Chua Soi Lek should resign or retract his statement

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.

  1. #1 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 8:22 am

    Very simple: more medical graduates will stay overseas.

    What’s the rationale for the local qualifying exam – restrict the number of practitioners just like the CLP for lawyers?

    I can understand if the qualifying exam is for graduates from Indonesia, Bangladesh, Ukraine, Philippines or other third world countries. But medical graduates from NUS (Singapore), Australia, UK, Germany, USA (where medical degrees are postgraduate programs; they are not even recognised – even if it’s John Hopkins!) – I obviously see something very wrong with Chua Soi Lek’s suggestion.

    Soi Lek should either use his brains or hang up his ministerial practice! You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to know that this proposal is as leaky as Parliament’s rooftop.

  2. #2 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 8:24 am

    This part : “USA (where medical degrees are postgraduate programs; they are not even recognised – even if it’s John Hopkins!)”

    should read as :

    “USA (where medical degrees are postgraduate programs; they are not even recognised here in Malaysia – even if it’s John Hopkins!)”

  3. #3 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 8:34 am

    BTW, Chua Soi Lek, Singapore has reported a new dominant strain of Dengue. Did we pass it to them?

    I hear from neighbourhood news that dengue has gone from bad to worse in the Klang Valley? Is this news also to be suppressed because of VMY 2007 or what? No talk of dengue campaigns and wider publicity to educate the public and eradicate public empathy!

    Is the Health Ministry having the sleepy disease and sleeping away like the boss, Pak LAh?

  4. #4 by clausmaun on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 9:17 am

    Common CSL You are talking rubbish, you mean to say the ministry of health has a far superior level of medical knowledge than the world’s best medical colleges and unis, to be able to set exams to test the capabilities of medical graduates. The greatest joke is, in the past these exams conducted had questions like Who was the first prime minister of Malaysia? What is the Communinst party of Malaysia? Why did the Portuguese invade Malacca?. Describe the NEP? LOL. What has all these got to do with the medical profession. We are greatly in need of good doctors in Hospitals in the East coasts and the interior of Malaysia. By you setting stumbling blocks to new doctors in joining the service, you are infact sending the message, DON’T COME BACK TO MALAYSIA, PRACTICE OVERSEAS. Those who manage to join the service do not get promoted for DONKEY years and eventually they leave and join the private hospitals. Not because they do not want to work for the Government but they are frustrated. Juniors Doctors (Local Graduates) become their superiors and pull rank with them. GUESS WHY THE JUNIORS GET PROMOTED??. These measures are to let the local graduates fill the local post then again the quality of the local graduates initially lack experience and proper training. This is another of the underhand tactics to cut off foreigh graduates, who are better trained and more capable then local ones. Why cant you allow all graduates to work together to help one another for the betterment of the country as a whole. You are tightening the hangman’s noose around your own kind and the nation suffers as a whole.

  5. #5 by Jeffrey on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 9:20 am

    For meaningful discussion, you may want to look at Health Minister Dr. Chua Soi Lek’s rationale in the following link –

  6. #6 by Libra2 on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 9:31 am

    “Dr. Chua, who is from the MCA…….”
    True but when the hell did the MCA ever champion the rights of the Chinese and the non Malays. Isn’t it UMNO running dog?

    This is case of the frog telling the peacock that it is more beautiful.

    I sent both my children to US because our local degree are not worth a sen overseas.
    My elder daughter obtained a Comp E degree is the US and my younger one will be graduating with a Chem E degree, also in the US.
    I have asked both of them to find jobs elsewhere and not return home to be made second class citizens. This country doesn’t need their services as it has its own graduates.
    This is Malay smugness. So be it.

  7. #7 by nkeng11 on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 9:32 am

    This was never the case for Accountants. Back then, ACCA, ICMA, ICAEW, MACPA plus a couple others were the only qualifications that Malaysian Institute of Accountants recognized.

    Now, Diploma from ITM also can apply. There were no exams for them to become members. Why?

    I remember hiring a Higher Diploma candidate for an accounts supervisor post and he could not even do simple double entry.

    What can I say, Double standards?

    Come only lah

  8. #8 by Bigjoe on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 9:42 am

    This is classic. First the politician screw up one thing and then they impose problems to cover up their mistakes. If they had been more careful in recognizing universities and qualification in the first place instead of politicising it in the first place, then the whole issue would not have arised.

