will choose to go to IMU instead

    • This email which I received 2 weeks ago is self explanatory:

      hello doctor.. my name is xxx and i am currently going to begin my 2nd year in melaka manipal medical college.. i need to seek some information from u… i am really interested in becoming a doctor. it has been my childhood dream to walk around with a stethoscope around my neck..but im now not really confident or happy with this medical school .. as time passes by, i begin to realise that quality of the medical education here is getting from bad to worse,… im very afraid that it might leave an impact on my future as a doctor.i thought of quitting manipal to get into another medical school.. i am quite interested with duke nus medical school.. but in order to get there, i must do an undergraduate degree..and im not so sure of the chances of getting into that school once im done with a degree or so…. doctor, please do advice me on what to do as im vey confused,….thank u very much..

      IMU twinning programme will be a better option.

  39. i want to be a doctor and thinking to specialize in psychiatry…what is the current situation about this sector in malaysia? Does it needed in malaysia? and how about the career?

    • Psychiatry is still in demand in Malaysia. However, the only way is via Master’s programme. So, after med school, 2 years housemanship and 3 years MO, you need to apply for Master’s programme of 4 years.

      • but i also thinking about being a cardiologist because i heard that it is in high demand in malaysia. Is it true about the high demand? I am currently applying for mara loan so i’m afraid that i will be ask at the interview. I doesn’t really decide what will i specialize as i’m thingking to explore it once I am in medical school? if i being ask by the interviewer about which sector i want to specialize, what should i answer?

      • Decide after you start working! Things changes.

  40. Hello doctor Pagalavan,

    I am a SPM leaver & I am right now facing some conflicts in my mind because I’m not really sure whether should I be a doctor ( neurosurgeon to be exact) or a petroleum engineer. I’ve never been this puzzled before in my life as it so hard for me to decide . so now it all comes to working hours and my convenience because I’ll probably be doing this for the rest of my life

    From what I read in your previous post , I’ve concluded that being a doctor actually means a lot of sacrifices especially in term of sleeping hours and family time. so I’m basically here to ask you some question & some of your time

    here we go:
    1) how many hours do you work for a day on average ?
    2) Do you really have family time ? I mean how do you even have time to have to do this blog ?
    3) Can you tell me the pathway to become a neurosurgeon in Malaysia & how many years does it take to be one ?
    4) this question might hurt your feelings but do forgive me alright. Many people say that doctor especially specialist earn tonnes of money but they don’t actually have a life to live upon because they even work of weekends & they have “on call” system so is the statement correct ?
    5)If you are in my shoes, which is a better option is it a neurosurgeon or a petroleum engineer ?
    6) I’m planning to do Asasi sains Hayat in UM so is it good option ?

    Please answer all my question & do forgive me if any of the statement above hurt your feelings .

    • Being a good doctor means you need to sacrifice a lot.

      1) I wake up at 6.30am, reach my hospital by 8am, start my rounds in the ward, come down to start my clinic by 9.30am. I will run my clinic till 5pm and then go back to the wards to do my evening rounds. Usually I leave the hospital around 6pm. After that I standby for any emergency or admission. I work 24hrs a day 7 days a week. If there are any ill patients in the ward, I will come again at night to do rounds. same for any ill admission.

      2) You find time for everything. Yes, I can’t go far with my family if I want to go out for dinner or watch a movie as my phone can ring anytime !! Most of my blog entry are around 11pm at night! Some I reply via my phone ( blackberry). Of course sometimes when I am really busy, I am hardly at home. If I go on leave, I have to find a cover to run my clinic.

      3) 2 years HO, 3 years MO and then try to apply for Master’s in Neurosurgery by USM. However, it has very limited post , usually less then 10 per year. The other option is to complete Master’s in Surgery and then do 3 years subspeciality in neurosurgery.

      4) Specialist earning tonnes of money is a story of the past! Nowadays due to stiff competition, the income earned by specialist is dropping gradually, some even earning less then RM 10K/month. Yes, many consultants who earn a lot hardly spend any time with their family! All private consultants work 7 days a week! Your patient is your responsibility.

      5) Petroleum engineer. Do you know what a neurosurgeon do everyday? Don’t get carried away with TV programmes. Walk into any neurosurgical ward and you will know what I am talking about. 90% of the time, a neurosurgeon can’t do much for a patient. 90% of the time, you will be dealing with head injury due to accidents.

      6) OK

      • Thanks a lot for sparing a moment & answering all those questions as I really appreciate it . BTW keep updating this blog as it really helps many teens like me

      • Mind i ask this question dr paga.From the answer in question 2
        thats means usually is your wife that will take care of your children(including cooking for them, help them with their school work right?)

      • My wife is also working at KK. My children are independent as I make them to be. They can do their own school work unless they don’t know. I have a maid who cooks for them. My wife cooks occasionally but usually over the weekend.

  41. hi doctor, i realy need your help. i already send an email to u? have you receive it?

  42. on April 21, 2012 at 3:10 PM | Reply Angie Lawrence

    Hey..I am going to a medical school in Poland.Do you think it is a good place to study medicine. I enrolling to Warsaw University.

  43. doc. I am a SPM leaver and I get straight As…. I am planning to study medicine but your blog scares me…. I only have limited budget and I have no money to study overseas…. so I can only get a degree that is only recognise in Malaysia… does that means that I have the smaller chance than others? since you said it will be difficult for future medicine graduates to find a job….

    • No job is guaranteed for any profession. So, if you are doing medicine just for a guaranteed job then I think your intention is wrong. Do medicine if you really have interest in it and not for job security or money. Whether you will get a job or not , really depends on your luck.

      • hmmm….. sorry. seems like my sentence has mislead you… I am definitely interested in medicine… because my family is having financial problem. so i want to know that is the priority is given to overseas graduates…. I am quite worry so I want to know more about it

      • Priority will be given to government sponsored students and local public uni students.

  44. I would like to seek for your advice in my studies route… Since i am not chosen for the matriculation, I can only go for STPM or foundation. If I take STPM, I will graduate in 2019 and 1 year earlier if I take foundation. I intend to do STPM since it is free, but I worried that the “1 year” will have a lot of changes and the surplus of doctor deteriorates. I am determined to take medicine and it is my dream since I am a children. If you are in my shoe, which will you do? Really appreciate your advice…..

  45. on April 25, 2012 at 7:06 AM | Reply Gina Binti Onn

    I would like to ask your opinion about Medical course offered by Taylor University Lakeside? Thank You.

  46. on April 26, 2012 at 7:50 AM | Reply Gina Binti Onn

    Thank You Dr.

  47. Hi Dr Pagalavan. My brother who works in a Pathology lab told me a few months ago that the monthly specialist meetings held in govt hospitals actually discuss on the ways of pressuring HOs harder and rougher. With your experience as a consultant….. is this true?

  48. Hi Dr Pagavalan. I am a SPM leaver who will be sitting for mara interview this friday. The interview is for medicine course in Ireland.I heard that Ireland universities are now good enough and recognised here but is that true?

  49. Hi Dr Pagalavan. I am a SPM leaver who will be sitting for mara interview this friday. The interview is for medicine course in Ireland.I heard that Ireland universities are now good enough and recognised here but is that true?
    *sorry for mispelling before

  50. on May 13, 2012 at 7:49 PM | Reply Dr Mervin leo

    Greetings sir,
    i have finished my mbbs in india,a non malaysian, i am undergoing pg in md (community medicine) in india itself, as well as taking up my “Mrcp” ,what will be my job opportunities as a physician in a private hospital in malaysia for “Mrcp” & what pay scale can i expect?
    Dr.Mervin Leo

    • At this moment, foreigners are NOt allowed to work in private sector. Private hospitals DO NOT pay you a salary in Malaysia. You are considered self employed and your income is your consultantion fee. Pls read my post on ” Malaysian Healthcare system for the dummies”

  51. Hi Dr Paga. do you think Bio Informatic is a good choice for me… I just completed my asasi in UM and i do not wish to choose medic or dentistry after reading yr blog..or you have any other advice for life science foundation student to pursue their study in the science field? I respect yr advice, tq

    • Bioinformatics is something new. It is basically IT in biology. Main place of work is in research field. Biotechnology is still a developing field in Malaysia, Thus I am not in a position to say what will happen in the future. If you do get a well recognised degree then you may be able to get a job in a good pharma company.

      What about geology or marine science?

  52. Dear Dr,
    I only wished I have found you blog sooner. But after going through your blog, i managed to make a life-changing decision. I have quit studying medicine after 2 years. I have wasted a lot of money and also crushed my father’s dream, but i think i have managed to get the chance to finally choose for myself another career where I would be still able to be in touch with my personal life,family and friends. I was very indecisive after my A-levels and due to a lot of persuasion from my father who perceives the medical profession as ‘godly’ and money-making,i gave a nod and got into one of the local private unis. My results were not as satisfactory as in school anymore and that disappointed me. I hardly go out with my friends anymore to try to work harder. The more effort i put in, the more i realize how much medicine did not suit me although much of the studying was interesting. I got very depressed and faced a mental breakdown. Now i have come to my senses and acceptance that I do not want this anymore. I am quite clear after reading your blog that this is definitely not what i want. I know for sure i do not want to be a lousy doctor and put others lives at risk. If only I had this much exposure before, I would have never entered medical school in the first place. I hope your blog will be able to reach young and indecisive minds who are thinking of taking up medicine so that they can decide their future better.
    Dr, I hope you can advise me on other courses that have a much better future in Malaysia. I am still unsure of what I want to do for a job. Except that i want a balanced lifestyle and that i can afford to live a comfortable life considering the rising living standards in this country. I was advised to take up nutrition but I am not so sure about how the job opportunities would be like. Thank you once again for enlightening me.

  53. Greetings Dr.. Don’t u think it’s quite funny for students completed PASUM foundation in life science UM without 4 flat; which means they can’t pursue medic and dentistry in UM and yet they can’t choose degree in arts? i think its better they choose matric instead of Asasi UM after SPM eventhough the PASUM said they were chosen coz they are cream of the cream..

  54. dear Dr…I have a son who just completed his foundation and going to enter degree course. I give him full support of his interest which is medic. He applied for Perdana and will be going for interview soon. I like him to enter IPTA (eg UM.. the top IPA in Msia recently?) but he said the IPTA in Msia is useless.He preferred Perdana coz it’s collaborate with John Hopkins. Is he on the right track? or you know any other better place for medic in Msia? Pls advice.. the chpice for UPU is only a few days away.

    • I think your son does not know what he is talking about. Perdana uni got 2 programmes. The one with John Hopkins “collaboration” is for people who have already got a basic degree. With foundation studies , he can enroll into the Perdana Uni-RCSI undergraduate programme. Whether it is so called “John Hopkins” or RCSI “collaboration, you are going to get a Perdana University degree with NO international recognition. Furthermore, these uni is still new unlike UM which has been here for almost 50 years with their own teaching hospital. All this John Hopkins thingy is a pure marketing stunt. They are just borrowing their curicullum and some lecturers, that’s it. The US curicullum is totally different and may not be suitable with our healthcare system.

  55. TQ for yr info, but unfortunately he didn’t obtain CGPA 4 flat and its impossible to enter UM even he had his foundation there, what’s yr advice?

  56. dear dr, if the future is there for these courses that you have suggested,i wouldn’t mind.i cannot afford to make another ‘expensive’ mistake that’s why.my elder sister completed her degree in dietetics in local uni but she failed to get a job so she is already on the way of completing her masters.
    could you pls tell me about these courses, pharmacy,nutrition, dietetics etc in more depth?i have A for biology & chemistry and a C in mathematics.what are the strengths that one needs to have to excel in these courses?please guide and thank you dr.

    • Dieticians got good prospect in the future but unfortunately, not many get employed as many hospitals (private/public) are not bothered about healthy diet. However, you can still get employed by pharma companies and even some hotels in singapore etc. Otherwise you can become a lecturer or open up a business.

      Pharmacy should be OK for you. Try to get into Masters in Pharma ( MPharm), I think IMU offers that

  57. I don’t have a degree yet.i just withdrew myself from MBBS. I couldn’t get into places like imu and UCSI because their requirements are B for all subjects but i have a C in my maths so they have rejected my application in UCSI before. 😦

  58. oh yes i just checked…i think i cannot afford to make it for that programme though… 😦 tq anyway doctor. i wonder if food science and nutrition at UCSI would be fine.its a 3 year degree and it around rm60k.

  59. Dear Dr, I applied for Perdana Univ but before I went for the interview I searched the place. The interim campus is at the Mardi building while the permanent will complete in 2014. Being a JPA holder I think they’ll sure except me (where money is concerned!) and with my matrix result I am qualified.. but after reading yr articles for future doctors I think I stick to my decision.. waiting for UPU dentistry in UM or UKM or even UiTm.. do you think I’m making a right decision especially for my future? I respect yr answer and thank you very much.

    • The decision is yours BUT don’t do medicine just because you have the grades to do it. Do it because you have the passion and real interest for it and NOt for money, glamour or guranteed job. If you ask me, try local public uni rather than Perdana. Perdana seem to be very desperate for students as they seem to have offered to everyone who applied. They need the money and the government is giving them all the money via JPA scholarship ( our tax payers money).

  60. Greeting Dr

    Thanks for such an informative and elaborative opinion regarding the current and future of Malaysia’s Medical Field. I am a 2nd Year Medical Student currently studying in Russia Federation. You wrote such a wonderful blog providing a very detail insight into the current dilemmas and future of our beloved country’s medical future. I had read all your blog these few days.

    I believe the mentality and mindset of parents who wish to be proud of their children and have a guaranteed high salary and good job of doctor’s profession should be corrected. There’s no more Good Life, Good Job, Good Money motto. There’s a clear distinction between the profession of a Businessman and a Doctor. Businessman steered by the sake of profit whereas Doctor steered by his passion and willing to help others. Like you mentioned earlier sir, one better open a restaurant or venture into business or more technical course like business, engineering and etc if one wish to have a good money. By the time the doctor start making money, those in business field already start making their first bucket of Gold, residing in the position of managerial position or directorial position.

    Doctor should have emulate the spirit of helping others especially those in need and not just for the sake of profit. But of course Doctor can never be a Holy Angel forever afterall, in the harsh cold reality, doctor will eventually need to settle down, married and make a living for his family. He will need strive to provide the best care and living standard to his parents, his wife, his children and the family. Who doesn’t want to earn the highest buck and provide the best atmosphere to his family?

    But nevertheless, Doctor should be guided by the Spirit of Humanity and Willingness to Learn and to Help others. Failure to study hard during the degree, failure to upgrade yourself, failure to equip yourself with the knowledge will not only endanger your future, but human’s lives will be in stake. Either the scalpel on your hand is to save a life and a hope or to kill one’s life and one’s hope is depend on the attitude of the one.

    Kudos and congrats for such a wonderful and insightful blog. Certainly enlighten me and make me to study harder and to become a better doctor in the future. Thanks doc.


  61. Dr, I had just completed my foundation studies in IPTA and I’m considering to pursue my undergraduate studies in medicine. However , due to the unpromising career in future makes me feel very down and in vague whether to undertake my dream of becoming a doc or not …To be frank, I myself confuse about the course I should take up…I’ve been trapped and thinking my goals in becoming a doctor is to to fulfill my parents wills / status / money or is this what I really want. Since I was born, the people around me had given me a huge influenced about the goodness of a doctor and I know that is what my parent wants me to do in the first place. As the only child, I am willing to do anything for my parent as long as it will make them happy till I myself don’t think much about myself…in fact, I’m ready to face the hurdles, challenges and a very long way in medical field..

    Since you are a doctor, I want to seek advice from you either to proceed with medical field or look for other courses ?
    I’m also interested in dietetic and how’s the future of a dietitian in Malaysia ?
    Will there be great unemployment among graduates in 5 years ahead since the position in hosp are limited ?
    In average, how many dietitian are there in a hosp ?
    Can I pursue postgraduate studies overseas if I graduated from public local uni and work abroad ?


    • Never do something just because your parents say so. You need to know what you want to do. It is your life!! I know many parents who plant the idea of being a doctor into their children when they are still small. That’s the reason many grow up not knowing any other profession.

      If you are really interested in doing medicine, then go ahead. Local universities are not recognised overseas and thus you will not be able to work overseas.

      Dieticians are needed in this country but many private hospitals are not interested.

  62. Dear Dr Pagal,

    Can you name some of the local private universities other than Monash Malaysia in order of your preference in terms of quality of the facilities, teaching staffs, and etc?
    Thanks in advance, Dr.

  63. Thanks Dr.

  64. One more thing, Dr. What is the main difference between Monash M’sia and Monash Aus. As far as I am informed, in the graduate certificate there will be no indication of the branch from which the certificate is issued, regressively suggesting the equalization of qualities of graduates from all, in this case, both branches. However, why does Singapore only recognize Monash Aus? And, does Monash’s position in world ranking reflect the standard, at the same time, apply to Monash M’sia?

    • No difference on paper but employers in Australia have a lower opinion of the clinical teaching in Monash Malaysia. I have heard this myself from those involved in hiring interns during a prevocational medical conference I attended last year.

      As far as Singapore goes, they want to be picky cos they can. I think they got burnt by PMC. Singapore recognized PMC for 1-2 years and then derecognised them. They must have been left with a bad impression of students who do their clinicals in Malaysia, but I am only guessing.

      Clinical teaching in Aus/NZ is very different compared to Malaysia. Students are frequently allocated to teams with lots of close teaching. You don’t see 20 students following a doctor around a ward, where some can barely see/hear what’s going on. Also, outspoken students with some initiative tend to be recognized (and learn more) and be rewarded, unlike in Asia.

    • Yes, it is the same degree but does not mean that it is of same quality. The clinical teaching environment is definately better in Australia then Malaysia. A final year student in Australia is allowed to clerk a patient in the case notes and present it to the specialist as though they are a junior housemen. However, it is not allowed in Malaysian government hospitals as MOnash is a private entity in Malaysia. So, final year students are just thought by the full time academics and just follow the government specialist like an attachment.

      Every medical council recognises not just the degree but the place where they undergo the training. MOnash Malaysia has been in existence for 7 years now. Their JB campus where 3 years of the programme are conducted only have less then 20 full time consultants. How well can they monitor the students and make sure the quality is good? When the number of students were only less then 50, they could but not now, when the number is about 120-150! Majority of the teachers are part time consultants.

      Saying that, there have been good students produced by Monash Malaysia compared to Australia mainly because they were good students to start with. Do you know that the entrance qualification of Monash Malaysia is lower then Australia?

    • The degree conferred may be the same, but what about your CV and cover letter? Remember, medical students apply for internships in their final year, not after graduation.

      Also, Monash students are currently placed last when it comes to internship priority groups – this shows that even Australian authorities distinguish Monash Sunway from Monash Clayton.


      With most onshore international students missing out on internships this year, it is almost impossible for Monash Sunway graduates to obtain an internship in Australia. (which makes the AMC accreditation of Monash Sunway kind of moot)

  65. I see, Drs. Then how about the ranking? Can we address Monash M’sia to as a university which ranks 33rd worldwide in clinical, pre-clinal and medical study as well?

  66. Dear sir,

    My friend is in two minds between UM/UKM as well as Monash Malaysia. What do you suggest if he got offers from both UM/UKM and Monash?

