SUPP Edu Bureau urges MOH and MMC to reduce yearly medical student intake

Datuk Ding Kuong Hiing

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By Nancy Nais

KUCHING, Oct 13: Sarawak United People’s Party’s (SUPP) education bureau has urged the Health Ministry (MOH) and Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) to have political courage to drastically limit the number of medical students each year as soon as possible.

Bureau chief Datuk Ding Kuong Hiing asserted MMC bears the professional duty of advising MOH on new policies that will reduce the oversupply of doctors urgently.

“We have been pushing for medical officers to be given permanent posts once they complete their two-year contract with MOH since last year.

“But MOH has been blaming that the present predicaments faced by Medical Officer (MO) on contract are caused by a large surplus of doctors and this is only one of the reasons causing the glut of doctors. We deeply regret and are very disappointed that MOH and MMC have not come out with any other proposal or new policy to solve the problems caused by the oversupply of doctors,” Ding revealed in a statement, today.

He asserted that there is a need to raise minimum entrance requirements to read medicine, therefore MOH and MMC must urgently introduce a common professional examination like the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) for all doctors irrespective of whether they are graduates from local or overseas medical schools and all medical graduates must sit for the licensing examination before being posted to hospitals for their housemanship.

Ding who is also the Meradong assemblyman demanded that MOH disclose the criteria behind the offering of permanent posts to MOs on contract.

“It is an undisputed fact that Malaysia seriously lacks medical specialists in the country, particularly in the rural areas of Sarawak. MOH must seriously start training competent MOs so that in 10 years’ time from now, Malaysia will not face a serious shortage of medical specialists,” Ding opined, adding that the bureau had made known this demand many times already but for reasons only best known to MOH, their efforts seem to have fallen on deaf ears.

Meanwhile, he reminded the Minister of Health Dr Adham Baba on the latter’s assurance when he spoke to SUPP leaders in Sibu on Sept 16 that it is ‘all considered done’ with regards to more permanent posts for MO, especially in East Malaysia.

“The Minister of Health, after reading letters of appeal from patients and a letter of support from the Chief Minister of Sarawak, did give the assurance to the Sarawakian MOs that ‘All considered done. Please ask the parents not to worry’.

“However, to the best of our knowledge, the Sarawakian MOs who had passed part of their post graduate examinations are still waiting for their permanent posts. Seeing is believing. It is too early to raise their champagne (glasses) now to celebrate,” Ding asserted.

With regards to a letter from the parents of a West Malaysian MO published on Oct 12 expressing their envy of the Sarawakian MOs who are being helped by the SUPP Education Bureau, Ding encouraged them to bravely work together with parents of other MO who faces similar problems and to make the matter public.

“We suggest the parents concerned to either write to the Prime Minister or their own Members of Parliament who are very experienced in solving many social issues faced by all communities.

“We understand parents’ and MOs’ hesitance not to come out openly because of a clause in their contracts of employment which prohibits the latter from seeking outside help. We view this clause as oppressive, a travesty of justice and against human rights. This said clause should be deleted from any employment contract let alone government employment,” Ding added. — DayakDaily