    The politician take their arrogance for granted that they can screw up and cover their ass and innocent people just have to put up with it.

    Worst they come up with a solution that is not perfect, that will be abused and who have to pay for it. Is Chua Soi Lek going to remimburse with his own money if a graduate from a top university that passes boards in Singapore and US can’t pass it? If there is to be a test, everyone has to take the same test. That is the only fair thing.

  9. #9 by Woody on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 9:45 am

    Just another way of “encouraging” talented people to stay aboard.

    How long and much will you work in Malaysia to your RM800,000.00 investment?

    If you take a loan at 8% per annum, the interest will be RM64.000 a year. You need to earn RM5333 just to pay the interest.

    On a brighter side why come back? Just stay back oversea to work, at least it is very much more salary and better working conditions.

  10. #10 by k1980 on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 9:52 am

    Goody, goody…now the good news(for local grads, that is). After the law and medical grads, all overseas PhDs, Masters, MBAs, graduate and postgraduate accountants, engineers and Uncle Tom Cobbley and all will have to sit for their respective professional examinations and,whether their university is recognised or not, a pass in the examination would allow them to practise in Malaysia. To be implemented after the 12th General Elections

  11. #11 by good coolie on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 9:52 am

    Endangered Hornbill is right. Let’s take a cue from the CLP exams and the impossible standards set for those exams. Ostensibly, the standard of overseas Law- graduates could be monitored, and,
    foreign graduates’ knowledge of local law could be enhanced. The real reason, ofcourse, is to control the number of non-Malays practising law, and to give opportunities to local graduates (many of them sub-standard) to practice law.
    I am one of those endagered hornbills. In fact I have given up, and am extinct. You’ll see the same with many medical graduates who wish to come back home and serve their country.

  12. #12 by toyolbuster on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 10:06 am

    Chua Soi Lek and the rest of the MCA fellas ought to be sacked. The Health service is so badly messed up causing so many unnecessary deaths due to incompetency. Now to make matter worse, he is trying to stop highly qualified doctors coming back to serve the country. These foreign trained doctors are highly sought after in Singapore, australia, US, Middle-East and you name it. They don’t have to come back to Malaysia. We, as Malaysian are the biggest losers and curse you damn MCA guys. You have enriched yourselves with corrupted means and now you want to play God to decide that we should not be getting these qualified doctors to heal our sick. Damn you Chua Soi Lek, you go to hell and don’t ever come back. Damn running dog.

  13. #13 by megaman on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 10:12 am

    I can understand why the law board imposes an exam for overseas law grads that wishes to practise in Msia .. tis is due to the fact that the details of the law are different from country to country although the principles remain the same.

    However, to impose a similar ruling on the medical professionals especially those from reputable institutions baffles me.

    Does this means Msians have different types of body organs or blood ? A liver is a liver, doesn’t matter if it comes from a chinese, indian or malay or caucasian or africans … it is still the same …

    *shake head*

  14. #14 by FuturePolitician on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 10:44 am

    To strive for excellence would be the normal case in trying to achieve greatness. I find it that The Malaysian Government is lower standard in all entries to allow the Malay in getting into the same playing field of the real intelligent people.

    It is disturbing that statistic shows for the tamil/chineses schools are now reduced as compared to malay schools. More mosque is build and many other religious building is being demolished and hardly any are provided for other religions.

    It is also disturbing that non-malay has been reduced in the number in involvement in the government and GLC, Public profiting companies, and many more.

    Dont see Malaysia as Truly Asia anymore…or a multiracial society anymore. I believe tension is rising. MCA and MIC no longer serve the interest of the non-malay..

    I just really hope economic global meltdown occurs we can all start as poor and rebuild the nation as one.

  15. #15 by undergrad2 on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 11:01 am

    ” MMC president Tan Sri Dr Ismail Merican said the examination would remove the problem of varying standards as a result of graduates coming from different universities.”

    In the U.S law degrees, like medical degrees, are post-graduate degrees. This should not be interpreted as U.S. first degrees being inferior than say U.K. degrees where law is studied at first degree level.

    There is a lot to be said about law and medical degrees being studies available only at post-graduate level. A certain level of maturity is needed if students are to perform at all at these exams. The average age when Americans enter colleges or universities is just over 17 or 18 and when they graduate they would be about 21 years of age – too young.