    • For your further information, my friend did local Matrikulasi and apply to both UPU and Monash Malaysia (surprisingly they accept local matriculation). If there comes the time where he has to decide where to study if he have made it through the application to both UM/UKM and Monash, which one should he take up?

  67. In what aspects is UKM/UM better than Monash Malaysia?

  68. Hi doctor. Thanks for writing such a lot of interesting articles.

    Fyi, I’m second year medical student in Uni College Cork, Ireland.

    Some of my seniors said it is better to do housemanship in ireland and some said housemanship in Malaysia is not good. It is true?

    I dont want to be far away from my family, so i decide to just do my housemanship in Malaysia.

    And i also interested to specialise in gastroenterology. What steps do i have to take to reach that level?

    Thanks in advance.

    • Do at least one year in Ireland for your internship to get general registration. You can come home after than if you wish. You can get most of the time counted for your Malaysian housemanship, depending on what rotations you do.

      If you don’t get your general/full registration with the Irish Medical Council then your degree is wasted in a way. You won’t have the option of working in other countries that recognise the degree if you don’t have general registration. And if you wish to work in Ireland in the future, they’ll make you start from internship.

    • If you are really interested to learn then Malaysia is a good place to do housemanship but with oversupply of housemen crowding the wards, direct supervision by seniors will be very much limited. Even if you do housemanship in Ireland, you still need to complete the remaining postings in Malaysia. As for gastroenterology, pls see my post on “step by step approach to subspeciality” as well as some other post above

  69. on June 25, 2012 at 7:13 PM | Reply chang aik ming

    Dear Dr,

    Since you have suggested to take UM/UKM rather than Monash Malaysia for medical studies, is the UKM MD course run by AUCMS included in your suggestion ?

  70. hai dr.
    i just finished my a-level’s in sunway uni college,
    after reading you blog,i am totally of what to persue,
    do u thin k dentistry would be a better choice??
    how it is differ from medicine??

    • it is all up to you. Dentistry only deals with oral cavity unlike medicine which deals with human body. Always look around for many other fields that are available, Many people only aware of medicine, dentistry, law and engineering. That is the sad part.

  71. Hello Dr Pagalavan ….I just finished my matriculation and I got 3.96 for my cgpa and the bad news is I have applied for medicine in all public universities UM/UKM/UPM/USM coz to do medicine in Malaysia needs 4 flat obviously. I have also got the offer of admission from Perdana University and now i’m waiting to attend the JPA interview this July.

    Besides medicine, I have also applied for biomedical science in UM. My question is….do you think I should continue my medical studies…because I only have half a mind to do medicine…I wanted to do something that is related to biology but the job prospects especially here in Malaysia is definitely not guaranteed…..so that is why I opted for medicine………..what do you think of biomedical science? any opinion that you can share….please sir….being an Indian, its extremely difficult for me to secure a MBBS seat in UM or UKM with 3.96….

    • I can’t decide for you. If after reading all the info under my ” For Future Doctors” page, you are still keen to do medicine for the passion of it, then go ahead. FYI, no job is guaranteed in the future. By 2017, the government may not be able to give job to every medical graduates. This is where being a JPA scholar becomes an advantage.

      Interestingly I am receiving so many comments and emails from students who are being accepted by Perdana. It looks like it is becoming a “public” university!! The government is funding it via backdoor for a degree which is overpriced and unrecognised!

  72. Hi Doctor Pagalavan, I am a prospective student going to start MBBS-PMS in IMU, which will likely allow me to get a worldwide recognized degree. However, I am confused that through my research, medicine seems to be highly needed and appreciated in foreign countries like Canada while in Malaysia it becomes not guaranteed in the future. Most information says that the need for international medical graduate are expected to increase by around 20+% from 2010 to 2020. What comment would you give regarding this ?

    Meanwhile, I have been thinking a lot about what to study if don’t study medicine, it turns out that I have no specific preference to other courses but I don’t seem to hate any of them. I have always opted for medicine since I was small so I don’t know what else to study. I have paid the tuition fees for first semester and I am worried about my future whether it is right for me to study medicine, considering that I will have to study for long term and spend lesser time for my social life. FYI, I am a student from Chinese Independent School ( Foon Yew High School Kulai, thought you should know since you are from Johor), and I have friends who will go Taiwan and Manipal for medicine. Which do you think is a more promising path?

    Thank you for your kind explanation and advice, I hope you can continue to help Malaysian medical students to understand more about it!

    • IMU-PMS is definitely better then going to Taiwan or Manipal. Doing this twinning programme will give you a well recognized degree.
      In most developed countries, many are not interested to do medicine in the first place. They are very well informed about the stress, working life and litigation rate. The entry qualification to medical schools are also very strict in these countries. You need to be the top 10% of the students in Pre-U exams. The number of medical schools are also limited as you can’t open a medical school like opening a shop lot!However, all their graduates will be given internship post. Everything is well regulated in developed countries. Due to these reasons, most of these countries do take a lot of international graduates BUT it is not easy to get in. They have strict quality control and exams to screen you. Australia was also short of doctors few years ago but not anymore. This year onwards, international graduates even within Australia may not get an internship post. Even UK is having the same problem.

      Unfortunately, in Malaysia there is no proper quality control and the government also do not bother how many graduates they are producing. They just want to make the people happy and they will not be bothered whether all these graduates get a job or not.

      • In this case, getting a worldwide recognized degree is the safest path I can take now but in order to ensure my chance of getting good future in Malaysia, should I do my housemanship in foreign countries or locally ? Moreover, getting MRCP and then a subspecialty is a safer route for me to find a job in Malaysia if I want to? How about getting a job in foreign countries? Though it’s still a far way ahead, I hope I can keep more options. Sorry for troubling you !

      • Things will change in the future, no matter which country you are in. If you are planning to do horsemanship overseas, complete everything before coming back.

  73. Hi Doctor Pagalavan,
    I am one of the graduates from STPM 2011 and about to enter university this september. Well, i have been following your blog for quite some time and aware of the things happening in the medical field of out country. i always wanted to study medicine since secondary school and i opted to go for STPM to make sure i am qualified for medicine.

    I have got offer to study medicine from Tzu Chi University (Taiwan) and also USM locally. i have been contemplating the pros and cons of studying in both universities and it is hard to decide since it is about my future.

    if i am going to TCU (Taiwan), i have to acclimatize to the new studying environment as Mandarin is the medium of instruction. And also Taiwan is now practicing Defensive medicine because of the increase of court cases involving doctors. However, i am attracted by the teaching of Tzu Chi univeristy that involves humanity and . I believe i will become a good doctor after years of training over there. About the cons, my main concern is that i will not know when i can come back to malaysia to service.

    If i am going to usm, after i completed 5 years MD course, there will be a problem in having a housemanship posting as you have said that there will be a surplus of fresh graduates and insufficient housemanship posting. And also there will be not enough senior MO or specialists guiding us like overseas?

    So i need your precious opinion concerning this matter as you are one of the very experience and wise doctor i knew. Your Attention is much appreciated. =)

    • If I were you, I will choose USM. Being a local grad, you will definitely get a job after graduation. All local grads will also be offered JPA scholarship.

      BTW, from my experience dealing with doctors from Taiwan, I don’t get a good impression. The training system in Taiwan is not suitable for Malaysian Healthcare. They subspecialise too fast without a good basic foundation of general medicine/surgery. It is suitable for their healthcare where all emergency departments are run by emergency physicians and all cases are sorted out by time they reach the specialist in the ward. They call themselves this and that but when you ask them questions, they can’t answer. I know many are returning to Malaysia but this is because the litigation rate is very high, the pay is becoming lower and the government controls how much you get paid for each procedure. There is surplus of doctors in taiwan as well.

      Furthermore, is this Taiwan university recognized in Malaysia ? From this list http://mmc.gov.my/v1/docs/Jadual%20Kedua%2011-12-09.pdf I don’t see your Taiwan uni’s name. If it is not recognized, you will have to sit for entrance exam when you return. Also remember that Taiwan specialist training is NOt officially recognized in Malaysia.

  74. Okay, i understand what you meant. However, in your ” the future is bleak” , you said that there are not enough trainers(specialist) for housemen in their two years training, Even though i got the job in government hospital, the training is not up to standard and i will end up being an incompetent doctor as well?

    • yup, high possibility but don’t think it is better in Taiwan as well. Training in singapore, Australia and UK are well structured and recognised internationally. Training in Malaysia is still well structured bt unfortunately, there are not enough senior trainers in MOH. Hoepfully, with the new rules and regulation , more good seniors will stay back in government sector.

  75. okay, lets see what wil be the fate of fresh doctors(including me) in malaysia.Haha. Btw is there any article or source that saying taiwan’s medical field is suffering the same problem as malaysia ? cause i can’t really google any news about that.

  76. And Thank you very much for your opinion. Dr Pagalavan. really appreciate it. =)

  77. Dr., please advise weather Melaka Manipal or Aimst is better to do MBBS. Thank you.

  78. For your information, my daughter is a government scholar that has been offered a place to pursue MBBS in AMIST and also a possible offer at Perdana University.

    Students graduating from the PU-RCSI School of Medicine will be awarded a medical degree from the National University of Ireland. This degree is said to be recognized by the Irish Medical Council, MMC and regulatory bodies throughout the world, and this allow postgraduate training worldwide.

    Q1. How true is the above claim, and to your professional evaluation, which university will most probably offer a better learning environment?

    Q2. Is AIMST recognized anywhere for post-graduate studies?

    Q3. I gather that AIMST has recruited many Vietnamese lecturers into their programs, what is your opinion about the quality of teaching and training?

    Thank you in advance for the above questions; and your blog has been most enlightening.

    • PU-RCSI is a new medical school which is not even listed in the WHO directory. Even though they are giving the same degree, it does not make it internationally recognized. In fact, even MMC has not accreditated this medical school yet! I do not see this university anywhere in the Ireland medical council website. Most likely you will be considered as a foreign graduate and NOT a graduate from ireland medical school.Thus, you will not get an intrenship post in ireland. Furthermore, almost all Malaysians who graduated from Ireland this year did not get an internship post! All other medical councils only recognises degrees offered by the main medical school. If you are a franchise medical school, it will not be recognized. The same thing happened to Monash Malaysia when they initially thought that it will be recognized but it turn out to be that other than Australian medical council, no other medical councils recognised it.
      Don’t trust what they claim, it is pure marketing stunt.

      2) NO

      3) Vietnamese ?? I thought they were hiring Indians and Burmese?. This is the major problem of having too many medical schools in the country (36 for population of 27million)!! Where are the academics?? I don’t think these guys can even speak proper english!

  79. 1. True that your degree will allow you to work in Ireland. But the reality is, you will probably not get a job there because you do not have an EU passport. They are required by law to give positions to those with EU passports (even those from non-Irish unis) before giving it to a Malaysian. If you do not get full registration (which you can only get if they recognise your internship), then the ‘recognition’ is worthless.

    2. No

    3. Seriously? Can the Vietnamese even speak English? (they were a French colony). Are there so many med schools now that we can’t even get the Burmese academics?

  80. Hi Dr..i am currently 2nd year medical student in Universiti Malaysia Srawak (UNIMAS)..based on the reason of you have stated of pursuing medical studies none of that related to me..but when talk about ‘PASSION’ right now i still doubt with myself in cont in this field..i am in dilemma right now because of that doubts…even though my result in exam can be considering good means always get B and the the knowledge of this medical field intriguing myself to explore more and bcoz of the doubt i don’t know what to do whether still want to cont or just drop the course?
    Hope Dr can help me..

  81. williams….even though i always get B doesnt mean i really happy n always satisfied with that gred…i am still trying to achive gred A and still working on it…
    not because of the hardness of this field but i think my effort n reading still not enough..
    Dr…what i mean on above comment is i think maybe this medical field not suit with myself as every day i always doubtful ‘CAN I CONTINUE N DO IT?…but after finished an exam n passed with the B , i believe i can do it …later during learning new system about our body , the feeling of doubt always play around with my mind…so i dont know what to do about that..

  82. hi dr. your blog is really helpful, those thank u so much for spending your precious time to write all these and thus prevent us from being bad to worst 🙂

    i am an intern in india, under jpa scholarship, coming back home soon, interested to pursue surgery or emergency medicine as my future specialty area.

    1. what is the requirement so that my application for master program will be accepted earlier? (understandable it is very competitive now) Are they good CGPA, research paper, attendance of conference and CME, extra-co-curricular activities, recommendation letter from Head of Department, or solely on our performance during HO and MO.

    2. what are the books in surgery that we should use as standard textbook in malaysia other than bailey and love. books here are cheaper, so i plan to bring some books home.

    3. from your personal point of view, is it worth it to do surgery in malaysia? i am keen of it since it is more hand works and (a little bit) less reading. (this is what i tought)

    thank you dr. for your passion and patience to help us. 🙂

    • 1) no one really knows the exact criteria for Master’s acceptance. BUT having atleast 85% PTK marks for the last 3 years, rural postings and passing MRCS will give a better chance

      2) Not sure currently as I am not a surgeon. It is not important now as books will keep changing.

      3) It depends on what you mean “worth it”

  83. Hello Dr,

    I would like to ask you about the future of ER physician in Malaysia?Could you enlightened me about it as I at the moment don’t have any one to refer to as I am preparing for my future.I am a 4th year student and currently studying in Egypt

    • depends on what you mean by future? The government hospitals still need a lot of emergency physicians but private hospitals do not hire emergency physicians. This is due to the fact that consultants are not employed by these private hospitals.

  84. There are still people going for medicine, even in Cuba….

    • haha, as I said before, the madness will only end when the jobless scenario happens in 4-5 years time. Parents still refuse to believe that doctors can be jobless!!

      There is NO Cuba medical school recognised by MMC. I wonder where these students are going to work after they graduate. OR is this a student exchange programme with taylor’s university?

      • on August 25, 2012 at 7:31 AM Di bawah tempurung

        Cuba has arguably the best health care system in the world. The indices like infant mortality rate, life expectancy and access to health care are way better than us, and certainly beats that of US/UK. I’m sure those few privileged medical students will learn a something useful. Stop being the typical Malaysian who looks at others with stereotypes.

      • Did I say anything about their healthcare?? Have you been to Cuba? I am well aware of what you said but there are also many information saying that what we hear is not what is happening in Cuba.

        Just to repeat what I said, NO Cuban medical school is recognised in Malaysia which means these students need to sit for entrance exam if they want to work in Malaysia.

      • http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v6/newsgeneral.php?id=689670

        7 years at Cuba with scholarship from Cuba government. I think this is not a student exchange.

      • And so we see another triumph of government controlled reporting by a socialist nation over the freedom of information access practised by the US/EU.

        If you have ever been to Cuba, you would realise that those stats you just quoted have to be taken with a considerable pinch of salt. The US/EU allows full access and publication of problems of the state. Funny how various countries around the world not known for human rights and basic freedoms then point their fingers at the US/EU and laugh and claim that they have better this and that.

        For all the claimed excellence of Cuban healthcare, I’ll still pick a UK NHS institution to look after my health needs anyday.

      • I agree with Jon J.

        It’s like how Pakistan has no AIDS cases officially – because that means that there might be homosexuals in Pakistan and that of course can never happen in a Muslim country.

        Even better: Australia does not include the abroginals in their life expectancy stats cos that would bring their numbers down. But they have a long history of treating their natives as subhuman.

  85. Hai Dr.!
    I’d like to ask about Psychology, and what do you think of it in years to come. I am 19, and is very interested in the study. Will job be available in 5 years? Because personally, I think the approach in psychological study in Malaysia is very poor. Maybe it would improve in years to come. I realized that psychological experts are NOWHERE to be found here. I’ve heard many parents avoiding any psychological course because apparently, no job is available.

    Since we’ll be flooding with doctors… psychology should also be regard as a professional course. What do you think?

    • Psychology is actually a good field. In developed countries they are highly sort after as almost all companies, schools, universities and even corporate giants will have in house psychologist. Unfortunately, in Malaysia it is still underdeveloped and I would presume that it will pick soon. I see more and more stress related mental disorder among our workers.

  86. hi doctor.i am a student from russia.i trully understad the current situation.is there any recommendations for us to brush up our practicals skills?

  87. Dear Dr.,
    Thank you very much for answering my questions regarding PU-RCSI sometime back. However, if your child has been offered a JPA scholarship to do medicine at AIMST and PU at the same time? Which university would you advise your child to consider more favorably and why? I sincerely hope you would not mind sharing your personal views regarding this.

    • I would prefer AIMST if compared to PU simply because it is more established. THeir graduates are also not bad. PU is new and personally I don’t trust them. Even if they are giving RCSI degree, it is not going to be recognized elsewhere. So, the value of the degree is the same as AIMST.

  88. i would like to ask about, choosing hospitals for HOUSEMANSHIP, even though we dont know where they would send. any important things i should look out when applying for a hospital such as .. number of patient,more speciality, facility or any other important aspects? thank you.

    • Looking at the current situation of overflow of HO, I can’t really say. I feel smaller hospitals may be a better option interms of doing procedures etc etc. However, you may loose out on availability of subspeciality services.

  89. Dear Dr, is it advisable to study MBBS in Mahsa University College? I am currently studying Foundation In Science in Mahsa, and would like to pursue MBBS here. Your honest opinion is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

  90. Dear Dr, after reading your blogpost on the misconceptions of being a medical doctor, i have doubts on becoming a medical doctor. Based on our current economic situation and your medical knowledge, do you think it is more advisable to study DDS or MBBS. Im interested in both of them, but cant decide on either one. Thank you very much
    P.S. i posted my comment on another of your page, you would only need to reply to one of them. thank you once more

  91. Hello Doctor, hope my message finds you well. Doctor, my daughter wants to be a doctor since she was small. She is a straight A+ student. Given to her ambition and her academic capability, I am planning to send her to Harvard University, US with my own money. What is your advise about Harvard University? I also have University of Oxford, UK & University of Cambridge, UK in mind. With your best knowledge which of these 3 Universities produced best Doctors? And do u think it’s better for her to do A-Level locally only then enroll into one of this University or she should do A-Level in the above mentioned university then continue with her degree? I really appreciate your feedback . Hope you can shed some light…..

    • Any of these university will do but it is not easy to get a place in these universities. “A” levels can be done anywhere. Pls make sure your daughter knows what medicine is all about. She can read this blog if she haven’t done it yet. Secondly, it is also important on where she intend to work after graduating.

    • There is no direct entry into Harvard for medicine as far as I’m aware. You have to do an undergradute degree (can be done anywhere but they rarely consider non-US/Canadian qualifications) and sit the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT). American degrees can be done straight after SPM/O-levels.

      To get into Oxbridge, you can sit for your A-levels in Malaysia and apply through UCAS.

    • on September 26, 2012 at 12:11 AM | Reply Carboxylic Acid.

