by Richard Teo
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Chua Soi Lek Should resign or retract what he said when he suggested that “Medical graduates who studied overseas may have to sit for a unified medical examination and,whether their university is recognised or not, a pass in the examination would allow them to practise in Malaysia”.
Almost all medical students who opted to obtain their medical degrees overseas are force by circumstances and not by choice.
Dr. Chua should be aware that majority of STPM students who attained excellent grades were deprieved of an opportunity to do medicine at a local university because most of the places were filled by Matriculation students reserved for bumiputras.
The dilemma faced by students who aspire to become doctors were either to do their course in a private medical instituition or venture overseas if they can afford the astronomical costs.
For those who can afford and opted to do their course overseas the news of Dr. Chua’s statement that they have to undergo a medical exam in order to practice in Malaysia must be a body blow.
After spending nearly $800,000 for a medical degree in U.K and having qualified from a medical institution which is far more superior than a local one it really boggles one’s imagination how Dr. Chua could ever come to the conclusion that local medical graduates should be exempted from a medical exam while overseas graduates from a more prestigious instituition should pass another local exam in order to practise here.
Dr. Chua’s suggestion can only be supported if he thinks that the local medical institution like UM and USM are far more superior than overseas instituition like Monash Uni, Melbourne Uni or any of
the Unis in the U.K? Of course not because UM and USM are not even in the top 100 Unis in the world whereas most of the top foreign medical institutions in Australia and U.K are in the top 100.
Dr. Chua, who is from the MCA should have been the last person to suggest such a measure because almost 80% of the overseas medical students are non-Malays who have been deprived of an opportunity to study at a local medical Uni and to introduce such a measure is to put up more obstacles for the non-Malays.
Dr Chua should acquaint himself with the qualifying Board of Law exams which requires oversea lawyers who did not complete their Bar exam overseas to do the local CLP before they can practise while local lawyers are exempted.
Every year we see Honours Law graduates from overseas who sat for the CLP fail in this exam.The pass rate for the CLP is around 10% to 20% every year and most of the oversea students are non-Malays. Obviously most of the non-Malays could not do their Law course locally and their only route was overseas.
Dr. Chua should consider his suggestion to have a qualifying medical exam carefully.The implementation of this policy would not only destroy the dreams of many a medical student whose parents mortgage practically everything they had to ensure that their children obtain a medical degree to practise but would also cause the financial ruination of al ot of would-be doctors if they fail the local medical exam to practise.