    In the U.S. you need to have a first degree in another field to qualify to study law which is available only at post-graduate level. I suppose the same applies for medicine. In the case of law, you need three years at first degree level in any field followed by another three years of law school and then another year at professional level i.e. state Bar before you could practice law.

    Overseas graduates in law wishing to practice law in Malaysia would need to sit for their Certificate of Legal Practice (CLP) to qualify for practice. The reason for it is to ensure that lawyers practicing law in Malaysia after the three year period of foreign undergraduate study is conversant in Malaysian law and Malaysian legal system. Although Malaysian law, like American law, is rooted in English common law, it has taken an independent path. We no longer follow English common law cases if there is Malaysian case law available. We have followed India in having our law codified.

    The purpose is not to discriminate for discrimination sake. The purpose is certainly not to discriminate against private students who are of a different race as alleged by the writer. As for the pass rate for the CLP being 30% the Board would appear to be following the pass rate for the London Bar Examinations. But it is true that local law graduates have it easier with their four year degree program instead of having to prove themselves before they could sit for the professional exam. To sit for the London Bar once upon a time, you would need to have a second class honors degree in Law. Today this avenue is long closed. There is just the CLP.

    In the case of medicine, it would appear that the only reason for requiring returning foreign graduates in medicine to sit for a ‘unifying’ exam could only be to ensure that there is one standard among them. We do not want to have one for those with Indian medical degrees, another for those with degrees from Russia etc. There is a valid and genuine desire at unifying degrees obtained overseas due to their diversity. The purpose is not to discriminate against holders of foreign medical degrees as alleged and certainly not against any particular race.

    I do not see anything wrong with MMC wanting to protect its standards.

    In the U.S. in most of the states, foreign law degrees are not recognized including those from the U.K. The reason is obvious. It has nothing to do with standards but everything to do with adopting a closed door policy. In any case you will still need to sit for the state Bar exam to qualify for practice in that state.

    Reading this article I am tempted to ask myself if we are not living in a period of such heightened paranoia that every move to protect standards in any profession is suspect.

  16. #16 by ah lau on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 11:02 am

    This CSL, health minister, is uttering many embarassing statements.

    He thought that he is great. FYI, all local medical degrees are not recognised by BMA, Britain, the early civilised country of late.

    When CSL visited China, he emphasised that some therapies he had first seen there could be practised in his hospitals in malaysia under the reference “complimentary medicines” BUT not alternatives. He repeated, once more and again.

    Let you figure out what he was talking about. I believe his medical degree must be from local u. HA ha !@*&

  17. #17 by Bobster on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 11:12 am

    Though I’ll be the last who vote for BN, to be fair to CSL I consider CSL quite a good ‘working’ minister in view of many changes taken place in the health ministry compare to the formal CJM which has been ‘sleeping’ in his job for the past 10 over yrs, total disgrace to the MCA and Chinese community.

    Come on guys, give CSL a break. CSL got his own faults but at least he is doing his job. I sincerely thank him for the yellow noodle case, banning pork with illegal substances, increase doctors allowance etc etc. People has been consuming those substances for donkey years and no gomen department has raised any alarm till CSL steps in. No wonder cancer case raising every year no thanks to some sleeping minister in the past!

  18. #18 by poo on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 11:16 am

    All malays Medical student get “special arranged lecture” before going for exam, which non-malays one cannot participate. This is even practice in UM and UKM. If you tell me the question and give the answer for the exam question and you can’t even do well, you can imagine the quality of the local bumi medical students. Dr Chua must be getting directive from UMNO people to implement that so this so call DOCTOR can survive only in Malaysia. I wonder if other countries do the same to our medical students before they are allow for further studies in overseas, how many can go through?
    UM or UKM or USM is even better than UK or Aust MD??????????

  19. #19 by whc on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 11:55 am

    Hey i think CSL is indirectly calling those chinese to practise their profession in somewhere else rather than in Malaysia.He just can’t say ,”You better work in In other country for a better future” .Maybe he knew that MCA can’t do much for the chinese due to UMNO as their big bocor boss lah.

  20. #20 by pamelaoda on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 12:05 pm

    I understood CSL’s message as the other way round, he is really sending the message to all future doctors (i guessed mostly Chinese and Indians )not to return to Msia. Go if you still can and dont rot here and to suffer the under the supremacy malay. Yeah, I think at least this MCAian CSL is our side!