      Harvard University does not have direct entry to medicine as an undergraduate. This means your daughter has to finish an undergraduate Bachelor’s degree before applying to the university. Oxford University and Cambridge University does offer medicine for undergraduates, but it will be very costly. Not to mention they have quotas for international students. All these universities will produce good doctors. If you’re financially well-off (i.e you are prepared for spend close to RM 1 million) for her education, then you can send her to UK to do A-Levels. These are called Sixth-Form colleges and are mostly boarding schools. The advantage of going to these colleges is that she will get the best lecturers and exposure. They may also have some of the best admission officer to guide her with her application to these universities. Otherwise, you can also send her to elite colleges in Malaysia such as Kolej Tunku Jaafar and Kolej Yayasan UEM. Statiscally, these colleges produce many students who managed to get into these universities. Bear in mind that they cost about RM 50,000 for the whole course but I think this fee is inclusive of the use of their boarding facility. Most students in Malaysia attend Taylor’s and Help College as they are also very good and they are cheaper. They cost about RM 30,000 but if your daughter is very good she will get a merit scholarship.
      Bear in mind though that A-Levels is a big gap from SPM. I am sure that your daughter is very bright but many people who get straight A’s in SPM end up struggling in A-Levels. She will need to make sure that she get 4A* or more in her A-Levels to be eligible for consideration to many universities in the UK especially in the medical course. She will also need to pass an interview which I heard is quite tough. You may also need to make sure that she has really good co-curricular activities starting from school level as these will also be taken into account.

      • I truly thank you so much for the insight you just shared with me and I appreciate the time you spent writing them…..Hope you do not mind answering my last query regarding A-level. You were mentioning about the Sixth-Form colleges that are mostly boarding schools in UK which provide A-Level. I would want to send my daughter to UK for her A-Level thus which Sixth-Form colleges do you think are good and how I go about in enrolling her into this college? My daughter is my only child and after reading Dr Pagalavan blogs , I  have advised my daughter so much not to go for doctor instead take up and run my family business but she totally refused.  My daughter is now a loyal follower of this blog. Even after reading entirely this blog yet she is so persistent of becoming a doctor. She told me ” Mom, spirit of humanity and willingness to learn and to help others in needs are what it takes to be a good dedicated doctor. I know I have those with me so let me be useful to those who gonna need me”.  So Doctor listening to that I have decided to let her go and follow her passion . As her mom , I will provide whatever it takes to make her a fine knowledgable doctor. Thank you again Doctor. Take care & Best Regards. 

  92. Thank you so much doctor for your respond. Does UCAS accept A-Level certificate from any instutute? After she graduated from med school, she only needs to serve government for 2 + 2 yrs, right? How about to be a specialist ? And she wants to stay and work in Malaysia.

    • The institutes/colleges do not confer the A-level certificates. If you take the CIE A-levels (the most common UK A-levels offered internationally), your qualification is given by Cambridge. Exams are set and marked by them. This is what is offered by most private colleges here.

      2+2 years is correct. You have to work in the public system to become a specialist, and it will take longer than the 2+2 years.

      In terms of how to specialise, Dr P has written lots of info on that in his other blog postings. Please do a bit of poking around on this blog.

    • A-level can be sat anywhere as the exams are the same.
      You can read all the info regarding government service, specialisation etc in some of my blog postings. Generally, you can’t do specialisation if you leave government service.

  93. Thank you so much Dr. for your insights. They truly helped me refine my search. I will surely read thru this blog. Thank you again. Best Regards.

  94. Article to be shared…..

    US politics
    Obamacare and the future of US doctors
    By John Schroy, on June 27th, 2009 | Skip to comments

    Reading time: 5 – 8 minutes

    Like all proposals that come from the Obama administration, details of the President’s multi-trillion dollar public health care plan are murky and shrouded in controversy.

    However, the essentials are simple:
    Will doctors survive Obamacare?

    Will doctors survive Obamacare?

    The number of people to be covered by health insurance will expand to cover the entire population, including illegal immigrants.
    The overall cost of health care will be dramatically reduced. How this will be achieved is not fully disclosed.
    It takes about ten years to create a new doctor, starting from the initial career choice on graduating from high school.
    Health care is a service industry and the principal costs are the salaries and earnings of doctors and nurses.

    The implications of this plan are straight forward.
    In this article:

    Average earnings of doctors will fall
    Some patients will do quite well, thank you
    The electric wheelchair syndrome
    Obamacare is not necessarily inflationary
    Related Posts
    Comments (7)

    If the demand for health care services is to be artificially stimulated by government mandate and if it takes a decade to increase the supply of doctors needed to meet this demand, in the immediate future, to achieve the President’s goals without further inflation of health costs, either health care must be rationed by the government, or doctors and nurses must earn less for less service — or both.
    Average earnings of doctors will fall

    Because it is not politically expedient for the politicians to tell grandma that she can’t have that hip replacement, rationing health care — especially for over-indulgent Baby Boomers entering their golden years — will be a non-starter, in the early years.

    This means that doctors who come to depend upon the Obama health care system, will face a sharp decrease in income and increased bureaucratic paperwork to justify even that.
    Will it still pay to study anatomy?

    Will it still pay to study anatomy?

    Medicine will become a far less attractive profession. The Obama plan does not contemplate reducing the fees of their favored constituency, lawyers that sue doctors for malpractice.

    Extremely high entry costs (ten years of education and internships), together with diminished returns, will provide strong disincentives for the creation of new doctors.

    Normal attrition and retirement will reduced the supply of medical professionals further.

    The result will be fewer medical professionals serving more people. Care must eventually be rationed and doctors must earn less.

    It’s just textbook supply and demand, operating under artificial restraints.
    Some patients will do quite well, thank you

    Some Americans will continue to receive excellent health care under the Obama plan:
    The rich and powerful will do just fine …

    The rich and powerful will do just fine …

    The very wealthy. Even in under-developed countries with dicey health care systems, the rich do OK. Factory owners in Indonesia fly to Singapore for routine checkups. In Brazil, the well-to-do go to private doctors rather than to government-run hospitals.
    The very powerful. President Obama, his family and friends, will not have to face the indignities of public health care, just as they are able to avoid the public school system brought down by the unionized teachers that they support.
    The unionized proletariat. Government and private sector workers, protected by union contracts and exemptions hidden in the Obama plan, will be given preferences, not on the level of the very rich or powerful, but better than the adoring masses that ushered Obama into office.

    The doctors, nurses, and hospitals that cater to the rich and powerful will survive the Obama plan.

    • The bottom line about healthcare reforms in the US is that doctors there earn too much, and do not take kindly to pay cuts.

      An Internist in any hospital in the US earns USD400,000 a year on average, even Fed Gov ones like the Veterans hospitals. Private ones can earn considerably more.

      Tell me which NHS consultant earn this kind of money?

      To oppose the reforms, they tell the Americans there will be rationing of healthcare.

      Tell me which country that has an equitable socialised healthcare system can provide unlimited healthcare and not go bust? Even America’s capitalist system costing 18% of GNP and underserving 50 million citizens is going bust.

  95. ツ dear dr. could you gave me a link where can i verify the MD degree in LUC… can the degree be used in sg… as i know, the are LUC hospital in sg.. perhaps, it could be used in sg… thus the LUC degree can use oversea.. as i read in your article.. just UKM,UM, and Monash U can use oversea… so, LUC is new in MD… i prefer to check b4 i enter it…. futhermore what exactly time table for HO and MO working… coz i barely know about this… and what they actually do in Hospital… fyi, i’m just a student… love help people, but i do afraid of the new shift, although it seem help the HO but the gov will eventually change some system…

  96. but , i got offer from jpa to luc…. i wonder why jpa gavr the scholarship to luc, but the MD program is not recognise anywhere…. seem fishy…. i’m totally need you guys opinion about this… i afraid for my future… but i love helping people… any suggestion please….. ツ

  97. hello dr. (: glad that i found this blog. wow, i mean wow.. i feel very motivated and inspiring when i read ur blog. my ambition is to be a surgeon one day. i think that surgeon is different from doctor. is it? the main reason i want to be a surgeon bcos i love it very much. i don’t care about the salary or status or glamour and whatever, but to tell you the truth, i really interested with this ambition since my childhood’s time.if i can’t be surgeon, then it is okay if i be a doctor. right now, i still studying at secondary school in science class. People say that we need to be good at Biology if we want to be doctor. is it? (: hoping for ur reply asap.

    • I was just wondering how you can become interested in surgery when you don’t really know anything about it yet? A surgeon IS a doctor and not anything else. You have to graduate as a MBBS doctor, complete 2 years of housemanship, wait for 2-3 years before getting a place for Master’s in Surgery program which is another 4 years. Even after all this, you will not be a competent surgeon yet till another 2-5 years depending on your speciality. Sub speciality training is another 3-4 years.

      Biology is just one of the subjects needed. You also need good grades in Maths, physics and chemistry. To be a good doctor, you need a critical and analytical mind and not just memorizing facts like in biology. That’s why it is important to have a person who is good in all subjects to do medicine. On top of that you need passion, willing to work hard and long hours and sacrifice some social life.

      I know many who wanted to become this and that but ended up resigning as doctors. It is good to have an ambition but always plan one at a time. By the time you become a doctor, there will be surpluss of doctors and even to get into surgical training is going to be tough

      • Maybe she watched ER and thought Benton was the King of Kool? 😉

        Actually, you could say the same for anyone wanting to do Medicine. Most high school students have no idea what the practice of medicine really entails. The general perception is that of what they’ve experienced in a GP practice or hospital outpatients – 10 minute consult, dispense some meds, next… Or what they see on telly. (BTW, none of the doctors or nurses ever look as good as the ones on Grey’s Anatomy)

        And none of them ever realise just how much paperwork and bureaucracy baggage there is until they become HO’s when reality (s)hits them. In most developed countries, one has no chance getting into medical school without having some real work experience in a hospital on one’s CV. Also in Bolehland, there are large numbers of candidates put forward for medicine just for the sake of the social engineering agenda.

        No wonder the quality of medical graduates has dropped like a stone and there is so much apathy amongst the new generation of HO’s. May God save Malaysia.

  98. so how about dentist sir?i mean the difficulty of the syllabus compared to mbbs,and job prospect in near future?and salary in private sector?any postgraduate programme for dental student?

    • Undergraduate study of dentistry is just as difficult as medicine.

      Job prospects in Malaysia are still ok for now but may be in the same situation as medicine in 5 years time.

      Can’t give you a number for a private dentist salary in Malaysia. Will depend on the amount of patients you have and whether you are a generalist or specialist. They are comfortable. Always a chance that income will decrease in the future if there is a glut.

      There are lots of postgraduate programmes for dentists. E.g. endodontics, orthodontics, oral medicine, prosthodontics, paediatric dentistry, maxillo-facial surgery (have to do MBBS as well). The main difference is that almost all dentistry postgrad programmes are done full-time at the university which means you have no income during that time and you pay uni fees. Usually takes about 3 years. Very competitive and/or expensive to do – which is why many generalists go for 3-6 month attachments in a specialty and then try to do these specialised procedures (and commonly bugger up your teeth in the process).

    • It is almost similar to medicine. At the moment the prospect looks better then medicine and you can easily open a clinic later. There is NO such thing as salary in private sector. You earn what you charge the patient. No private hospital pays you a salary. It is like running your own clinic.

      Yes, there are speciality in dentistry as what Nav has mentioned

  99. Dear Doctor,
    Do you recommend students to go to china to study medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine?

  100. I realize that generally doctors don’t make big money but how about specialists. For example,Cardiologist or Neurologist. They do earn a lot right and their job is guaranteed as the amount of specialist doctors is Malaysia is still little.

    • Use to earn a lot but not anymore! I know many who are struggling to even reach RM 20k/month in klang valley. There is just too much competition and this leads to unethical practices. Some cardiologist simply does angiogram and even stents a 10-20% stenosis just to earn money!

      Yes, at the moment there are no jobless speiclaist unless they are barred from working by MMC. However, how do you become a specialist if you do not get a job in the first place. How do you become a specialist if you do not get training post?

      • by training post do you mean houseman ship?

      • NO, Masters and subspecialty training . Housemanship is after graduating. If you don’t complete your horsemanship, you can’T work as a doctor

      • Thank you doctor. I am currently studying Canadian Pre-U at a local college and supposed to study as a doctor. However, after going through your articles and comments. I will reconsider everything as I choose medicine because I thought doctors are earning a lot. Once again, Thank you.

      • Trust me, that era is gone/going. You still be able to earn a decent living like any other job but NOT tonnes of money as what people like to say. Many specialist nowadays are happy to even hit RM30K per month. In order for you achieve this, you will be working almost 24hrs/day and 7 days/week.

      • Now there’s an honest person! I suspect there are many more out there who are doing medicine for that reason but care not to admit it.

      • Hi, Nav, just wonder back then when you were young and decided to take medicine, was it for passion or money?

      • Parents were doctors and I could see for myself the returns one received vs the hours you put in was not for me. My father still works 12 hours/day, 6 days/week and he’s in his mid-60’s. Wouldn’t want that lifestyle even if you doubled the money.

        Passion wasn’t strong either. I applied for both engineering and medicine after my pre-u, and actually did 3 months of engineering with a private uni’s twinning programme. Then got accepted into medicine so I switched. 2 months later, got a reply from what was then Telekom University for engineering. If I had got that offer first, I probably wouldn’t be a doctor now.

        I happen to like what I do, so it worked out for me. I’ve got many peers who hate their job.

  101. Dr , i m currently a HO who grad from Russia….I plan to work in Sg after i had completed my HO , is it possible?coz i was thinking to do my specialist in Sg and work in Sg .. WIll Sg accept my qualification right after i had completed my HO??
    Besides , if i wanna become a dermatologist ,what i need to right after my HO if i change my mind to do it in Msia?Thanks

    • Singapore does not recognise Russian medical degrees.

      The only way to work in Singapore for you is to pass all parts of the MRCP and apply to work there as an MO. No guarantee you will get a job though, because they will interview you and scrutinise your CV.

    • No. You can’t. None of the degrees from Russia is recognized in Singapore and thus you will NOT be able to work there.

      I have written about speciality pathway in internal medicine in this blog before, you should spend more time reading my blog. There is NO direct pathway to dermatology. You need either MRCP or Master’s in Internal medicine before sub specializing in dermatology.

  102. on October 29, 2012 at 11:30 AM | Reply Adrian Tolan (Romania)

    Hello Dr. I came across this article from the web, http://www.malaysiandigest.com/news/36-local2/134111-proposal-for-medical-grads-to-be-exempted-from-exam.html

    It is about the infamous MQE, the one that everyone talks about but actually nobody knows any detail about, when it is, which month, or how it will be conducted, obviously because it is different in every varsity, I know, but what concerns me was the talk about RM 25000 exam fee ? I mean seriously? Does anyone know anything about this?

    Thank you.
    Adrian Tolan
    Penang, MY

  103. on November 9, 2012 at 7:10 AM | Reply Priya Dharashni

    Eventhough im not a Doc, i enjoyed reading all this articles by you Dr. Will keep gaining knowledge from your blog. Thanks !

  104. Doctor Pagalavan…can i ask you….Are there any written MMC or KKM guidelines…..on what specific detailed working knowledge and hands on experience (minimum standards) should be acquired during the 2 years housemen attachment to the various departments. I would assume that there must be some clear guidelines as this would form the basis of their assessments with each department.
    I ask this because many housemen say that they tend to be groping in the dark during the housemen attachments. TQ

  105. I’ve been reading yr blog since my spm and i even met some newly grad docs and they even said doctors will be saturated in a few years time. I understand how hectic life will be as doctors(learning frm yr blog). I want to study and enjoy my life. I love science and now I’m doing biology in IPTA for degree.

  106. Dr Pagalavan,
    Just need a clarification…… on Doctor’s Licence. Is the Licence issued after the 2 years housmenship..and before moving on to become an MO?
    Or is it issued only after 4 years ie after completing another 2 years compulsory service? TQ

  107. Dr Pagalavan ,
    it’s better to study in a local university or in a private university ?

  108. I’m interested in human health. What career should I take? What course should I go? Which Uni is OK? How to reach the career? Any explanation/review about the career? …

  109. Dr Pagalavan,
    Would u be kind enough to advise me what is the best route for a housemen to eventually specialise in Psychiatry in the government hospital. TQ

  110. Dear Dr Pagalavan,

    I am currently completing my 1st year of foundation year in the UK and I will be able to obtain a full registration with the GMC once I complete in June. However, I might have to return to Malaysia due to personal issues, I was just wondering whether I need to do the second year of housemanship in Malaysia or I could obtain a full registration with the MMC.

    Thank you.

  111. hi dr,
    i am 5th year medical student, currently studying in Alexandria University, Egypt.. I am thinking to take neurosurgeon after i completed my HO. In your opinion, is it better to further master in neuro in local universities or oversea? which university is the best place to study for this field?

  112. Dear Dr Pagalavan,

    Hi doctor, thank for all these useful information that you’ve been providing all the while,and I would like to seek some valuable opinion from you. I’m currently a JPA scholar who’s going to start my medicine(MBBS) course in India in August this year. But I’ve wondering if the private universities in Malaysia like NUmed or Monash would be better in terms of teaching, facilities and everything, and moreover the certificates are from UK and Australia respectively.I wonder if they are more recognised?

    Thank you.

    • Newcastle Malaysia is not recognised elsewhere. The current immigration rules in UK will not give you a job in UK either
      MOnash Malaysia is recognised in Australia/NZ only and no where else. Looking at the current overflow of doctors in Australia, it is unlikely you will get a job in Australia.
      These universities are new and thus you can’t compare with an establisehd uni in India. I am not sure which uni are you going to go in India but most JPA recognised Unis in India are OK and will probably have better teaching and facilities.

  113. But I can still get a job in Malaysia, couldn’t I ?
    I’m having a dilemma whether to pursue my course in India or Malaysia. so u’d still suggest india, right?

    • You must understand that by the time you graduate, there will be surplus of doctors in Malaysia. So, jobless scenario is a possibility.
      Being a JPA scholar will definitely get you a job but not otherwise.

  114. Dr, I mean Newscastle Malaysia is recognised by MMC itself right ?

  115. thanks doctor, appreciate ur help 🙂

  116. Hi Dr.

    May I ask about your views on studying medicine at Moscow Medical Academy? Is it recommended?

    Thanks in advance. 🙂

  117. Hello, Dr. Pagalavan. Im now a Form 5 student studying in a chinese private school, and I think to be a small doctor like setting up a clinic in my live area in future. Can you tell me about the difficulties that I may face? And how long I have to spend in studying and government service before I really become a clinic doctor? (:

    • I think you should spend more time reading this blog! All the answers are there.

      You need to complete 4 years of compulsory service with the government before can open a clinic. However, many things can change in the future as I have written before.

  118. dear dr,
    i am currently in management and science university doing my foundation in science. After that i planned to continue medic…. do i in right path??

    • it is up to you. Read all my post under this page and decide!

    • on January 31, 2013 at 3:55 PM | Reply opah malaysian style

      If your ambition is to become a doctor, then you have chosen the right path. If you choose STPM, then most likely (>99%) you will end up doing other courses other than medicine. If you choose A-level, IB, AUSMAT etc, then your parent must be loaded in order to join expensive private university or even oversea university. As an average Malaysian, whether you like it or not, you must be practical as the current trend to enter university in Malaysia for medical courses are either foundation course or the government’s matrikulasi studies. If you are a non bumi, even if you score straight five A in STPM, you might not get your choice to study medicine in public university. Even if you are lucky enough to get one, then you must be prepared to fly “oversea” to East Malaysia to join university there like UNIMAS Sarawak. The big four in West Malaysia namely UM, UKM, USM and UPM are filled with student from the short cut 11-month Matrikulasi stream. Regarding sickness and diseases, you can seek for advice from a professional doctor, but in this case regarding education in Malaysia, even though it is in regard to medical studies, you need to seek practical advice from your immediate senior.

  119. Is foundation in science innmanagement and science university(MSU) is correct basement fo medic studies

    • as far as I am concerned, foundation is useless. The better entry qualification will be STPM, A Level, IB, AUSMAT etc. These exams are standardised unlike the individual foundation studies done by respective universities. It can be easily manipulated.

  120. but doc nw i am now doin my foundation studies… currently in last sem…so wat should i do now? I realy have no idea. i taught that foundation is the way to enter medic field.I am realy confused now doc..!!!

  121. so doc do i have 2 quit my studies now,ans enter Alevel or IB?

  122. thanks for ur comment doc. before end dis conversation i would like to ask 1 more queation. can i get any scholarship for my medecal studies??? either in government or any NGO???

  123. ok. thanks doc

  124. Dear Doctor Pagalvan

    My name is Benjamin. I was working as a housmen for a short time in one of the government hospitals. Subsequently i resigned due to family problems and worked in another industry until i got things sorted out. My question is would it be possible for me to go back to complete my housemanship again in the goverment service. Thank you in advance


    • Yes, you can but usually they will only give the job on contract basis.

      • Dr paga, registration with mmc is upon completion of the two year compulsory housemanship , if it is on contract basis , does it mean Benjamin will not be able to register with mmc?

      • he can as long as he has finished his horsemanship

      • He can still get full registration after the 2 years housemanship, but he will need to start from the beginning, and complete the full 2 years, previous work record cannot exempt any part of the 2 years. The contract refers to his employment status with the civil service (JPA), not the legal requirements.

  125. Respected Sir,
    With regards to the query from Benjamin, If the HO is given a contract for 2 years, then what happens when he/she finishes HOship and proceeds as an MO? Will he/she be given a contract as a MO too?

    Also will he/she be able to work as a HO in the same government hospital as before?

  126. Dr Paga…..any idea what is the rationale for the TAGGING for housemen during the first two or more weeks of the posting in each department? Does it benefit the housemen or the hospital in any way….to subject a new housemen to work from 6am to 10pm…..continuously for 2 weeks for more?
    It seem to have the effect of demoralising the housemen as soon as they enter the department. I would have thought that the first week or so would be a familiarisation process….giving them a little time to settle-in.

    • The tagging is to familiarize yourself with the system. You have to learn from the existing housemen on some of the ward procedures etc. EVen though it may be long but that is part and parcel of being a doctor. You will be given breaks during lunch and dinner. However, you must take turns. The tagging period is usually the longest in first posting and reduces for subsequent postings.

  127. TQ…for clarifying Doc..

  128. Can i ask you questions related to Dentistry too…..couldnt find any blogs.
    Compared to medical….KKM does not seem to give much attention to developing or upgrading the dental facilities or services available to the public.
    I am told they rarely will do any root canal, crowning etc. Most of the time its filling & extraction only. I believe it is for cost reasons.
    It is a known fact that oral hygiene among Malaysians is pathetic..Now with so many dentists graduating and been absorbed into the government sector….why isnt KKM taking the opportunity to improve the dental services made available to the public.
    As a result of this , the private dentists are charging exhorbitant prices. My next question is …are dental charges by privated dentists CONTROLLED by MDA as with medical services?

    • Yes, I must agree with you. Some of the major procedures are done at hospitals and not klinik kesihatans. Thus, they should refer you to the hospital.

      Yes, their fees are regulated by the private healthcare facility act.

  129. Noted…..i asked because I wanted to have my wisdom tooth extracted ….a private dental clinic in Damansara quoted me RM1000….i was shocked. Another smaller one quoted me RM700. Of course due to the pain…I couldnt wait in the long queue for governemnt clinics….so i went to one of the dental college clinic and they did a damn good job for only RM17…..follow up visit was free too.
    I was talking to some new dentists posted to government hospitals & kliniks . ..(non malays of course).. They told me how relaxed their jobs are…( compared to their previous dental college clinics).Their patients appointments are at one hourly intervals….if they finish the patient in 15 minutes..they wont call the next patient until the next hour. They only have to do fillings & extractions day in day out….even though they are trained to do much more (private clinic dentists do root canal etc). They knock off at 5pm sharp.
    Which brings me to ask…with the exodus of new dentists into the government service, why isnt the Heath Ministry looking to improve their services.

    • I have been told of lecturers working at dental college clinics charging insanely low amounts for dental work, undercutting the dental clinics and charging below the recommended fees. You seem to describe the same thing happening. The lecturers at those clinics are trying to make extra $ on top of their lecturer salary because they would not otherwise be allowed to practice in Malaysia.

      They are usually from India/Indonesia/Pakistan/Bangladesh/Myanmar. I cannot comment on their competence nor am I trying to make any judgement, merely pointing out that they would not otherwise be allowed to work in private dental clinics here.

    • It is not just the government dental clinics need improvement. The entire healthcare system need improvement!! The whole thing is in a mess! Furthermore, everyone gets paid at the end of the month whether you work hard or not, so why bother working hard and trying to improve the system. You will know if you are in the system. The lazy and the hard working ones get the same pay and the hard working ones will be looked down upon as they form the minority!

  130. Hi Dr. Pagalavan.
    I am second year medical student currently studying in University College Cork, Ireland. I am under a twinning program with AUCMS and I will go back to Malaysia next year to continue my studies in Taiping Medical College and doing my clinical years in Taiping Hospital. Based on your vast medical experiences and exposures, what is your opinion on this program. This is because I am starting to have doubts and I don’t know if I should continue. I still want to be a doctor but I’m worried if the whole thing is not recognized and I cannot get a job anywhere. Besides being a doctor, what can I do with a medical degree? What other aspects of work can I do using my medical degree…
    Also Dr, if there are so many doctors now how come the working hours do not change? I heard doctors will work according to their day or night shift or something and basically reduce the number of working hours due to the cases of mental breakdown and stress.
    Thank you.

    • personally, I don’t trust AUCMS. It is the only university in the world with 5 medical programs!! can you believe that?
      I thought the twinning program is the other way round, doing clinical years in Ireland? Only then you can get the degree from Ireland which is recognised in many countries.
      This AUCMS degree is yet to be recognised by MMC but knowing their connections, it is very unlikely not to be recognised.

      Housemen now work shift duty as there are enough housemen to do this. The shortage at MO levels are slowing being overcome by the graduating housemen. in another 4 years, all the HO and MO post will be full. The shortage will be at specialist level.

      Please read by post over here for job prospect other than being a doctor for MBBS holders

  131. Excuse me Nav….you are very wrong on that….they follow rigid procedures….u make appointments thru the proper channels…they issue proper receipts. Their charges are on par with government clinics… Nothing like you say.

    • I cannot speak for other dental colleges, but I know one dental college in Malacca is offering specialised dental services at less than the recommended MDA price, much to the displeasure of dentists in that city.

  132. Hi Doctor , I;m currently studying in MSU which is sponsored by the MARA scholarship. I’m in dilemma whether to pursue my study in Malaysia or Bangalore,India . People told me that in India there are more to theory , and they said malaysia is much better than india. Is it true? Based on the statement by my senior(MARA too), the allowances in India was way too high than in Malaysia and I able to become rich when i finished study in India.

  133. Hello there, Dr. Pagalavan. It is very nice of you to give enlightenment to us who in times are going to pursue the field. Sir, I am now doing my internship in India, have just passed my final MBBS exam, and are perplexed to what and how should I pursue further in the field. I read about the options we can opt to, eg: MRCP, MRCOG, MRCS, Master Degrees etc.
    As far as I’m concerned, I’m more towards in the field of surgery, but this may or may not change in time. It is sad news knowing that MRCS is no longer acknowledged in Malaysia, and the only way is by doing Master Degree in Malaysia, but even so, after completing Master Degree, it is still won’t be recognised internationally. I don’t have the interest to work outside Malaysia and even doing studies outside Malaysia. But I read about your post regarding doing Masters in Malaysia; regarding its fairly odd chances and more seriously incapable doctors who have passed master degree exams without knowing how to do surgery (well now thats a deal breaker, isn’t it?). That quite scares me as I don’t intend people to label me as a quack. So, basically what are the wise options that you might suggest? I know its still a long way to go, but I would like to know what are my options so that I can be prepared.

    Thanks again, 🙂

  134. Hello there, Dr. Pagalavan. It is very nice of you to give enlightenment to us who in times are going to pursue the field. Sir, I am now doing my internship in India, have just passed my final MBBS exam, and are perplexed to what and how should I pursue further in the field. I read about the options we can opt to, eg: MRCP, MRCOG, MRCS, Master Degrees etc.

  135. Good day Dr,
    I would like to know about this new programme homeopathy which is recognized by TCM unit(traditional and complementary medicine). I was informed by my colleague about this exam which can be taken by medical doctors as well as nurses and MAs. Also claims it’s recognized by KKM. Kind of fellowship programme for doctors which wil upgrade us to specialist level. I want to know how far is the truth and what’s the future prospect?Was also informed The part two is Masters equivalent. MA n nurses have different titles not LFHom and MFHom. This professional qualification is recognised as requirement for NHS doctors in the UK to work in their homeopathy hospitals. In Malaysia the stance of the TCM unit is they recognise any degree recognised by country awarding.
    Please enlightened me about this. Thank you, much appreciated.

    • If you want to know more about homeopathy, please go to this website:


      • Haha!
        I remember being on ponstan for 1.5 days when I had mine extracted (tooth impacted so required gum surgery (?) and 2 stitches).
        Hope you feel better soon.

    • IMU’s TCM : Our partner universities: RMIT University, Australia, Shanghai University of TCM, Shangdong University of TCM, Guangzhou University of TCM and Beijing University of TCM


      • I just had a wisdom tooth pulled out today – a bit of a dull ache still there. Do I avoid ‘hot’ substances or ‘cold’ substances to help with the pain? Can anyone also recommend some dried leaves of variable quality and consistency that I can boil into a soup perhaps? And should I change the orientation of my bed tonight in order to maximise the flow of positive energy to my tooth socket?

    • There is no such thing as “NHS doctors in the UK working in homeopathy hospitals”. That statement itself should set off your alarm bells.

      • Actually, the homeopathy lobby in the UK has managed to preserve some NHS funding for their quackery in what are now called “Intergrative Care” centres/departments within other hospitals. This would be analogous to some Malaysian and SIngaporean hospitals offering TCM. The last NHS-funded homeopathic hospital in the UK closed down in January 2013, due to declining patient numbers:


      • There are pockets of alternative therapy services in the NHS, but there is no such thing as doctors practicing these therapies, as that would contravene the GMC ethical guidelines. These services are run by alternative therapy practitioners, not medically qualified doctors. The exception will be accupuncture.

      • In an ideal world, that would be the case. However, there are medically qualified doctors who have gone on to ‘specialise’ in alternative therapies and who practice both science-based medicine and these alternative therapies. Many of them work as GPs and they can be found all over the place, including the NHS. But yes, the majority of these quacks do not have a medical degree.

  136. error

  137. Hi Dr.Pagalavan,
    i just got my SPM results 4days ago.Since i am eligible to do Medicine,I have applied Asasi Sains Pertanian(Universiti Putra Malaysia) as i came to know that i can continue doing my Degree in Medicine(MD) at UPM.In this case,what do Dr think about this asasi programme ?? Dr, let’s say i don’t deserve a place for this asasi programme, Which university is the best for me to do my Foundation In Science so that i can continue doing Medicine in Local Universities.
    Hope Dr can get me a good answer and clear my doubts.
    Thank You.
    Best Regards,
    Tharshen Balachandren.

    • Asasi is matroculation. There is no guarantee that you will get a place into medicine after completing matriculation.
      If you are talking about local public universities, the only way is via STPM or Matriculation. USM do accept some A level students.
      For private, I would suggest you do A levels.

  138. Foundation in Science is a certificate course which is uniquely set by the University per se for the sole purpose of admitting graduates from the program to their very own home grown Degree program.The FIS certificate cannot be used to apply to any foreign univeristy simply bcos they are not internationally recognised.period!.FIS certificate course is meant for students who have in some way or the other, decided on the Degree course that he or she has selected and then go on to pursue it in that University.

    Doing medicine in a private Uni is not cheap but is still very much affordable.Ther are scholarships around for FIS graduates with reasonably good grades to aim for.I think should you do well in anything you,have decided to do, scholarships will come looking for you!

    All the best and good luck!!

  139. Dear Dr, may I know the reality about the HO life? What I really mean is their attitude as they do the housemanship. Is it true that I heard that some of the medical school graduates who are the son/daughter of a wealthy man actually treat the hospital as if it is theirs? Like they can easily choose either to got to the hospital or not..then complaining about the long working hours.. Is it true? Thank you

    • Dear NT,

      Let me tell you what is malaysian healthcare ..fall sick at your own risk. If you end up ill and go to public hospital and get immediate and relatively good attention well then you are the luckiest soul on earth.If that is not the case, then go to private and burn a hole in your pocket. I lost my father thanks to the handling of young incompetent doctors. This is what I learnt from my experience.

      • A somewhat cynical and blunt assessment of our healthcare system, but one that I do not necessarily disagree with. I would add that infrastructure problems and procedural issues make the some public hospitals and departments even worse than others.

      • Sorry to hear that but why do u think it is due to incompetent ones and not the illness itself?

      • Hi, wonderkid,

        Agreed with you. Maybe Critic should tell us why he said so, ie the death of his father is due to the incompetent young doctors instead of his illness.

        Critic, sorry to hear that you lost your father. btw, would you like to share with us your experience and relate what have actually happened?

  140. *choose either to go to the hospital

  141. Dear Dr Pagalavan, i’ve juz graduated from college (sat for A level exam) last year n shall b entering UTAR -MBBS course very soon. I would appreciate if u could giv me some advise n guidance on how to specialise overseas (more specifically, Ireland) to become a cardiac surgeon after the 5 yrs mbbs program.
    Thank you,
    Best regards.

    • You can’t as your degree is NOT recognized anywhere else. Pls also read my post of cardiac surgery

      • Thank you for your quick reply. I’ve read your post on “the pathway to become a cardiothoracic surgeon” and that’s the general way in Malaysia right? So… are there any other ways to specialise in other countries?
        Instead of doing housemanship and so forth in Malaysia, can I do that in UK? Do i have to sit for the MRCP exams first?

      • Your degree is NOT recognized in UK or US which means you can’t work in this countries. You got NO choice but to work in this country. There is No short cut.

  142. you CAN do specialist training but it is particularly difficult


    • UTAR is not even in the WHO list. So unlikely you can even sit for the Irish exam. Furthermore, Ireland is now in financial crisis and not providing any job for foreigners.

      • Which means to say even if i have passed the MRCP exams, i can’t go overseas to practice because my degree isn’t recognized?

      • YES, furthermore for surgery, it is not MRCP but MRCS. These exams are entrance exams for speciality training. You can try SIngapore with your MRCS but NO guarantee that you will get a job/training post.

      • Yes. In the UK, the MRCP qualification is used to gain entry into postgraduate training (another 4 years). Having the MRCP does not mean you have completed specialist training. Similarly, there is a gazettement period in Malaysia after the MRCP before you can become a specialist but my understanding is that it is less structured than the UK.

        In short, no developed country will allow you to work based just on the fact that you have the MRCP. The furthest you may get is Singapore, where they will take you in as an MO and you then compete to get on to their training programme.

      • The basic criteria to be registered in any country to practice is a recognised degree, and completing a recognised housemanship/internship.

        However, some countries (in particular Singapore) allow a provisional/limited registration if you have a non-recognised degree but have a recognised postgraduate qualification like MRCP or MRCS. That by itself is not recognised as a specialist qualification, and you will still need to be accepted into a training programme and completing whatever exams required.

  143. Dr.Paga,
    I am currently a HO in one of the hospitals in Klang Valley, do you think the allowances that we are getting now may be reduced in time to come since there is a glut doctors plus so many newbies getting registered every year.moreover many aren’t leaving government since it is so called secure.Your opinion on this..?

    • Yes, it is possible especially the critical allowance. And getting a job in government sector is not going to be guaranteed anymore soon

      • I have astrong feeling after this election critical allowance will be reduced if the new goverment tries to change things.

      • critical allowance was never a fixed allowance. It is based on shortage of doctors. Once that shortage is solved, it is not considered as a critical field and thus critical allowance will become irrelevant

      • Critical Allowance was started at a time when there was a severe shortage of doctors, and working hours was longer. It was partly to compensate for the extra work done, and partly as incentive to induce doctors to stay back in the service.

        Things have changed enormously now, there is no more shortage of junior doctors (mal-distribution notwithstanding), and work load has decreased accordingly. Therefore, doctors are no more in ‘critical’ short supply, so it is a matter of time before the allowance will be removed. Just as it is a matter of time before the compulsory service will be scrapped.

  144. Thank you so much for spending your precious time just to give awareness to us future doctors..

  145. Hi Dr, I have an mbbs,and currently in the middle of housemanship, I’ve a personal Q to ask u, can I have ur email?

  146. Personal Q about countinuing or quitting mbbs, and job medical related prospects if quitting mbbs….this is my email sifue86@yahoo.com

  147. hello dr, i’m a spm leaver and really interested in the field of medicine. recently, i’ve just got an email stating that i have made it to the interview session for the foundation program in university malaya. i wanted to ask you, are the numbers of anesthesiologist in malaysia are high? and does singapore still recognize um and ukm as the best medical institutions in malaysia?

  148. Hello dr, I’m a STPM leaver and I would like to take up a pharmacy course. Do you think University of Sunderland is a good place to go?

  149. how about if compared to BPharm(hons) in IMU?

  150. what is your advice for the SPM leaver or any people who want a prosperous life in the future?

  151. Dr , I have red green colour vision deficiency and I plan take up medicine. Do you think it will affect me in anyway ? Also , what field will I be able to specialize in ?

    • Won’t affect you. Unless you are reading stained slides for pathology. I know someone who is colour-blind and they function as a doctor without any problem.

  152. I’m actually applying to study medicine at Aimst. I went for the interview a month ago . For the time being , I’ve been denied to pursue MBBS by MMC due to my red green colour blindness . However , they might allow me to study if I were to appeal . If I do appeal , I’m only worried that I might face certain difficulties during my Houseman training especially at certain posting like Surgery and O & G ( I googled it up and I found out that doctors who are colour blind might face certain difficulties , though they can be overcome ) , not to forget that I may harm the patients .

    • Do you face any difficulties in your everyday life? Doing normal stuff? If you have learnt to cope with that, it shouldn’t be a problem. Get a letter from some eye specialist or optometrist to support your appeal.

      • I don’t really have much difficulties . However , I do face difficulties differentiating certain colours , for example red and brown . I found out that I have red green colour blindness years ago. Yup , I’m actually planning to get a letter from an eye specialist. Thanks for the help

  153. ja5onraj,

    Personally, I wouldn’t recommend you to be a doctor. I am also have red-green colour blindness. I have problem telling spots on my skin having been bitten by mosquitoes and also can’t tell red sore throat severity etc. If you insist, you will be handicapped. Please consider other options.

  154. Hi , Doctor, can I ask do u think dentist will be jobless in next few year?will it become surplus in future as its specialist is not common as doctor?will the dentistry graduates can get posting in gov hospital if this year I just start my dentistry programmes ? Lastly , doctor and dentist, which is better in term of salary , job opportunity and the conditons of working?