  21. #21 by Jimm on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 12:07 pm

    Now, we know why UM ranking ‘dropped’

  22. #22 by VoteDAP on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 12:09 pm

    50 years of independence……what are the achievement in moral and ethics??? No one is looking after these social problems….
    Public Hospital perceived (or maybe in fact) to be unprofessional….Private hospital practise NO MONEY NO TALK (money comes first than life)….normal citizen always threathen by not secure society (rapist all around, snatch theives everywhere, now we just another 2 headlines- the ShaMe Value-similar ethnics group simply conduct murder in town – rampant gangsterism! and of coz more!!!)

    who should be doing these job??? most of the ministers/civil servants only bother about their own pockets and positions…PM somemore increase their salary………the highest is 35%!!! The increment should be base on merit and performance……the lazy, slacking, always go to tea break, …bloody helll….why should my tax-paying used to feed these eople…..arrrggggggggggggg

    Stop blaming the gov again – BLAME YOURSELVES – you chose BN…you got these as return! Time to Change! No-BN : Always the smarter choice!

  23. #23 by FuturePolitician on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 12:29 pm

    VoteDAP, vote dap? DAP doesnt change..we are still in Status Quo..There is nothing to vote for…no reason..I dont want to vote for being an opposition, I want to VOTE because there is hope for change!

    BN their objective is clear..BUT the current leaders arent following the objective of BN! Many will still vote for BN because still there is hope for change if they are able leaders..but with DAP.. WHAT can DAP do if they win the election..gaining majority seats in Parliment.. DAP has no clear direction or plans for the DAP voters.

    WE NEED CHANGE IN DAP! I dont want to put blame in others, I want changes and responsible for our own destiny, I want to create opportunity not wait for it. I want to pave the future not wait for the forest to wither on its own. I need machinery like people whom contributed in this blog..their passion their ideas and their tenacity in explaining a subject matter.(though many would be clueless now of what are they trying to say in their long posting)

    We need an Alternative Government tinktank of people, conforming to the LAW, modest in their approach, intelligently vocal their concern, and ability to hold back their anger.

    Support me and I will lead us to an alternative government status.

  24. #24 by palmdoc on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 12:45 pm

    Why only foreign medical schools? If you want a common qualifying exam, then the local medical schools (public and private) should be subject to the same yardstick.

    This is our viewpoint blogged here:

  25. #25 by dawsheng on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 12:49 pm

    I do not see anything wrong with MMC wanting to protect its standards. Undergrad2

    Yep! Nothing wrong except our healthcare system in Malaysia is one that ambulance runs out of petrol and its patient died on the way to hospital. The are many questions arises from this, what purposes and how do the unified medical examination serves the country’s healthcare system? Is this not just a criteria created and targeted and overseas medical graduates, who is far more qualify than local graduates in most cases? Is this not just rules and regulations that are nothing but money spinner for the BN govt and its cronies? And in the course of its implementation, who can guarantee the new system will not be subject to abuse and corruption by govt officials? And doctors, watch out for the roof on top of the examintion hall for it may collapse while you are taking the exmination, the only thing fortunate is that all of you were qualify doctors to save yourself when the tragedy strikes.

  26. #26 by WFH on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 3:24 pm

    On the face of what CSL Health Minister says, it is not totally incorrect nor undesireable to introduce Common Qualifying Standard Examinations.

    And, as palm-doc wrote in the MMR blog, jdon’t exempt the local medical graduates who are now coming out in numbers from an increasing number of govt and private medical schools, some of which may be as suspect as some dubious foreign medical schools. If that can be implemented, common qualifying exams for ALL, then there is nothing but good to be gained for the nation and its people.

    My mind is wondering – where are the public relations people and what are they doing? A minister, (for that matter, ANY Minister in the Malaysian Cabinet) shouldn’t just suddenly announce a decision as drastic and far reaching as this, without having had deep, detailed involvement and extended discussions with, and the views sought from, the relevant professional associations. It appears, from the Star’s report, that the MMC and MMA were both equally caught by surprise by CSL’s announcement.

    If the resources of many Ministries in the public relations area are used for other than “spin”, but for constructive dissemination of policy development BEFORE implementation, then I am confident the govt will have less opposition from concerned professional, non-governmental and civic groups than it has faced over many many years past.