    • What I am aware is the fact that most of the dentistry post in government service is almost full as I had written before over here.
      However, there is still a need for dentist in rural and semirural areas.

      Salary in government service is almost the same but working time is better as your calls are not as busy as doctors, most of the time hardly called.

      • I really appreciate for ur help ,I got the place for mahsa dentistry and will sponsored by JPA , do you think it is a suitable uni for me to take the dentistry course?.

      • it is new but since you got jpa scholarship, you can go ahead

      • Hi Louise, just go for it. Its not easy to get a JPA sponsorship. Also, since you are a JPA scholar, then the government will be obliged to provide you a job once you graduate.

      • recently I’ve quite a bit of dilemma about whether to do MBBS or dentistry because both of them will become surplus in future as doctor say ,but MBBS can become the specialist in future. but the dentist ady fixed to be dentist ady .My family still persue me to take medic bcoz of my result . Apart from MAHSA , Recently I switch my IMU medic course(local) to dentistry , but my upu i all choose medic and it is high chance to get medic in usm, upm ,unisza , unisza or even ums .Even what local or private uni I go ,it will sponsored by JPA

      • Before some dentist snaps at you for being ignorant about their profession, here is a list of dental specialties one can specialise in after the basic dental degree:

        Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery (usually need medical degree as well)
        Paediatric dentistry

      • I apologize for my comment bcoz ignorant the dentist profession , sorry.

  155. Dear doctor, im sure you had been asked this question before, but how much is the starting salary of a dentist starting his housemanship? and how much is the staring salary of a doctor staring his housemanship? your help is greatly appreciated.

    • the starting take home salary for doctors is about RM 4000. Dentist usually gets about Rm 100 less.

      • Maybe i can give u a more more accurate very recent figure for West Malaysian states.
        Doctor starting his housmanship –
        Gaji pokok -RM 2778
        Allowances -RM 1550 (Cola vary from state to state)
        Flexi Hrs Allow -RM 600
        Total -RM 4928

        Haji pokok -RM2674
        Allowances -RM1476
        Total -RM4150

      • If I am not mistaken, the allowance for doctors and dentist are the same ( 250 + 300 + 750 + cola). I am not sure where the difference is coming from.
        If you include Flexi hours allowance, you must also include “on-call” allowance for dentist ( which can come up to RM 1000/month).
        Eventually, the difference in total salary is not much

  156. i think life as a medical student was quite enjoyable..i dont know what happen when housemanship happen..huh..for us in med school life here was amazing,theres a lot of studying but thats what we love to do..but again dont know whats gonna happen when HO,we never experience it yet

    • hiruzen,

      being a doctor is not about studying. It is about the application of knowledge and seeing patients. That’s why knowledge alone wont make a good doctor. You need to have the personal relationship skills in interacting with patients and knowing how to tease out history from difficult patients. All these are skills that will only come with regular patient contact and experience, which cannot be learnt from reading books!

    • Medicine is not about sitting in a room and studying. It is dealing with patients and managing patients. Patients do not present like text books. You need to know how to put your knowledge into practise.

  157. The tsunami is already here,The glut of doctors is not a fiction anymore but a fact.The authorities have identified that the local medical schools will produce 3800 doctors per year and approximately thousands more peryear will be returning from other Universities including the current 3 given recognition by the DG in his visit to China despite the fact a monetarium was agreed upon ,not to recognise any more medical schools.
    Let’s be practical,the countries resources in Malaysia for the trainiing of medical houseman has been stretched to a maximum,no way KKM will be able to cope with the increasing numbers..Both the Parents,students and medical faternity is asking for answers.We in the medical faternity do not want to end up like the nurses.More nursing schools are closing down due to poor intake as a result of excessive redundancy ,Some nurses are currently working in GP practises for $450/-.
    There is intense speculation and truth that a legislation to have a licenciate exams for all medical graduates completing the MBBS in the country and abroad will have to pass this exams.
    How and when this will be applicable may unfold in the near future.by the end of this year
    The owness is on the current local medical graduates who have been under intense scrutiny throughout their medical careers to stand and speak against this exam. Its not deniable that countries like USA,Canada,India ,Belgium,Sri lanka and Australia and NZ protect thier own turf by recognising their graduates and having exams only for the foreign graduates.
    Malaysia will be the only country in the world who will have exams for all graduates.If this be the case then the Accredition process should be taken off and Medical schools should not be .subjected to intense scrutiny .pertaining to number of intake conduct of exama,, curriculum spelt out to them.
    On these conditions the medical schools than will think its a fair game.
    The numbers of students in the UK,Aistralia Egypt number 300 to a class.
    What supervision do these schools have.
    Its time the Minister and his DG do some homework ,be practical in their approach to the current issues confronting the medical graduates

    • How exactly do you want medical schools to ” supervise” their students?
      Of course medical schools must be scrutinised before they’re given due recognition by the MMC, which as it is, seem lax as is.

    • Actually, the numbers will be more than that. We have at least 34 functioning medical schools which will produce at least 100-150 students per batch. However, mind you that some of these medical schools are running more than 1 program, thus the total batches of graduates can be equivalent to at least 45 medical schools. Do the Maths !

      Our previous previous DG wanted to introduce licensing exams for all foreign graduates but it was rejected by politicians in cabinet.

    • John Lynton: “Its not deniable that countries like USA,Canada,India ,Belgium,Sri lanka and Australia and NZ protect thier own turf by recognising their graduates and having exams only for the foreign graduates.”

      That is not entirely correct. For the USA, ALL medical students local or foreign, have to pass the Steps or USMLE, respectively. They are basically the same, a nationwide standardised testing of competency to practice as doctors.

  158. in egypt annually theres 200+ student in a university,however these students are divided into many groups and each group is only around 20+ people.isn’t this ok? they take turns going to tutorial and lectures.lecture group is done in 2 big halls.and the previous batch has another 2 big halls upstairs.

    • It’s all about student:teacher and student:patient ratios, as well as how the teaching is delivered. I’ll give you some examples …

      It doesn’t matter how many students are in a lecture theatre for didactic lectures, but what happens during these tutorials? Small-group teaching should ideally consist of 5-8 people per group and never more than 10. Having a smaller number allows interaction between students and between the facilitator and students. This interaction promotes active learning and critical thinking … with the caveat that these tutorials are designed appropriately and the facilitator knows how to facilitate. Good medical schools will have medical education units to teach their staff how to teach. If you have more than 10 students in a tutorial, it almost defaults to a didactic lecture and you might as well get rid of these not-so-small groups.

      Now, what about bedside teaching? No effective learning occurs when you march 10-20 students from patient to patient around the ward, with the clinician randomly questioning students. Smaller student numbers are needed for bedside teaching (e.g. 5 or less), which allows all students a chance to interact with the patient and the clinician to interact better with the students.

      Similarly, a small number of medical students attached to a team/firm or ward is much more desirable than 10-15 students sharing a ward of 20-30 patients.

    • For bedside teaching and tutorial, it should be atleast less than 10 students. The best is 5-7 students.

      • yeah it is only 5-7 students for bedside teaching and tutorial.its impossible for 20+ for that ! xD it means those 20+ will be further divided into groups..20+ is only for like histology tutorial

      • Haha.. UKM had one of the worst ratio. I remembered there was 12:1 ratio in tutorial. Bedside teaching? 5-7 students depending on clinical postings, but usually there is combined teaching Year 3 and Year 5 or 2-3 different groups. I was one of those who stood behind and almost fell asleep because it was too crowded. I saw the same in HKL where UPM students had large crowd doing a FULL COMPLETE examination per student on one patient when the is only a single targeted finding, hepatomegaly or MR murmur. (Perhaps only that particular group of student on teaching) Pity that patient. The teaching lecturer should have known better to allow the pt to suffer for 2 hours!

        Most of my colleagues here are from Ukraine, and they told me that Malaysian students there are not exposed to clinical patients and left to study in clasess during clinical postings, while their fellow Ukraininans medical students are exposed to clinical experience to be competent doctors. Perhaps it is their money making scheme! Whilst Egypt? It is kinda funny as 5 out of 6 graduates from Egypt told me the lecturers taught nothing and offered out of class tuition. Nevertheless, Middle East grads had been proven to fare poorer compared to Ukraine/Indonesian grads. (Maybe just a small sample of 6 here)

        Seriously, medical education had really gone down the drain. Just felt lucky that I managed to scrape through housemanship picking up the respective skills. That is provided you are out of Klang Valley hospitals. But then again, it is up to the individual if they are willing to learn and willing to go the extra mile to learn.

      • i’ve seen my friends in egypt and these are brilliant students,but we never know if they are just deluded by the idea that what they have learned is enough..i heard some stories even the top scorers senior there got scolded a lot by the HOs when going back in malaysia.it could just be bullying ,or really just lack skills. there are also seniors who give good news and they say its because they took extra tuition from the lecturers outside of their normal class..some do well,some do badly..and what i saw is theres still a lot of students playing around and wanna do just enough to pass and finish the study,repeating papers here and there.from my observation if they try hard and really study, they can succeed. however i think now that theres glut of doctors in malaysia the new batch will have a lot less chance to succeed in medicine..government should cut down the amount of medical student send locally or internationally and send off more to other fields that are more in demand. in egypt theres a whole community of malaysians there(many malaysians like to study there due to religious places), plus the situation there is getting unstable now,they stop sending new batches now in 2013/2014 due to the safety issue.

      • Most Malaysian who go to Egypt are government sponsored either JPA, MARA or Majlis Agamna. MARA have their own arrangement with universities in EGYPT with intake of about 1000/year.

      • 1000 Malaysians a year or the total intake?

  159. Hi Dr. Paga,

    Can MBBS graduate from local U after years of experience continue postgrad in foreign country i.e UK, Aus or NZ? How abt MBBS graduate from MMMC, PMC and IMU? Where can they take postgrad course?

    Thank you.

  160. Dr.Pagalavan,
    I have heard of cases in Malaysia in which those who have graduated with their degree in Biomedical Science(Biomed Sc.) pursue postgraduate Medicine in local universities.Dr.,I need your enlightenment on this.I am not sure which local universities provide postgraduate medicine.I also would like to know whether or not the duration for this course(postgraduate medicine) is 5 years.
    Thank you.

  161. Hi Dr.Pagalavan! I’ve finished my A-levels in June this year. I have got offer to study medicine from IMU and also Newcastle University Msia Medicine locally. I have been contemplating the pros and cons of studying in both universities and it is hard to decide. Based on your opinion, which one would you recommend? Your honest opinion would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your attention.

    • I would prefer IMU as they are more established

      • Thank you doctor. I’ve read some comments and I have questions regarding the postgraduate training in foreign countries. Can we still get the chance to pursue our postgraduate degree in foreign countries if let say I’m graduated from IMU local Programme?

      • Since your degree is not recognised elsewhere, you will not be able to work anywhere else unless you sit and pass the entrance exam of the respective countries with no guarantee that you will get a job.

      • That’s mean I can’t do my postgraduate degree elsewhere? Doctor, do you recommend student to pursue their medicine degree in Taiwan? Sorry for troubling.

      • yes. However you can still sit for MRCP/MRCPCH and MRCOG in Malaysia. Taiwan health care is based on American system. I would not recommend as you will find it difficult to cope with the Malaysian Healthcare system.

      • So if I have done one of these exams, am I available to do postgraduate degree in foreign countries? Thank you.

      • No, you are eligible to get a job there! it does not mean that you will get a postgraduate training post.

  162. Hai. Dr Paga….I want to enquire you about podiatry field in Malaysia…How is the job prospect ? Are there many podiatrist in our country? Thank you.

    • Podiatry is a very new field in Malaysia unlike overseas. In Australia, it is a 4 year course! It is very difficult to find podiatrist in Malaysia. I use to ask patients to go to Singapore for consultation.

  163. Hi Dr.Pagalavan!

    I’ve just completed year 13 (A-Level) at a secondary school (Ysgol Bro Pedr) in West Wales, United Kingdom. I’ve got 2A’s and a B and I’m very committed to study medicine. I’m thinking of going to Ireland (RCSI, UCC and TCD) but if I wanted to work in UK I’ve got to do the PLAB test. Next in option would be studying medicine in Malaysia (twinning programme) such as at IMU. What’s your opinion on this matter?

    Your response would be appreciated! Thanks…

  164. An article in Free Malaysia Today titled Medical Degree : A dream or nightmare? Interesting paragraph – My CGPA point was 3.96, but all the local universities rejected my applications. Thus I was forced to pursue my medical studies in a private college. She managed to obtain a RM150,000 loan from PTPTN while the balance amount RM250,000 was covered with her father’s savings and borrowings.
    She pays about RM2,000 a month to settle her education loans, including the PTPTN loan and she has to pay for the next 20 years.


    • That’s the reason why I keep telling people that it is not worth taking huge loans doing medicine. Remember she is paying RM 2000/month to repay education loans. Don’t forget car and house loan that will come along the way and family life! Many parents still believe that the investment is worth it because their child is going to make tonnes of money once they start working !

  165. Hi Dr.Pagalavan!

    I am puzzled in choosing between Melaka Manipal and NuMed for my tertiary study. Which uni would you suggest? Thank you !

  166. Just now i heard 1 russian agent said that moscow medical is better than UM..i think its funny..

  167. Hi Dr.Pagalavan. I’ve been offered to study medicine in IMU (locally) and in Manipal. I’m really confused between these two options that I have. Based on your exprerience, which one would you recommend? Your opinion would be much appreciated. Thank you.

  168. Dear Doctor, I am a Houseman currently working in a hospital in JB. I would like to specialise in opthal. Which is the fastest and safest way to get into opthal? I would like to start from my housemen yrs

  169. Hi Dr.. currently i m working as MO in one of the govt hospital in Malaysia. i had completed my 5 years compulsory services. the problem is i experienced a life changing event recently. i am now strongly inspired to go abroad for few years. i would like to continue my medical practice overseas but not sure where to go and how to start as I am graduated from Russian universty, Singapore does not recognize my basic medical. I want to know which country will allow me to work as MO with current qualification, and not require to sit for an entry exam. i have a tough decision to make and pls help me.. thnks Sir..

  170. Hello sir, it was a great relief after reading your article.. i really did gained lots of information. First and foremost thank you.
    Sir, I am going to sit form my SPM next year.. but i would like to gain some information from you for my further studies after SPM..
    I am planning to do Material Science Engineering.. is it in demand, sir?
    Should i proceed with this?
    Kindly advice.

  171. sir, this z sowmiya from chennai. I finished my mbbs .. now I’m getting an opportunity to do mch – minimal invasive robotic surgery in gynaec one year course in Anglia Ruskin university in UK. can I proceed with that. is that a right choice and will I b able to work in Singapore with that master degree ….

    • This is just an attachment course which will not be recognised in Singapore.

    • If your primary qualification is not recognised by Singapore, you cannot work in Singapore. This course is a simulation course, I don’t know why it needs to be 1 year long! It is NOT a clinically based course, you will NOT be allowed to do surgery, nor treat patients. To be recognised as a surgeon in UK, you will need to have completed a recognised foundation post basic degree, and then undergo surgical training for about 5-8 years depending on the speciality, and obtain both a surgical Fellowship and the CCT.

  172. yes.. my ug is not recognised in singapore…. so how do i proceed ?! will MRCP allow me to work in singapore?!

  173. Hi Dr Paga,
    I would like to take up medicine. Monash or IMU is better? I am going to study local degree.

  174. on February 7, 2014 at 10:28 PM | Reply Dr. Hassan javed

    Hi Sir ,

    I am Dr.Hassan javed (MBBS) graduated from PAKISTAN. I want to know about immigration process of Malaysia for Pakistani Doctors

  175. hye doc,
    i just got my spm results. i thought of pursuing my studies in medical. but i only got 5a’s 3b’s and a C. so wat am i suppose to do now. im quite blank in which field am i going to pursue.

  176. sorry i forgot to put my results in detail. i got A for my bm,english n maths;
    A- for moral and sejarah; B+ for my addmaths; B for my physics and chemistry; C+ for biology. i’ve just go through about medical ultrasonography.. can i know wat is the minimum requirements, and which is the best place to study if i want to study for that field. am i qualified? wat is ur opinion sir? or is there any other field for me??

  177. thank u doctor. can i get an opinion from your point of view, what should i study for with this results? do u think its worth studying TESL? or should i try something else?

  178. Hi doctor, I’m a SPM leaver with straight As. Since young, I’m very interested in medicine but as time passes by, I began to question myself whether I REALLY want to pursue medicine, mainly because of financial issues and etc. My parents kinda asked me to think through again about it, like maybe trying to go for something else like Pharmacy or Medical Imaging… I personally really enjoy biology and chemistry back in high school. I just want to get an opinion from your point of view on what course should I go for? And what’s Medical Imaging really like? On a side note, most probably I’ll ought to go for local uni.
    Thanks in advance! 🙂

  179. Dear Dr Pagalavan,

    Thanks a ton for the great informative sharing about life as medical doctor. It does imply a lot of input for me. Doctor is my ambition since childhood as I love and curious about treating diseases and understand the pathophysiology of each condition. As financial is the biggest obstacle in my life due to single parent family and failed to obtain JPA scholarship despite of distinction result,hence i joined nursing. I move pretty fast in nursing and manage to get the opportunity to work in Saudi Arabia as a charge nurse. I reapplied for MBBS with my diploma but unfortunately diploma is not eligible for the application. I do understand the life as doctor as they are part of my working colleagues. My passion to be a doctor does not stop due to my financial status. In fact, i work harder to save more money and apparently I am doing degree in nursing science in IMU. I am hoping to join MBBS in Malaysia local medical uni in 2016 which is within my budget to be a self sponsor student. As you mentioned earlier that job opportunity might get faded as years go by in medical field. It does create a red alert for me. Postgraduate does need a lum sum of money as you shared. I guess i will be the happiest person when I can get into MBBS programme within my own effort. In your opinion, would you encourage me to go forward and will there be any obstacle for me to go forward for postgraduate programme in near future? I wish to specialise in peadiatric intensive care and peadiatric cardiology. These are my favourite prospect as I am currently working in a specialised cardiac hospital, Paediatric cardiac surgical ICU. I do understand life in medical line is though where there is insufficient time for leisure amd family. Hope to get your piece of advise. I believe age does not stop us from learning. I am 26 this years and it is gonna be a big challege later..I am just afraid of my memory capacity.

    • You seem to be a determined person. My only concern is your age and I presume currently you are single. If you do get into medicine, you will be doing housemanship at age of 34/35. Still possible but by the time you finish postgraduate studies, you will be around 42-43, assuming you get everything on first try etc. You must also understand that with IMU degree, you can’t work anywhere else unlike your nursing profession.
      The problem I foresee is when you get married. Doing housemanship with a married life, worst still with kids, will usually end up with family problems. I have seen many who resigned and stopped practising after they got married. That’s why I always advise people not to get married before completing housemanship.
      Job opportunity is another issue altogether.
      BUT no one can stop you is you are determined.

      • Thanks for your opinion, Dr Pagalavan. I will surely take your advises into consideration. Nursing is a noble profession that provides holistic patient care, I do enjoy nursing but I find there are limitations for me to perform my role further when caring for patients. If I miss the chance for this time then I would proceed further in nursing career and be an advanced nurse practitioner. By the way, I read few posts before mentioning that IMU Medicine degree is not recognized in overseas. Can I still reserve a place in overseas uni for any postgraduate training? There are few programme in USA and Australia from conversion of RN into MD. Have you ever heard about it? Do you think MMC recognize it? Am I eligible for local university like UM or USA medicine scholarship application?