    By my own observation, such official “spokespersons” (See? Bocor MPs Bund and Said, it is NOT difficult at all to be gender sensitive without having to even activelty think about being gender sensitive.. NO effort needed to be nice!!) have only come out of their closets when used for damage control, or when required to “praise” some opening ceremony somewhere by its respective minister(s).

    If this matter and intelligent exchanges by meetings and facts and data had previously been carried by the mainstream media, especially of discussions and details between the associations and bodies and Ministries, and the professional associations had carried out their public role to release public announcements/statements, then I am quite confident that public response will be more positive than negative.

    Every party, government or non-government, rakyat included need to be OPEN and develop the ability to start conversations to be built upon, instead of sudden, out-of-the-blue announcements. Currently, the govt shuts us all up, and that’s no way for anybody to feel engaged. Not to forget, the professional bodies have a very real role to play other than only to act for its members. Inform the public, too.

  27. #27 by Plaintruth on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 3:38 pm

    The writer “poo” posted on May 28th that…..

    “All malays Medical student get “special arranged lecture” before going for exam, which non-malays one cannot participate…… ”

    This kind of mal-practise is not news anymore and not shocking to this bolehland. Could “Poo” tell us more about detail this? Thanks

  28. #28 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 3:59 pm

    Actually, in USA, most medical students would have done a 4-year pre-medical science degree, then pass a MCAT (some kind of medical college admission test), before enrolment on a 4-year medical degree program which is post-graduate. Add to that the medical infrastructure and the calibre of medical training, now then ask who should be sitting for the post-qualifying exams?

    The process to gain admission is rather gruelling in most advanced countries; not like what we have in our local public universities – some kind of 1 or 2 -year matriculation instead of ‘A’ levels with some kind of ‘in-house tests’, maybe. Does this lower admission standards explain for the increased deaths and stupid carelessness reported in our government hospitals. Now, ask Chua Soi Lek – who should be sitting for the post-qualifying exams?

    Anyway, I don’t expect med grads from good universities overseas would want to return to malaysia & face being bullied by the local establishment. Grads from Indonesia, Ukraine, Bangladesh etc. perhaps have no choice but to return because many would not be accepted in the first-world anyway.

  29. #29 by observer996 on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 5:10 pm

    It’s interesting to see CSL coming up with such a proposal. I am a medical student currently studying in Oz in my late clinical years, with my final barrier exam due end of this year.

    To have a unifying exam is not necessarily a bad thing, looking at it from an international med student point of view. I believe the training that i am currently getting from this uni is well preparing myself and equip myself with the necessary competence to practise medicine in any part of the world (developing/developed)..Therefore, i think the unifying exam should not be a problem with medical graduates who are from well recognised universities. CSL is not without his point, to do ongoing evaluation on the standard of medical education from over 300 unis in the world from time to time is very very demanding and taxing ! But , why the health ministry recognise over 300 unis in the first place ??????? This is really a joke i think. We have heard so much about new medical unis being recongised such as those from czech, russia , ukraine and other institutions from these countries also taking the opportunity to con parents into believing theirs are also just newly recognised by the ministry. After all the bad publicity, i still have reservation on the standard of medical unis from these countries. i really hope i m wrong and by having this unifying exam, it will serve as a good tool to see students from which uni are competent enough to practise medicine in malaysia. If too many has failed from a particular uni, that uni will be “derecognised” and be taken out from the list, eventually shrinking the size of more than 300 unis to a more manageble number. I think Singapore only recognize slightly more than 100 unis , and most of them from developed countries i think).

    However, i must also say that this extra bit of hassle that every oversea graduate has to go through will inevitably has a significant impact on the number of doctors going back to msia to practise. Not because they will fail the exam, its just that the idea of having to study for another exam is very very discouraging. For me to go home, i need to read up on dengue, typhoid fever, malaria etc which we hardly ever encountered in australia.