      • If your basic degree is not recognised overseas, you can’t do postgraduate education overseas as you will not get a license to practise medicine anywhere else.
        Postgraduate in medicine is FULL TIME working and Part Time studying.
        Yes, in some countries, a registered nurse can do graduate studies in medicine. US has been doing this for a long time and most developed countries are moving into this as well. Your MD must be recognised by MMC in order for you to work here.

        For US, you need to have a basic degree to enter the graduate medical school. UM very unlikely will take you as they concentrate on undergraduate medical school. You can try Perdana Graduate Medical school but again it is expensive and not recognised elsewhere.

  180. Hi, just want to highlight that MMC (Malaysian Medical Council) has strict regulation on medical admission in Malaysia. For example, even though SPM now is roughly modular ie can improve the bad result, but MMC only accept single sitting SPM plus others. If you want to proceed with graduate admission into medicine, the only choice in Malaysia is PUGSOM (Perdana University Graduate School of Medicine) which use John Hopskin’s syllabus. The program is 4-year program with each year cost RM250,000. (total RM1million)

    Personally (myself being a medical educatiionist), I would suggest you to further your nursing career and do Master/PhD and be a lecturer as there are lack of nursing lecturer with PhD qualification in local universities.

    Just like what Dr Pagalavan has stated earlier that during HO-ship you will be a matured person ie many responsibilities and the limitation to further study (limitation of further study for 40-year-old person in Msia) hence limiting you to further you dreams.

    Based on your desire in paediatric medicine, you can always do post-basic in paediatrics or even Master/PhD in paediatrics area. Your future will be brighter than HO (current situation) and still can teach HO and junior MO regarding paediatric area. For example in the UK, there is a position of nurse specialist whih usually run a specific follow-up clinic which only need medical supervision rather than medical-led nursing services.

    Another option is doing Master/PhD in Medical Education which currently I have 1 nurse doing Master and 2 nurses doing PhD (all are nursing lecturers)

    But, if you still determine to do medicine, by all means DO IT!! Not many future prospect as determine as you which I salute.

    Good luck and all the best!!

    • Dear Dr Nurman and Dr Pagalavan,

      I sincerely appreciate for your informative sharing. To be honest, I do find life is so challenging which I have to strive hard to get my own tuition fee to be able to sponsor myself in the field of MBBS. By the time when I am able to pay for it and with the subsidy from PTPTN then my age may be a constraint for me to move forward for any local or overseas postgraduate courses later. Is IMU MBBS twinning programme acceptable for future practice in overseas? In your opinion, should I approach MMC regarding recognition of universities before I make up my final decision? What I am doing now is to obtain and maintain CGPA of 4 in every semester in my current long distance full time degree programme so as to be qualified in any programme application in future years. I am really concern about the job opportunity as HO or MO in Malaysia as the numbers of MO are increasing. Again, I may not be lucky to get any application for postgraduate training. In additional,

  181. Hi Dr Pagalavan,

    I am a spm leaver. I am interested in medicine and determined to be a doctor since I was young. In your opinion, how is the mbbs program in msu and utar?

  182. erm…I cannot afford for their fees…wad else do u recommend?

  183. on April 10, 2014 at 11:27 PM | Reply Guay Kok Choon

    Hii Dr Paga, could you comment on Taylors University Medical program?.tq

  184. Dear Dr,
    Then is MBBS better or MD at overseas?

  185. Dr, could you comment on UKM’s Asasi Pintar program?

  186. One question, which malaysia uni is the best to do Medical Imaging?

  187. hi Dr, I’m SPM leaver with straight As and I’m interested in medicine. Do you think that I should join matriculation or STPM?

  188. Dear Dr Pagalavan,

    First of all, I would like to thank you for giving lots of advice for us, the future doctors. I’ve been reading your blog for almost 3 years now 😉

    So I need your piece of thought on something. I’m a medical student already in clinical years. After some time, I feel like pursuing medical research (as an interest & to escape being a doctor). Is there any way I can be a medical researcher/scientist without completing housemanship, like direct admission to master or phD program? And which local universities are best for this?

    Thank you.

    • Why did you do medicine?
      You can try to apply for some of the science Master’s program. But without housemanship, you can’t practice as a doctor

      • It’s because I was good in science subjects and even now, I like studying medicine and have a very good score. It’s just recently, we were told about the life as a doctor/HO in Malaysia nowadays and yeah it scares me a lot, plus the abundance of graduates. I’m just trying to explore possible job options other than being a doctor. I’ll look into the pros and cons.

  189. Dear Dr,
    I’m SPM leaver with straight As, and I decided to futher my studies to STPM. I’m interested in medicine.
    What is ur opinoin for me,?go to local uni or private uni. If I prefer local uni, which one is the best? I would prefer the mbbs program of the uni is recognised by our country oso…

  190. Actually… I’m given wif matriculation n most of my ttchrs n parents encouraged me to go for matriculation..but I heard tat stpm is harder than matriculation..so I wan to try..

  191. hello sir. I’m Dr. sowmiya from chennai. and my mbbs s not recognised in Singapore. if I do graduate research programme Msc/phd in NUS how ll b my career option after the course !?

  192. on May 11, 2014 at 1:48 AM | Reply priya buxani

    hi doctor pagalavan. i have a friend who is studying cardiology in indonesia in hasanuddin. he will graduate in a year. he has plans to look for a job in singapore. though i am aware that it is not listed as a recognized medical instituition in singapore, is there any way he could practice medicine in singapore?

  193. on May 11, 2014 at 4:05 PM | Reply priya buxani

    i do understand that singapore is strict in terms of the professional qualifications but is there any way that my friend can receive training in singapoore and be a registered doctor in Singapore?he already has 6 years of medical practice ( housemanship) now he is undergoing cardiology in hasenuddin university indonesia. i do know that some countries have medical entrance exams for doctors from foreign countries. i will be advising my friend to appeal through the singapore medical council website…hopefully that would do good. what do you think ?

    • You need to sit and pass the SMC exam. However, sometimes, the may consider exemption if you have certain number of years of service. You need to contact SMC. However, your cardiology training will not be recognised

  194. Hi Dr,
    I’m spm leaver with straight As and I’ll do matriculation malaysia then I’ll do medicine later on…which medical school is the best for me to study if I wish to study in m’sia only.. but later I might intended to work at other country such as s’gpoore or uk

  195. hello doctor. I would like to ask your opinion regarding these universities. I am thinking of pursuing medicine course. Lets say if I am offered USM, UM,UNIMAS, IMU, PERDANA, MONASH. And all of these will be sponsored by JPA. Could you list the universities according to your preference. Thanks

  196. Hi doctor regarding the exodus of lecturers from public universities, how badly do you think it will affect future
    Medical students in public universities and would it be better to actually go into private universities for further studies? Thanks

  197. Hi Doc..what is your opinion on the future prospect of Biomedical science in Malaysia?

  198. Hi Dr. I scored 4 flat in 2012 KPM matriculation programme and I am really interested in doing medicine. However, I failed to enroll myself in public universities (they did offer me Perancangan dan Pembangunan Bandar and I am non-Bumi) and the fees for private universities are too expensive. What is your opinion? What should I do?

    • If 2012, why only now applying for uni?

      • I graduated in may 2013, but i fail to get any of my chosen courses in public universities when they announced in Sept 2013, and now i’m having trouble to enroll in private universities to study medicine due to their freaking expensive programme fees…

  199. Dear dr,
    I’ve read a few of your articles and it has kinda shocked me of what is actually happening to the medical fields in malaysia.
    I have currently finished my alevels and i have received an offer from perdana university alongside an interview offer for jpa scholarship. I have also received an offer in biomed course at Sussex university in UK. My back up plan if say i didnt managed to get to med school once ive finished my alevels was to go for the bio med course in uk just to get a foundation in science bfore i apply for the postgraduate degree in meds.
    Well i have tried asking whether they would sponsor for the biomed degree and the answer is no.
    Therefore, i am a bit confuse on deciding which one should i take. I am very passionate about taking medicine but after reading your articles I’m just a bit worried about my chances of getting a placement for housemanship and a place to do my masters.
    Also is perdana university any good? Or should i just take the biomed course and apply for med school after i have finished my degree in biomed?
    Thank you .

    • Why worry about job when your passion is in medicine? Do a person who do engineering worried about the same issue? The system has already been screwed up by the government. Perdana has not produced any graduates but so far so good. However, I am sure you are aware that their campus is delayed and the so called teaching hospital may not even become a reality!

  200. Dear Dr, for private medical schools how would you rate melaka-manipal, aimst, uni kl-rcmp and uia? Tks

  201. Hello sir. Good evening. i just got an offer by MARA to pursue my study in UKM KL MD program with MARA scholarship. I just want to ask your opinion about UKM and also i got an offer from Taylor’s U for MBBS, also with Mara scholarship. Which one do I have to choose the best? Because i heard after 2016 Gov. will only prioritize medical student from public u and sholars only? is it true? thank you.

  202. hello dr,
    currently I am in a dilemma in choosing between private university or local university. I am a jpa scholar and have the liberty of choosing between both.

    From what I heard from my seniors:
    1) If I were to choose local uni, my postgraduate options are limited to Malaysia only and getting a postgraduate post in other countries would be tough,


    2) if i were to go into private uni (numed)/monash, my postgraduate options would be wider, however with the current MO/HO glut in hospitals I highly doubt that those in private uni would be given these post before pursuing their postgraduates.

    I would like to pursue my postgraduate degree overseas(preferably new zealand or ireland or UK) and work in malaysia.

    Pls advise and thank you.

    • whether you can do your postgraduate studies overseas or not depends on your basic degree recognition. Other than UM and UKM which is recognised in Singapore and Monash which is recognised in Australia/NZ, no other degree is recognised elsewhere. However, in order for you to be able to be registered in Australia (after doing Monash Malaysia degree), you must do your internship over there. This is where problems arise where less and less graduates are getting a job in Australia after graduating.The glut is not just in Malaysia but also in UK and Australia!

      It is not as simple as what you have said. Postgraduate degree in medicine is FULL TIME working and PART TIME studying. Thus, you need to get a job to do that. For this to happen, you need to fulfil each country’s registration requirements.

      • So let’s say if I completed Mbbs in UM and MO and HO positions, I would like to pursue postgraduate studies in New Zealand. So what are the steps to further my studies there?pls advise.

        Furthermore if I would like to pursue postgrad in singapore are the steps the same?

        Thank you for your kind advice

      • As for New Zealand, Nav has given the answer as below:
        “To work in NZ with an unrecognised degree, you have to sit the NZ Registration Exam (NZREX).

        The prospect of NZREX qualified doctors getting jobs in NZ has diminished significantly due to the glut in Australia affecting NZ. There is very little chance of getting a job here through that route.

        One option would be to finish your postgrad in Malaysia and have it assessed for equivalency by the NZ Medical Council – usually ends up with them saying that you may come in as a MO/Registrar but still does not guarantee you a training post here and also depends on the specialty as some are more picky than others. Again, the threshold for accepting overseas postgrad qualifications may change at any time as consultant jobs are also becoming more scarce here.”

        UM degree is recognised in Singapore. Thus you are eligible to apply for a job there. You will start as a MO if you do get a job after housemanship

      • To work in NZ with an unrecognised degree, you have to sit the NZ Registration Exam (NZREX).

        The prospect of NZREX qualified doctors getting jobs in NZ has diminished significantly due to the glut in Australia affecting NZ. There is very little chance of getting a job here through that route.

        One option would be to finish your postgrad in Malaysia and have it assessed for equivalency by the NZ Medical Council – usually ends up with them saying that you may come in as a MO/Registrar but still does not guarantee you a training post here and also depends on the specialty as some are more picky than others. Again, the threshold for accepting overseas postgrad qualifications may change at any time as consultant jobs are also becoming more scarce here.

  203. Hi Dr.

    My daughter is one of the 2014 STPM leavers who did not get a place in local universities for Pharmacy programmes, despite scoring 3.67 in cGPA. I have decided to send her to private universities to fulfill her dream and I would like to ask for your suggestion on which universities she should go as I am unfamiliar with science side.


  204. Can students complete Foundation courses within 3-6 months to qualify as proof to enter medical college? A question to ponder? No Objection Certificates not required anymore as many undergraduates are going on in universities without No Objection Certificates. Can they get the NOC after they got their degrees with low grades in SPM and instant Foundation courses which the hidden truth is one may never know if it was completed.

    • YES, this was common. Previously, as long as you have a recognised degree, you will be given a job. That’s the reason why MMC introduced the minimum requirement. However, with the current limited number of housemanship post, you may not get a job if you do not fulfil the minimum criteria.

  205. In India the best students cannot dream of getting into medical colleges at all. I notice low grades with unqualified students getting into this field. It is very sad that the medical profession allows it. I will never want to be a Doctor as deep down my soul I did not work hard on those important science subjects.

  206. Dear Doctor my frustrations are so adverse to look at the downfall in recruitment procedures by Agents in Malaysia I even forgot to greet you. My sincere apologies. We have a serious problem on the gradings Doctor.

  207. Hi Doctor,

    I have been offered a degree in Nutrition by USM (a course which I did not choose). Can you tell me about the future prospect for this course and is there any market for it?

  208. on August 20, 2014 at 11:39 PM | Reply The Road Not Taken

    Hi dr pagalavan.

    Im a local undergrad med student in final year. My peak of enthusiasm in doing medicine has lasted for 9 years.. until lately I was traumatised by the sleepless nights in oncall (without postcall), endless scoldings and tortures from supervisors and infinite number of beds to cover each day. Im glad the university tried to trained us in the hard way, in which most of us, the “spoiled” generation-y are lacking of prior to housemanship.. however, recently there’s a massive influx of students from another private uni (im sure dr know what i’m talking about), and now thr’re jz too little patients to clerk and refine our skills.. professional exam is around the corner, and the university is telling us “the job would not be guaranteed even if u passed”.. I do hope to see ur blog much earlier.
    I’ve attended an interview for singapore HO previously jz for the sake of fun, suprisingly they’ve accepted my application. Looking at the flooding of young drs in Msia, overlacking of structured program and training opportunity, plus intransparency of our system.. i feel very guilty, bt s’pore offer starts to attract my attention.
    I developed a certain interest in surgical/orthopaedics field, in which s’pore would only allow one Msian for its residency out of many years.. although i’m might not as keras kepala to insist on surgical field.. Do dr know the ratio of msia MO who registered and gt master program for surgery? how about orthopaedics and internal medicine? What’s ur opinion in my situation dr? And.. Is S’pore moh a trap?

    # Final request: I pledge dr for not revealing tis mail to other medical staff, as thr’re rumours tat we might be failed delibrately for considering going to s’pore.

    Thanks so much for sparing ur time to read tis.

    • As a local public uni graduate, you will be in a better position to get a job. However, there may be a waiting list.
      Doing training in Singapore have their own problems. Popular fields are usually given to their citizens followed by PRs. Of course, you need good recommendation from Head of departments. So, it is not as smooth sailing either.

      It is going to be the same everywhere you go. Of course in Malaysia, you have a quota system as well!

  209. hi, myself Dr.kiran kumar babaubhai sodavadiya, i am completed my MBBS and MD in Biochemistry from india(MCI recognized university.).
    i want to do job at malasiya. so any kind of vacancy related to my degree , so please let me know and give your e-mail address so i can approach you..

    thanks in advance……

  210. Hi dr! I find your blog very informative and useful for us who intends to pursue a career in medicine. I have just finished my matriculation programme this year and applied for dentistry of um and usm. However, i was sent to a non ru university instead to study food tech. May i know if dr has any idea if this course is good? And since NUMed still has place available for this september intake, i am thnking of transfering there. Now the thing is, is there a BIG difference between dentistry and medicine from both syllabus and after graduation? The working area? I need some advice from you dr, thanks for spending your time reading my comment.

  211. Hello sir, im dr.hashim rahman from india I wanted to enquire about scope of pmr(physical medicine and rehablitation in uk and exams to write for workins as a physiatrist in uk.Im planing to do md in pmr is it good,? hw is scope in foriegn country us ter ny xamz like mrcp for pmr?

  212. on September 18, 2014 at 2:44 PM | Reply SRI RISHIKHESHEN MURUGAN

    Hi doctor. I always keep up-to-date with your articles. I’m a 2nd year medical student in National Defence University of Malaysia (UPNM) and a JPA scholar. I’m a civilian student here (unable to become a cadet officer due to BMI). I’m aspired to become an orthopedic surgeon. What is the path that I have to go through after graduate? I’m interested to join armed forces. Any chances there? Thank you doctor.

  213. hello sir,,
    I am a pakistani student of final year in Bishkek Kyrgyzstan , in International School of Medicine ,,, sir i want to do my PG from Malaysia and also want to apply for job in Malaysia so is it possible? if Not why? if yes How? thanks

  214. how about the supply of fresh graduates for year 2020 and the coming years? will it still be saturated or otherwise?

  215. HI dr paga.

    Let me just get a better understanding after read most of your articles.

    1. You point is that someone should not study med just for the sake of lux and fame as they will have huge debt for their edu loan.

    2. Tv shows like greys anatomy , house etc does not reflect the real life as a doctor.

    3. Your noble heart of wanted to save peoples life may be burried as result of mushrooming med school which leads to oversupply of med stud and lack of HO post and exposure of training.

    4. Standardized of Pre U qualification (AUSMAT, SAM, STPM ETC) should be taken to overcome this issue of oversupply med stud as many of untrusted qualification ( foundation of the university itself) are now accepted.

    5. Ones may cont study med if thats the passion BUT the HO placement and training exposure is the thing to be worried about in future.

    Correct me if I’m wrong. I wanted to do med but thinking of the bigger picture and the real situation now, really turned me down as the future might not be as expected.

  216. Hi Dr Pag,

    I’m currently a medical student in the University of Warwick with only a year and a half to go. I obtained my first degree (Biochemistry and Molecular biology) in Monash University, MelbourneI. I’ve been following your blogs quite religiously I must say and appreciate your thoughts and insights regarding medical education and the health care system in Malaysia. In a few of your posts you mentioned the decline in the science and art of hypothetico deductive diagnosis reasoning while history taking and carrying physical examinations. The Doctors here emphasize history taking and its utmost importance into coming up with a definitive diagnosis. They also emphasize here on communication and the biopsychosocial model which covers the patients problems holistically. Hence better outcome for patients. I’m in a conundrum here at the moment. I’ve been guaranteed a housemanship position for 2 years when I graduate which is ever so tempting. However you can label me as a patriot and I love my country, my state, Sarawak, my people. At the end of the day, I know I want go back. But medicine is not like any other profession. Given the difference in epidemiology of diseases, culture, ways of practice, modes of treatment, communication, behavior, etc.. I feel as though if I do stay here and go back years later the practice of medicine in Malaysia may just give me a culture shock and to get use to it may take some time. However if I do go back in 2016 I will have to face the current and future problems of our health care system. I’m not afraid to face because medicine to me is a way of life and i do it solely for my passion to help people and my scientific curiosity, not only on a small scale but also on a national scale. Given the despair faced by many Malaysians recently, and I dont blame them given our poor administration, I still do believe that Malaysia will succeed one way or another. If you were in my position, what would you do? And also, I would like to ask you your thoughts on graduate entry medicine? It’s being practiced in America for quite some time and the UK and Aussies are adopting it into their system as well. The students in my year are very matured, intelligent, good clinical judgement, good communication skills and they take the medical course very seriously.