    Australian graduates are very much sough-after in Australia (whether u r local aussie or full fee paying international student). 25% of current medical workforce in Oz are overseas trained , mostly from India and Pakistan. This group of doctors have received enough bad publicity ranging from incompetencies and communication issues. Therefore, Oz government always push for international student to stay back in here after graduating, work as doctors so to cut down the number of oversea trained doc. Every year in June, every 6th year(final year) med student would have been notified already which hospital they are allocated for their internship/housemanship. Yes, u basically got a job half a year before u actually graduate and u can also pick which hospital u wanna go to just like in malaysia. But they dont send u to rural area if u have not picked them unlike in msia. And from there , u do ur further training until u r qualified to practise as a specialist. So far, i have not had any seniors from msia who actually went back and work in msia after 6 years of training unless their education is sponsored by the government. Considering this , i really feel that an extra unifying exam will really push away doctors graduating from Oz to go home and work.

    To me, this whole issue sounds like “oops, we(from health ministry) have recognised too many unis already to a stage we are not even confident that the medical education they are providing is up to minimum standard. It’s too taxing to do ongoing evaluation on these unis . And now , the easy way out is to subject every fresh grad from overseas to sit for a unifying exam” ! CSL, there is no easy way out to solve this matter, the health ministry really need to find a sensible strategy and any new implentation should be done gradually and not too drastically i think.

  30. #30 by ihavesomethingtosay on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 5:38 pm

    “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”.

    Is this some feeble attempt to raise the quota-ed graduates of Malaysia to be on par with the world?

    Another stoopid statement by yet another pariah minister.

  31. #31 by sean on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 5:57 pm

    There are always a “trade off” between Ummo and the flies from the other component parties.
    See, in order for some bigshot in MCA to be fed the crumbs or left overs from projects or future projects that can line theirs pockets, they the “flies” will be told by the supreme party to present ridiculous and bias policy(ies).They are always there to do the dirty job of the supreme party and that is why in order to be the bad guys….they will eventually propose “policies” so that the left over crumbs will be filling up their pockets instead.They are happy while the rakyat suffers.What is new…

  32. #32 by boh-liao on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 5:57 pm

    Dr. Chua Soi Lek must have realised that Malaysians, esp those who support BN candidates and those wo support non-BN candidates, have anatomical features different from foreigners and suffer diseases different from those of foreigners. Therefore doctors trained overseas must be tested to ensure that they are qualified to examine Malaysians. He wants to make sure that foreign-trained doctors are not in a shock when they look into the skulls of say adult MCA politicians – small, brand new, and blank brains.

    Does it mean that all government-sponsored students who study medicine overseas will also have to sit for and pass the unified examination? What if a government-sponsored doctor fails to pass the examination? Does it mean that the person is released from the bond to serve in Malaysia?

    The enforcement of this unified examination will definitely encourage our overseas-trained doctors not to return to Malaysia. Among them will be children of currently practising doctors and other highly paid professionals who can afford to send their children to pursue medical degrees overseas.

    Malaysia’s loss will be other countries’ gain.

  33. #33 by boh-liao on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 6:01 pm

    This is another well-designed plot to squeeze more money – examination fees – out of professionals to enrich the selected groups.

  34. #34 by semuabole on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 7:17 pm

    Over the years you can see many middle-class non-bumi parents struggling to get their children study medicine overseas, by giving-up everything they have eg. selling their house, savings and even taking up loans….just so their child will have a better furture…
    For the future generation its going to be more difficult/expensive as the discriminative government systematically takes away whatever you have left….


  35. #35 by undergrad2 on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 8:15 pm


    “I am a medical student currently studying in Oz in my late clinical years, with my final barrier exam due end of this year. To have a unifying exam is not necessarily a bad thing…”
    “…I think the unifying exam should not be a problem with medical graduates who are from well recognized universities. CSL is not without his point..”


    “On the face of what CSL Health Minister says, it is not totally incorrect…there is nothing but good to be gained for the nation and its people.”


    “Grads from Indonesia, Ukraine, Bangladesh etc. perhaps have no choice but to return because many would not be accepted in the first-world …”

    The sound of reason seems to drown the rest.

    The country is in a mess. That is not in dispute. We have “falling academic standards” (and falling roofs as one reader “Dawsheng’ rightly claims) and a “rising number of colleges and universities” It does not matter what your political affiliations are, we can all agree on that.

    Allow me to share my own thoughts and experiences with doctors – foreign qualified doctors and dentists from a certain developing country. There was this patient who died because the doctor failed to test his allergy to a certain drug – a standard procedure among practitioners since the turn of the last century. A case of simple negligence no doubt but try telling that to the family of the unfortunate victim of this gross, negligent criminal negligence. Indeed in developed countries this would fit the definition of ‘homicide’ rather than ‘negligence’.