    • Graduate entry students are definitely more matured than SPM leavers. Furthermore, most of them decided to do medicine due to passion and real interest and some of then would have tasted working life.
      If I were you, I will stay back to complete my specialisation. If you come back, you will never be able to get AMC registration since you did not complete your housemanship in Australia.

      • I totally agree. I’m not doing my medical degree in Australia. I completed my biochemistry degree at Monash University. I’m currently doing the graduate entry course at the University of Warwick with only a year and a half to go till I graduate.

      • Then complete your housemanship in UK at least. GMC registration can be accepted in Australia.

  217. […] For Future Doctors | Pagalavan’s Avatar – I started writing information and articles for future doctors since September 2010. All these years as a doctor, I have seen many young doctors and even colleagues …… […]

  218. Hello doctor,
    I would like to thank you for your time as well as your brief but informative remarks and responses to us readers of this blog.
    I have been interested to study medicine since young, however I must admit the interest stemmed from a HK drama program. *guilty*
    However since then I have taken it seriously by taking an actual look at medicine as a degree from manuals and guidebooks, researching about sub-specialist aspects online and also following your blog! 🙂
    I am from an average family background, and am entering Pre-University next year. I do want to study medicine very much, and I have been an A student for the majority of my subjects in O-Levels with an occasional B (AddMath) , but I do not want to be a burden to my parents to fund such an expensive and long period of study for me and also I do not want to add on to Malaysia’s current problem of overflowing undergraduates in medicine. But I do believe I am different, because I truly do have the “PASSION” which you speak of.
    Do you have any advice to someone like me, and a realistic prediction of the medical field in our country by the time I will graduate/ work? Any possibility of me making it overseas?
    -Wanting to pursue my passion,

    • Do what you feel you are interested and would spend the rest of your life doing it. The medical field will be crowded by the time you graduate. As for working overseas, that depends whether your degree is recognised elsewhere.

  219. Thank you Dr paga, thanks a lot for your time to give us these precious information, I don’t know whether it’s good to read up your blog before submitting my application of medicine. I worked hard to reach the level sufficient to read medicine and worked even harder to secure the kpm-jpa scholarship, when I think “finally, i had overcome the financial problem and personal ability to become a doctor!”, and now I realise its just a start. I am prepared to serve the country after graduate, not thinking breaking bond, and willing to go to rural area to serve the people. What I worry most is do I still need to struggle with life after many years serving the country? After many years of study, will my hard work pay off? I am not expecting to become a millionaire, but what I am expecting is not to worry about living,at least for my parents and child next time after sacrifice so much for the nation. The question of mine is can I still hope that our health care system to be improved in the future? On this…nearly hopeless…boleh land…I appreciate so much that government has sponsored my study,I really do, but I think the system just need to be improved(particularly referring that it should be free of politics influences). We need more selfless people like Dr Paga to raise the concern. Thanks again Dr Paga. Salutes. By the time, I better think twice( maybe ten), whether to risk my entire life in this…risky field, for the passion that I am having for nearly ten years. Hope I make the best choice out of limited time here,wish me luck!

  220. A question doctor, do you think that government will cancel the 10 years bond on jpa scholars at the year 2019 since they got no vacancy?What I am more concerning now is to get training done oversea after graduating there. I just don’t want to end up killing people just to fulfil my own passion. Getting training done oversea so that I can cure instead of killing Malaysian next time…the problem is I’m bonded, just want to get your comment. Thank you so much.

    • I don’t think they will cancel the bond but they will stop giving scholarship .  Sent from my BlackBerry Passport smartphone. From: Pagalavan's AvatarSent: Sunday, 7 December 2014 2:16 AMTo: pagal72@gmail.comReply To: comment+e1mzncvemms9216jzaeix1ocj88@comment.wordpress.comSubject: [Pagalavan’s Avatar] Comment: “For Future Doctors”

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    • I don’t think they will cancel the bond but they might stop giving scholarship all together.

  221. This is my 2cents.
    1. Most of students from matriculation or STPM or A level who just enter medical school simply do not know that there are so many subjects to study. (anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pathology, pharmocology) There is no time for facebook, movies and what not.
    2. Many people read for exam purpose but in clinical, everything is based on knowledge. Lecture notes should not be the reading materials, it is the just the outline or learning objectives, last thing to read in this world. Medical students should learn how to study effectively.
    3. Most of students do not know that in clinical years, they have to go oncall, clerk patients, perform physical examination, present cases, finish case write up and bla bla. It is not just rotting lecture notes and score good marks.
    4. All clinical methods can be mastered only by practice even you are a genius with straight 10A+. If one dont like reading, studying or learning, he/she should leave medicine earlier.
    5. many medical schools do not have enough clinical lecturers. Some are from overseas. Clinical methods including history taking and physical examination should be taught by specialists only. hx taking and PE are the fundamentals of clinical practice. It is an art where communications skills are important.
    6. many students dont know why they choose medicine. Parents/peer pressure or just simply dont know which course to choose with good results are the main reasons for entering med schools.
    7. Improve english, all presentations, seminars, books, journals are in english. Sorry for my poor english.


  222. hi dr,
    im just wondering can a left-handed person be a doctor or dentist?

    • if that person is a left-handed..is it going to affect her jobs as doctor or dentist?

    • I don’t see any problem with it

    • From point of view of design of surgical instruments, most are designed based on biomechanical movements that are more natural to right handers. But of course this is purely the perspective of a typical right hander!

      Most lefties get so accustomed to standard (right hand biased) instruments that their use feels no less natural, such is the adaptability of the human brain to repetitive movements and manuevers. There is also good evidence in research that handedness has no bearing on surgical competence.

      This applies to everyday life as well. For example, screws are designed to tighten with clockwise turns since supination is the more powerful movement for a right hander. But most left handers happily put screws in with their left hand with pronation movements without any awkwardness due to acclimatisation. A further example is the design of standard scissors which are truly made for right handers. Yet give a left hander a pair of “left handed scissors” and they will often find them awkward to use since they have probably only ever used standard scissors their entire lives!

  223. Hi Dr.

    My spm result not so good so I retake again to pursue my medicine although all the people around me won’t agree with the action I done. I had take stpm before and the result ably 2 subject pass and my friend same with me she take foundation in science and will entry medicine this september’15. Be a doctor for me not for the reputation and become a millionaire but is for the dream for me to help the people who are happened something sadly when young like me. So, will I currently waiting my spm retake result this year 2015 and I was so be seized with fear what is the next step of my medicine study cause I want study abroad in India and has find a medicine university near my aunt house which stay at india. So she advices me take the same qualification equivalent as stpm like A level. So may I know foudation in science, AUSMAT is same as stpm? And I retake my spm haven’t retake the math and add.math regarding to the info. I get the ministry of health will see our spm result for science subject minimum need all B but math and add math get C and D only so if I take same qualification equivalent course as stpm sambil need to retake spm again. But those won’t stop me for chasing my medicine dream. Cause most of my family wasn’t agree the action of mine and suggest me study account but I still be brave to chase although I am 22 yrs old now. Isn’t my choice is the right one?

    • Personally I feel you are making a mistake in pursuing this field. You simply do not have the qualifications or the standard of English required.

      MMC has come up with a clear guideline. Please read my post on minimum entry criteria. SPM do play an important role and without the required guideline, you may not get a job. Only STPM, A level and few more establish PreU courses can supersede SPM results.

      If you want to help people, there are many ways to do it.

  224. FYI, MMC wont accept repeat SPM result and will take highest qualification ie your STPM (first attempt). Hence your only option will be overseas.

  225. Thank you Dr.!😄
    Wish you health and happy always throughout your life.

  226. hi doctor,is management science university is a good university (msu) to do mbbs programme ? thank you in advance

  227. So nice for you to speak out the truth, I thank you for your courage. After 3 years of medical school in Australia I given up in disgust of the way I have been treated. The so call dream of doing medicine is nothing but a broken promise.

  228. Hi Doc,
    I am currently taking A levels ( math, phy, chem,bio). I have received some offers for MBBS both locally and oversea ( IMU, NuMed, Glasgow and National university ireland of galway). Due to financial difficulies, I have to let go Glasgow and NUIG. Do you think this is the right choice? Are there any sponsorship I could apply for both uk and ireland other than JPA? What’s your advice if I have to choose between IMU and NuMed? For IMU, what’s your opinion on PMS or 5 yrs local programme?

    Hope to hear from you soon. Thank you.

  229. My son intends to apply for medicine course from Hong Kong University, IMU or Monash Malaysia. Which university is better in terms of quality and career prospects?


  230. on March 3, 2015 at 11:27 AM | Reply Evelyn Chong

    Hi Doc,

    Given a choice, my son would prefer to work overseas. He would be completing his A-Level in June 2015. He got 3As and 1B in the AS.


    If he is accepted by Hongkong University, he will have to do the housemanship in Malaysia or Hong Kong? Is medicine degree from HKU recognised internationally i.e is he able to work in Malaysia, HK or any other countries?

    IMU (local)

    If study in IMU (local), is that he only could do his master to become a specialist in Malaysia? Any other way to do it overseas? Any chances to work overseas? Could not afford the IMU twinning.

    Monash U (M’sia)

    If study in Monash University Malaysia, understand that the medicine degree would also be recoginised in Australia and New Zealand, is it correct? Can he do his master/specialist in M’sia, Australia or NZ later?

    If yes, would he be able to work in Malaysia, Australia or NZ or any other countries later?

    In terms of preference, how do you rank the 3 universities above.

    My son has the passion to do medicine although many people including doctors had told him that to become a doctor is not easy and the current situation.

    Sorry for asking many questions as I and my son want to be clear before he enrols to the university.

    Thanks very much for your advice in advance.

    • HKU – not recognised in UK or NZ or Canada. Not sure about Aus or Ireland. Even if it were, you have to make sure that you get full registration in HK by working there immediately after graduation and I don’t know if that is possible because I am not familiar with their immigration laws.

      IMU (local) – no international recognition in any developed country.

      IMU (PMS) – qualifying from the PMS is just as good as going there directly. Working opportunities will depend on the prevailing conditions in each country at that time. Laws and social/job circumstances and change any time.

      Monash U M’sia – not as good as qualifying from a university based in Australia for purposes getting a job. You cannot do specialisation in Aus/NZ purely based on your primary degree. They will look at whether or not you have registration (which you get by working for 1 year immediately after graduation) and where you have been working so far. In almost all instances, specialisation is a privilege and not up to you, though I acknowledge that some specialties are less competitive than others.

    • I think you should spend some time reading this blog, especially the future doctor page. The answers are there.

      1) HKU is recognised in Malaysia. Thus you can either do housemanship in HK(if you can get a post) or in Malaysia. As for other countries, it depends on whether the HKU degree is recognised in those countries.

      2) IMU local program is NOT recognised elsewhere, thus you can’t work in any other country without sitting for their entrance/licensing exams with no guarantee.

      3) Monash Malaysia is recognised in Australia/NZ. However, the chances for you to get an internship post there are very slim. Only less than 5 out of 100 manage to secure an internship post for 2015. If you do not do internship in Australia/NZ, you will not be able to get a job/work there, which also means you will not be able to do any specialisation overseas.

      Ranking, of course HKU will be the top. IMU and Monash are OK.

  231. Hi Doc. I have a C for Chemistry in SPM. if I can do very well in A-level and get a good grade, am I still qualified to study MBBS and become a doctor/

  232. No. In Malaysia, if u want to do medicine, MMC set minimum 5B in SPM including sciences subjects and need to satisfy each institution’s criteria. Soon the minimum SPM scores will be upgraded.

  233. We (one of the IPTA) just had a meeting earlier this week regarding student selection process. The candidates will be filtered using their SPM results first before the ALevel/STPM/Matriks result. The info comes from the panel of MMC minimum requirement for enrolment into medical program taskforce.
    Last year MMC had rejected a candidate with recognized PreU programme of 4.00 but SPM Physics was C. Soon the SPM requirement will be upgraded.

    • Then, they should update the guidelines asap before this year’s intake! At the moment the guidelines says that A-levels, STPM can supersede SPM results. Personally I feel that SPM should not be used as a sole criteria. It would be better if MMC just limit the intake by using only certain established 2 years Pre-U courses

  234. The MMC website currently is not working well. I called them up this morning because my registration detail was missing. They informed me that to confirm anything from MMC, need to call them directly (sigh!). But I will bring up your comment to the panel next week. Thanks.

  235. Hello,may i ask if there’s any urm hospital attachment after spm just to get to know how is the real situation in hospital is because i’ve read some article and i’ve come across ‘hospital attachment’ for youngsters to know what will they got themselves into if they choose medicine,does this ‘attachment’ thing exist?

  236. would you encourage people nowadays to study medicine or pharmacy if they are interested in both fields

  237. Hi dr, i was a cadet member of St.John Ambulance Malaysia. If i get a recommendation letter from the officer, will i have a chance to get into local universities?

  238. Hi Dr.
    I need an advice on which path that I should choose after spm to pursue my undergraduate studies in medicine.
    Should I take up A-levels or matriculation?
    I do not have problem with both.
    However, I’m worried that if I was to choose matriculation I will not be able to get my choice of programme even with excellent results.
    I hope u could enlighten me with the best choice to make.
    Thank you.

    • Depends on where you want to do it!

      • Hey doc i am having the same problem as well.i am qualified for kpm bursary but i don’t know whether i should take up A levels or perhaps matriculation.as far as i know it is hard to get into local universities using A levels and i might have to end up in private universities e.g. imu but if i get the offer either from local uni or imu after my pre-u,i will be sponsored for my degree programme under jpa,which path do you think will be better for my future.matriculation and then local university or perhaps A levels and then into private university like imu(considering if i am not going overseas)?

      • If you are fully sponsored, take A level and go either local private or overseas universities.

  239. Dr, I want to ask,, what is the difference between MD and MBBS? And what is your opinion about someone who study medical school in Jordan? Thank you.

  240. So basically what yo’re saying is that Malaysia have too much doctors. Well then, what do you think would be the right course of action to take in order to overcome this problem?

  241. Lol I forgot to say thank you

  242. […] To those who are planning to pursue Medicine in the future, please spend some time reading news in the internet or newspaper, please do not choose Medicine for the wrong reason. I recommend those who are interested in doing Medcine or still thinking, please give yourself some time to read Dr. Pagalavan ‘s blog. […]

  243. Sir,
    Thanks for your insightful post.
    Can I ask about the prospect of biomedical engineering/ and studies around that field? As a developing country , it seems to me that these fields haven’t reach their full potential.
    So Dr.Paga, do you know well about these fields?
    It may be rude but can I ask for someone in these fields to refer to?
    A million Thanks

    • Yes, you are right that our country is still not developed enough to cater for such jobs. Biomedical engineering is more research based. However, if you get a reputable degree, you can apply jobs in other countries. In Malaysia, you can even do teaching, work in pharma companies or research.

  244. Hello doctor ,can you suggest me the best ipts uni to study medicine ?

  245. Doctor ,i have some questions in term of degree recognition of medical school in malaysia ,firstly ,is medicine programme in pmc is recognise in uk as they do twininng programme with some ireland university .secondly ,how about nuMED ? They said their degree is recognise by the uk also ? Or its just a marketing part of their bussiness ?

  246. Dear Dr Pagavalan,

    Thank you Dr for the insightful post. I have recently been accepted into University of Cork Ireland (recognised by MMC) for my medical degree. My entire education life was basically spent at international schools. Could Dr shed some light if I would need to take any further examinations (and in bahasa?) upon graduating and returning to Malaysia?

  247. Doctor, what is ur opinion regarding Traditional Chinese medicine?

    • Full of steroids except acupuncture

    • Nonsense beliefs with no scientific basis whatsoever. There is probably a placebo effect and there are many reports of active medications inserted (e.g. steroids) so that there will be an effect.

      Prior to the 1950’s, TCM was given equal status to that as seeing a bomoh or shaman. Then Mao Zedong came along and killed or imprisoned all the intellectuals and they suddenly had a severe shortage of doctors. TCM was promoted to fill a gap, and the teaching of it was formalised to make it look scientific. This practice of placing a scientific veil over what is really nonsense has also been done with chiropractic and homeopathy. So now you have the case where these courses are taught in universities alongside mainstream medicine. But unless you believe in magic, it is pretty much nonsense.

  248. doctor ,what are the chances of getting postgraduate in malaysia for medicine ?

  249. Dear doctor, i graduated with a medical degree in 2008. After doing my housemanship for 2 months, i went MIA for one year before i officially tendered my resignation. After facing the limited job prospects for only having a medical degree without completing houseman, i am contemplating whether i should rejoin housemanship again. Since i graduated in 2008 and have not practiced since my resignation, is there any obstacle for me to rejoin housemanship..?? Is the procedure for rejoining same with a fresh graduate applying for houseman..?? Will my past record affect my chances of getting a posting..?? Please advice. Thank you doctor.

    • Firstly, with the current waiting list and limited number of post, you may have some problems in getting a job. Furthermore, it will only be given on contract basis since you resigned earlier. Secondly, You will need to restart housemanship all over again, 7 years after you left medical school. Do you really think you can still remember whatever you had studied in medical school. It will be like going to a medical school rather than housemanship. You may end up repeating some of the postings etc.

  250. on June 16, 2015 at 3:49 PM | Reply Johnny James

    Dear Dr,will you recommend Bangladeshi medical colleges like Dhaka Medical College or Chittagong Medical College

  251. Hello there! Im a 4th year medical student and im currently having doubts on quitting medicine. Growing up in an indian family, the moment i said i wanted to do medicine at the age of 12 that was the only thing that stuck into my dad’s head up till i completed SPM. I never looked into anything else and i never had the chance to pursue other career forms because medicine has been stuck in my head and theirs for a very long time.Upon completion of my pre university exams, i enrolled in a local university that offered a twinning programme in india. Pre clincial years in india was alright and passed thorugh the years there but one thing that never changed was the fact that upon completing the yearly examination, every year since the 1st year itself i have been wanting to quit the course solely because i never liked the subjects and the pressure there. Dad never allowed me to do so with the reason that i have already made it through half way and if i quit now ill have to start over with something else and thats going to take up more time and money. Speaking to seniors from the same university told me that it gets better during clinical years so i hung on patiently. Being in the 4th year now, i have never once been happy in this instituition, speaking to my friends about it they seem to share the same idea about this place too.The thought of wanting to quit got worst when i came back to malaysia for my clinical years. With the new system in the school it feels like we are living in a pressure cooker. Instead of it being a 5 year programme it has now been reduced to 4 and the 1/2 years and the remaining 6 months we are supposed to be shadowing housemans which means we are entirely on our own . Instead of doing a year each for year 3 and 4 its now compressed to a year and a half for both year which doubles the pressure, the stress and everything else for people like me. I like what im doing here in the clinical years but i dont know if the problem lies within me or the instituition. . I love the clinical years the subjects and everything else but im never happy and nothing much changed about how i felt since year 1. I dont want to blame the system and i dont know if i would have been happier if i was in a different university. Now halfway through 4th year, it feels like im giving up already. My grades have been falling tremendously and i am disinterested in everything else regarding medicine. Some say i am having a burn out. I dont know how much longer i can keep up . If i quit medicine now, i dont know if i can do anything else or join anyhwere else without having to start over. Being so close to the finish line for mbbs, i dont want to quit but i cant keep up any longer. What do you suggest i do doctor?