    One doctor who prescribed medication to a relative appeared at my door in the middle of the night, looking very worried (not for the health and safety of her patient but at the thought her own incarceration for criminal negligence) to retrieve the medication she had earlier prescribed. Other readers are likely to have worse experiences.

    Whatever the case may be, given the choice of going under the scalpel of a doctor with qualifications from the U.K., Australia, N.Z. and that of someone with local qualifications or with qualifications from ‘exotic’ sounding places, I would choose the former. Can you blame me for wanting to err on the side of caution?

    It is unfair to both doctor and patient, because some of the best brains could come from local universities and bad ones from ‘exotic’ sounding places overseas. The reason is simple. Some of our local graduates, be it in medicine or law, have not been given the opportunity to go abroad and have had to make do with whatever opportunity thrown at them and that means a four or six year program at one of the local universities. They top the graduating class every year and some would go on to do specialist courses abroad.

    How many times have we heard about the best talent being sent overseas for further education? This is not true for everybody. It would seem true only if you fit a certain profile and sadly, this also means a racial profile and not just any profile. It is this aspect of the problem that politicians may want to seek to politicize. Who can blame them?

    But the rest of us may want to sift through the chaff and get to the wheat so to speak. It is obvious that when everything has been said and done, it is the BN run government that is left standing with the ball in its hands. They have a lot of explaining to do – and not just to dead patients.

    It may be somewhat futile at this late stage to cry out loud that education should never have been politicized in the first place. It has been for years. It has remained so. So where do we go from here?

    A unifying exam is a step in the right direction in view of the situation. It is a bipartisan issue and should remain a bipartisan issue if we are serious about wanting to solve the problem.

    Like I wrote earlier: “Reading this article I am tempted to ask myself if we are not living in a period of such heightened paranoia that every move to protect standards in any profession is suspect.”

  36. #36 by sheriff singh on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 8:21 pm

    Chua, Chua, Chuuuuuuuua! What’s got into you today? Not feeling too well? Got your temperature checked? Wghy you ncome out with your guns blazing catching everyone by surprise? Shouldn’t you have done some research, obtain opinions and feedback first?

    To be frank, I don’t trust locally graduated doctors anymore. No sirreeee. Not when they poke you here and there with their pen or pencil and try to guess whats wrong with you. Not on your life.

    Neither do I trust any “doctor” from Crimea, Kazakstan, Gostan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Myanmar etc with all their funny degrees and looks. I stick to doctors from well respected Universities.

    I want to live till its time for me to go, not for somebody else to decide it for me. Period.

    Mr Chua Soi Lek. Do something about your “local” doctors.

  37. #37 by DarkHorse on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 8:49 pm

    “Ths this not just a criteria created and targeted and overseas medical graduates, who is far more qualify than local graduates in most cases?” Dawsheng

    It is not.

    No one is being targeted here except foreign grads from dubious universities abroad sent by the government in its rush to meet quotas etc. Those who meet standards set by the profession have nothing to fear.

    May I echo the thoughts of Undergrad2 who asks : “….if we are not living in a period of such heightened paranoia that every move to protect standards in any profession is suspect.”

  38. #38 by undergrad2 on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 10:10 pm

    The attempt to draw a parallel between the medical profession (as opposed to the government) attempting to set standards for returning mostly government sponsored foreign graduates and the attempt by the legal profession to set its standards for returning law graduates may not be justified.

    In the case of the legal profession, the attempt is a dual effort at streamlining and bringing consistency to a struggling profession. The other is an attempt by politicians interfering to provide second chances for returning foreign and government sponsored graduates who meet a certain profile. These law graduates could not meet the standards set by the Council of Legal Education (CLE) in the U.K. and without the CLP could never qualify to practice law when they return to Malaysia. Hence according to some politicians the need to give them a second bite at the apple.

    In casting the net wide, unfortunately they have also caught ‘fish’ of the specie they did not intend to catch. But this is only fair because law graduates from the University of London External Degree Program who have had to be satisfied with studying by ‘remote’ through no fault of their own and through discriminatory practices of the government are given a chance at qualifying for practice in their chosen profession.