    • If you can’t even handle the stress in medical school or dislike the training, how are you going to handle it after you graduate?? IT is a more tougher and stress full life after that. It looks like you chose medicine for wrong reasons without knowing what it is all about.
      IF you feel that it is not a job for you, you can still quit and talk to the university whether you can change course. Sometimes 1-2 years exemption can be given if you enrol in another medical related field like pharmacy etc.

  252. Dear doctor, I suffered from high degree of sightedness, it is gonna to affect anything if I wan to be a doctor?

  253. Hi doctor. I have read almost all of your article in the ‘for future doctors’ section. at first i would like to further my degree in mbbs since i got straight A+ in my spm but right now im intending to further my studies in psychology. is it have a good job prospect in msia and is it okay? what is your opinion? thanks

  254. Dear dr,
    I have bilateral hallux valgus , do I need to state it in my health examination report?

  255. Hello Dr.
    I m a A-levels graduate and i have read through
    And i alrdy got the unconditional offer from NUMed.
    But i heard rumour that NUMed is quite a distance from its hospital, besides,we are being possibly be posted to some rural KK for clinical year.

    Here’s my questions,
    1. Between IMU-PMS and MONash m’sia which is a better choice in terms of quality of teaching and the experience of clinical years regardless the recognition from other countries?
    2.If the 2 stated above uni are not good enough, suggest any private medic uni in malaysia which is good.

    However, here’s my main concern, can i turn down the offer from NUMed if i have alrdy accepted the offer? HOW?

    • Yes, NUMED is far from their teaching hospitals. I heard they do provide transport.

      1) IMU-PMS will be a better choice if you ca get a reputable university

      2) NO comment

      Anyone can turn down any offer !

  256. BTW, is ireland producing capable and competent doctors? and r there recognised in malaysia?

  257. Dear Dr,
    I heard someone can get the degree for both dentistry & MBBS. May I know is it like 5 years for dentistry and another 5 more years to get MBBS+ 2years HO?

  258. Dear Dr,
    Is there any compulsory service required to be done by dentist?

  259. Hello Dr, my name is Amira and I am currently doing my Foundation in Science. I’m planning to pursue my studies to Moscow, Russia after I have completed my FiS next year in the Medicine field. By any chance Dr, are you aware whether or not Moscow First State Medical University is recognised by the European countries? If not, the only choice left for me is to quit FiS and to take A-levels to continue my studies in the UK. This is because, I just got to know yesterday from my mom’s friends who are also doctors that IGCSE is not accepted if you’re planning to work in Malaysia. And I just sat for my IGCSE last year. They only accept SPM qualification and the only way you can work in Malaysia with the IGCSE qualification is for you to have your Masters qualification first. Is this true? I do hope you will reply to my question. I really need to make up my mind on this matter as soon as possible while I’m still in my first semester of my FiS. Thank you Dr.

    • IN order for you to get a job in civil service, you need a pass in SPM Bahasa Malaysia. That’s all that is needed, as far as I know. Recognition depends on each country. For UK, anyone who graduate outside UK need to sit and pass their PLAB exams. Even then, as a non EU citizen, the chances of you getting a job in UK is almost NIL. If your intention is to work in UK, then go to UK for your undergraduate.You can still get an internship job in UK after graduating under student visa. Don’t bother about Russia. As long as your medical degree is recognised in Malaysia and you have SPM BM paper pass, you can get a job in Malaysia as civil servant.

  260. Dr, is medicine course of New Castle in JB recommended (compared to Monash)? thank you

  261. Hi Dr Pagal,

    I heard that currently UM is using the new system known as UMMP, what’s your opinion regarding this new system?

  262. Hello Dr.Pagalavan,
    Im a medical officer in my first year of MO-ship. i obtained my MBBS from MMMC (Manipal University) and completed 2 years housemanship training here. I intend to take up pathology, and Im thinking of doing AMC and pursuing Masters in Australia/NZ if it is possible. However, after reading your blog, i think that seems quite impossible.. What do you think are the options that I have?

  263. on October 6, 2015 at 8:30 PM | Reply gurichhamalik

    Hi Dr, i have been wanting to become a doctor since I was 5 years old and as i grew older, the idea of becoming a doctor was extremely exciting for me because i thought it is going to be an amazing thing do, to save lives and all that. Now I’m 18 years old, currently doing my A Levels, and I am slowly beginning to change my mind. I definitely don’t want to work here in Malaysia. I was thinking of studying in the UK and then working there but first of all the cost is extremely high and I would be a Non-EU student so when it comes to applying for an internship, it would probably be impossible for me to get it straight away. And also, there are thousands of doctors, but they still cannot cure a disease. Why is that? Because doctors only treat patients right? They dont investigate the root of the problem, and thus no matter how many doctors we have, the disease will be still lurking in the air. I have an open mind on what i would do in the near future, and I’m currently looking at Human Genetics.They offer this course in a few universities in the UK, which is the place I want to go and it will be for only 3 years so the cost will not be as high as doing medicine. By doing this course, I can find cures, the root of most problems and the world can be a better place. I’ve spoken to my parents about it and they are worried that it would not be easy to get a job and if I do, I won’t earn as much as a doctor would. I just don’t see the point of studying for 10 years plus, with specialization etc. and still not being able to do what I really want to, which is truly making a difference. What are your thoughts on this Dr?

    • You are absolutely correct. What can doctors do without medications, equipments and facilities. These are not created or invented by doctors (except hundred years ago where doctors were researchers first). We use what was created by others who are generally not clinical doctors.
      Your parents view that “you won’t earn as much as doctors” is also flawed.

      Do, what you think will interest you most and you can prosper. The way I see it, you will not enjoy being a doctor.

  264. Dear Dr,

    I am currently studying mbbs at UM, however they changed the system to UMMP. I am interested to work in Singapore after completing mbbs. Since they changed to a new system, will SMC still accept me after graduation?

  265. Dear Dr,

    let’s say if a medical student graduates on 2020 and he or she can only work as HO in Malaysia regardless of what university she graduated from? and yet the posting of HO required a long time to wait for it?

  266. Dear Dr. Pagalavan Letchumanan,

    I am not a seasonal writer, but I hope you will understand what I am about to say and ask.

    I am writing on behalf of my friend who is having a career crisis. She graduated from medical school, completed houseman ship in Malaysia and currently serving for the government.

    However the complication is, she was charged with bad discipline act by Kementerian and now is paying for it. Which mean no bonus, no promotion and no pay rise for certain duration of time (2 years if I am not mistaken). Her pay currently is the same as a HO but she is a MO and this will continue for the next 1 year or so (It depends on how fast the Kementrian with their paperwork). She wasted / delayed 2 years in serving her punishment due to the slowness in Kementrian paperwork but that is a different topic. Which means 4 years no increment, no bonus no promotion and no masters opportunity.

    Now she is confused on her career path. She is planning to leave the government and work at clinics or hospital or take any other opportunity available besides struggling for the government. At the same time sit for her MRCP paper privately.

    Do you think it is advisable for her to leave the government job? What is the future like for her? What is the best option for her? She is very interested in Emergency Mendicant.

    I tried looking for similar situation in you blog but was not able to find anything. Please advice.

    • You must understand that in order for you to do any specialisation, it can only be done in government hospitals. Thus, resigning is not an option. If you resign, you will unlikely be accepted back to civil service due to your past disciplinary action. Of course, as long as you had completed your 4 years compulsory service, you can resign and open a clinic. The only speciality you can do privately is FRACGP under Academy of Family medicine. However, you must have a certificate of good standing from MMC to get the cert, after passing the exams. Hopefully your disciplinary action did not reach MMC’s ears.

  267. Hi Dr,I’ve just completed my A-lev and I’m considering to pursue my dream of becoming a doctor.Honestly,I want to become a doctor out of my love of helping the humanity and of course the passion that I have.I know it’s easy to say it right now since I have not yet experience the hectic life of being a medical student.But I personally believe that thru handwork,pure dedication and passion somehow I can make this work.I’m well aware of the fact that by the time I’m going to graduate, it’s going to be difficult for me to get a job.I do consider people’s advice and do own research regarding this topic but still I don’t want to look at my future thru someone else’s eyes and I’m not holding back because for what it’s worth it was never about how much will I earn or how popular being a doctor is going be.So I just want to ask for your opinion doctor,after completing my housemanship will I able to join the humanitarian project and then come back to serve our country?or if I were to work in government hospital will I able to join this kind of programmes? and finally I want to ask you I’m planning to go to medical school in Ireland so I’m wondering should I do full year in Dublin or just go for the twinning programme which is under pmc?

    • As a government servant, you are entitled to 25 days of annual leave. You can use that for your activities. You also have 4 years compulsory service to complete.You will not get any additional leaves to do anything else unless you take no-pay leave. No pay leave is allowed after housemanship but based on your years of service. 1 year of service is entitled for 1 month of no pay leave. “No pay” leave will affect your seniority in service and your promotion.

      Whether full year or twinning, depends on where you want to work after you graduate.

      As for your passion etc, this is not the first time I am hearing such stories. I know many who had similar intention as you but none ever did what they wanted, simply because you won’t have any time for it once you graduate.

  268. Dear Dr.

    I want to be a surgeon and a cardiologist but I’m a bit confuse about where should i go, what course should i take so after i finish my matriculation or A-level or foundation are there any specific course that I should take?

    Thank you.

  269. Dear Dr., I am a final year medical student currently. I wish to do my housemanship in overseas but as I know overseas do not recognize medical graduates from Malaysia. I interested to work in Australia or New Zealand.If I sit for their entrance exam and if I lucky to pass it, is there a possibility for me to work there?
    Thank you.

  270. Dear dr,

    May i ask do all the medical school applied CSSC, and how does it work, cos I cant find much information online. I would like to know more about it, especially abt UM

  271. Dear dr,

    May i ask do all the medical schools in malaysia applied CSSC? how does it works actually as i cant find much information online. I would like to know more abt it especially in UM

  272. Dr Pagal,

    I have hypermobility joint syndrome, now I felt pain around my kneecap when I squat down. Also, the pain comes when I want to stand up from sitting. I visited an orthopaedic and the x-ray film shows that it is normal. Can you help me or is there anyone that u know can help me with this? Please HELP!

  273. […] yang lebih jelas tentang masalah ini boleh dibaca di website Dr Pagalavan, seorang Rheumatologist yang sudah lama menulis artikel berkenaan isu-isu kesihatan di […]

  274. on April 1, 2016 at 10:16 PM | Reply bithi biswas

    im a fresh passout DNB radiation oncologist
    plz help me how to proceed for the job application processes, current job scope and safety in staying
    plz help

    whats app 9874230852

  275. Greeting Dr Pagal, may I know is podiatric bring offered in Malaysia?

  276. Hi…Can we continue our degree in orthopedic with a diploma cert in medical imaging?

  277. Does that applies to anaesthesiology? We have to get medical degree then only Masters to specialize in anaesthesiology. Is it?

  278. Dear Dr Pagal,

    I need to meet podiatrist and I’m just wondering which hospital can I get to find one? Preferred non-private hospital around KL or Sarawak.

  279. Dear Dr Pagal,

    I’m a JPA scholar. I am not planning to migrate. If I have to choose between IMU, Newcastle and UKM which one should i go for? Which of these universities drill students well in clinicals? I am aware that newcastle and Ukm adopted PBL system and IMU is still lecture-based.

  280. Dear doctor,

    Which would be a better choice between University Malaya and Tsing Hua University in China for medicine? (Anywhere in the world can be my future destination) What is your preference?

  281. Hello Dr
    I am 22 years old and currently in 4th year of Medical School
    at Melaka Manipal Medical College.
    I obtained 8A+1A- for my SPM 2011. It was a huge deal in my family,
    and i came here immediately without having the time to look at other
    options. I admit it was a huge mistake as now i dont have a valid
    pre-u qualification do something else. I am really stuck right now, as
    i dont know what to do after this, or what course i want to do. I was hoping to do
    my pre-u in Singapore now. But am still confused as how to go about
    it. I am very good at public speaking, writing, math, english,
    chemistry, counselling and always had an interest in Journalism or
    Since primary school, doctor was the only thing that i kept as an ambition. not really knowing what it was about. i dont think this is my calling but went anyway. because my family said i could be a medical journalist or a medical lectrurer. i was good in school since young and was always at the top of my class till spm and very active in CCA. after my spm 2011 i went to malaysian NS for 3 months. it was a great time there, i was the host for many events and got along with everyone. immediately upon my return, two weeks later i enrolled into the foundation course to fast track to MBBS. it all happened so fast. i regret not having taken the time off to think and explore career options. i was miserable for
    4 years but did not tell it to anyone not even my parents which was another huge mistake. i passed my subjects by doing past year questions. but lately i m waking up with papitations and am very down. i dont enjoy learning and school like i used to. my univeristy has only MBBS and BDS courses. as such, there arent any student club or any sort of campus life per say whichi makes medcial schiool even more sad. Im
    sorry for my ranting sir. But im at a crossroad right now. I dont know
    if i should continue another 2 years (4 semesteres left) and spend the remaining RM140000 or
    use it for something i really enjoy. if i leave now, the college would provide me with a BSC medical sciences since i finished the first three years. i was thinking about BSC mass
    communications as that degree will allow me to do journalism or
    teaching. or environmental/chemical engineering. but like i said, i am still very confused on what course should i really take .im alright if its private or local university. But with my age, i still dont have a pre-u
    qualification. i am desperately looking for a career counsellor.
    Thank you for your time Sir. Hope to hear from you soon.

  282. What do you think ,is Medical bio technology a good career pursuit any idea how good IMU bschons for medical biotech is

  283. Hi dr.

    i have some questions. Is it true that non-malaysian student can not do their housemanship in this country after finished their study in medic? i am not malaysian but i have been living in malaysia for about 18 years.
    I have made ​​an application for a permanent resident but not yet approved. so is it better for me to wait for my application approval or just pursuing my study as an international student?

    hope to hear from you soon. thank you.

  284. Dear Dr.

    May i know is there any informative blog like yours for the dentistry field? i would really appreciate your help.

  285. Hello sir,
    I have done my MBBS at india. now working as a MO at NUH,Singapore.i want to do residency and cardio speciality at singapore itself..side by side i am doing my mrcp now. I want to go to india aftr completing my studies..but my speciality degree is nt recognised by india…so i need to write anyother exam to work as cardio specialist in india?? i have one more issue sir…many of my seniors telling that the training i am doing in singapore is not enough to practice in india and its very dificult to a get residency at singapore because of more preferences to local people…..So they are advicing me to study For usmle exams.. Please advice….

    • Whether you can work in India or not depends on the requirement and rules set by Indian Medical Council. You need to ask them rather than asking me or your friends.

      What makes you think that the chances of getting residency in US is better than Singapore? Everywhere is the same.

  286. Dear Dr Pagalavan Letchumanan,
    Hi. Im currently in my 5th year medical study in Cuba and will soon be doing my internship here as part of the agreement we all signed with the Cuban government in order to qualify us to sit for the Cuban State exam and get our MD.
    I came across your blog by accident as I was reading more details regarding the Malaysia examination for Provisional Registration. Thank God I found this. Some of the Malaysian Cuban medical graduates are about to sit for their exams soon in March and they told me that MMC gave the study materials to prepare for the exams.
    1) But where can we get passed papers to practice? (Coz here in Cuba, the theory exam questions are mostly fill in the blanks and essay in spanish)
    2) Is it possible to shadow a doctor to gain some experiences on the malaysian medical system?
    3) Any advice for me and my fellow seniors on how to prepare fully for the epr exam?
    4) In Cuba, all medical students are allowed to do physical examination, suture wounds etc on patients no matter which medical studies year you are in. If we are interested, they’ll teach any clinical procedures and later will allow us to perform it on patient (of course like on minor injuries etc). So what medical procedures should I be practicing more to prepare me for the practical exam?
    5) Is the practical exam method almost the same as the UK OSCE exam?

    Thank you so much for your time.
    Happy 2017 sir

  287. hello sir i have a few questions to be asked for u. if u dont mind can u drop your email here

  288. Hi Dr. How about dentistry? The same risky in housemanship and also going through Ho through ungodly hours ?

  289. Hello sir ….I’m just finish my foundation ….I’m very confused now either to choose aimst ,ucsi or cucms ?

  290. Dear Dr. Letchumanan,

    I am an avid reader of your site and I would like to bring your attention to a former response in 2012 below.

    “If you are in for the money, than find another job. There is no money in medicine anymore as I have written before in numerous articles. Don’t waste your time and money doing medicine.”

    I am interested in picking your brain about the rapid increase of the number of aesthetic medicine practitioners here. Surely money is a major motivating factor for these GPs to offer these services? Even for Plastic & Reconstructive surgeons who do cosmetic surgery, the surgical fees (liposuction etc.) are not fixed by the MMA and the majority of patients are cash patients.

  291. Dear Dr. Letchumanan,
    I hope to seek your counsel.
    I am a born&bred Malaysian who graduated med school and about to complete Psychiatry training in the US. Due to family reasons, I am looking to return to Malaysia.
    I have been advised to work for a few years before returning since private facilities have a protocol of only considering candidates with at least 3yrs ‘post-graduate’ working experience, and that the public sector has less funds right now to hire new doctors.
    How is ‘post-graduate’ working experience counted? I did a subspecialty fellowship and received American board-certification in my general specialty (and can take the exam for certification in my sub-specialty this year). Do my fellowship years count, or is it from when I received board-certification?
    Will my lesser years of training due to the accelerated US-training programs count against me?
    Is it difficult to strike out in private practice for Psychiatry in Malaysia if I cannot find an appropriate attachment with a hospital?
    Thank you ahead for your time and kind advice.

    • Generally, American board certification is recognised in Malaysia for internal medicine and surgery. However, I do not see Psychiatry board certification as being recognised by NSR http://www.nsr.org.my
      So, you need to contact NSR for clarification as some can be considered on case by case basis.

      Private hospitals in Malaysia do not hire full time psychiatrist. I am sure you are aware that private health care in Malaysia is basically funded by insurance or out of pocket payment. Unfortunately, NO insurance in Malaysia covers psychiatric illness. Thus, most psychiatrist will find it difficult to survive in private sector due to high cost of medications which will only make the patient more “depressed”. The entire JB town only has 3 private psychiatrist who runs their own clinic.They only provide visiting psychiatric services to private hospitals.

      Finally, you need to do 3 years compulsory service with the government if you are less than 10 years of service. Getting a job is another issue.

  292. hi doctor,
    Can you give advice on graduate entry medicine in Malaysia.


    • At the moment, there is only 1 university that offers graduate entry in Malaysia. Even that is yet to be recognised by MMC.The issue is , you will still go through the same housemanship etc as per the undergraduate program , at an older age.

  293. Dear Dr. Pagalavan,
    Your articles in this blogs are very much useful. Hope to get your help towards my goal.
    I am 50 now and a Professor of Civil Engineering in an Engineering College in Tamilnadu, India. My interest is shifted and decided to study medicine. I have completed my Diploma in Civil engineering after 10th std (ie. SSLC) without studying +2 (ie. HSC which is entry requirement to study MBBS in Ind