    A cursory glance at the name list of students dong the CLP tells us a story that cannot be ignored by policy makers. It tells us who are those who managed to pass Law by the skin of their teeth – which is what a third class honors degree and a pass degree in Law means; and those who find themselves shut off by the standards set by the Council of Legal Education or CLE. From my experience with them as fellow students they would have failed their London Bar Finals anyway. They really should consider another profession.

    Out of every 10 students with a Second Class Honors who sit for the London Bar Exam, only 3 would pass – it does not matter if it is the Trinity or the Michaelmas sitting. The pass rate has been very consistent year to year. I doubt if the same could be said about the CLP or if the standard is applied uniformly across the board so to speak.

    I believe American law degrees are not ‘recognized’ not because they are inferior but because there is no need to. Principles of substantive law are the same. Negligence is still negligence and murder is still murder. Procedural law differs as the legal system is different – and American jurisprudence is a challenge. Students studying law in Australia, New Zealand and the U.K. do not need to face such ‘challenges’ and so why put them through these challenges if practice in their chosen profession is all they are looking for. A different argument applies if the intention is to pursue a PhD program.

    In the U.S. you would need to have a first degree from an accredited university or college and an average GPA of at least 3.4 (3.8 for Harvard and Yale) and sit for the LSAT aptitude test and pass it before you could continue to law school. The LSAT is a much more grueling and demanding test than the GMAT that graduates would have to sit before they could proceed to do their Masters. How do I know? Years ago I sat for the GMAT.

  39. #39 by Alvin on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 10:23 pm

    one thing i dont understand is the vetting process of medical Uni’s. CSL reported that its very time consuming to vet new ones and existing ones. Isnt it more time consuming to conduct all this qualifying test for incoming foreign train Docs.
    i am sure CSL can understand and find ways to vet thro this Uni’s; one simple way is to see whcih countries have accepted them.
    henceforth i cannot follow the logic that its too time consuming as stated by CSL.

  40. #40 by student2007 on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 10:46 pm

    i dunno wat is mean by the intergrity in malaysia. the government is supporting intergrity..but i dunno why the matriculation system is only 10-20% is given to the non-bumis, why this still happening? if this still happening, what is mean by intergrity.

  41. #41 by raven77 on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 11:21 pm

    This country has now set itself on a dangerous path……it is not a question of having a qualifying exam…but in Malaysia how this exam may be used as a tool to discriminate and meet political agendas….something that happened in Sri Lanka which till this day is still paying a heavy price……..never do surgery if you don’t know how to handle its complications….Chua should know….and if he doesn’t …..then don’t operate.

  42. #42 by dawsheng on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 11:39 pm

    “Reading this article I am tempted to ask myself if we are not living in a period of such heightened paranoia that every move to protect standards in any profession is suspect.” Undergrad2

    Any moves taken by the govt to protect standards of any professions are suspicious as long as the govt’s trade policies are consistent with the NEP. Between protecting the standard and the profession, at the end the policy will only work to protect you know who. I am skeptical but not paranoid, the doctors should be.

  43. #43 by kurakura on Tuesday, 29 May 2007 - 12:29 am

    Is there a conspiracy to prevent overseas grad from contributing to Malaysia?

    I applied for a lowly internship position at a local bank. I called them and direct my resume to the HR personal email.
    My resume is quite good. Doing masters in europe, degree in NUS, state sporstman, experience in organizing international conference etc etc…….but haha….i dun even get a reply even tho i follow up.

  44. #44 by kcb on Tuesday, 29 May 2007 - 12:37 am

    Clausmaun says (May 28th, 2007 @9.17 am)

    “…..The greatest joke is, in the past these exams conducted had questions like Who was the first prime minister of Malaysia? What is the Communinst party of Malaysia? Why did the Portuguese invade Malacca?. Describe the NEP? LOL. What has all these got to do with the medical profession……”

    So this is the so-called “Unified Medical Examination”?

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
    (Rolling on floor!)

  45. #45 by Godamn Singh on Tuesday, 29 May 2007 - 12:39 am

    Hint hint!!

    Never do what you can do by face to face through the e-mail or the contraption we call the telephone.

  46. #46 by japankiller on Tuesday, 29 May 2007 - 1:14 am

    Chua is the most smart person but then he still mess his department.

    Those in the oversea not even bother to come back, go Singapore their goverment welcome you.

    Then people in Malaysia will end up in shorter life, cause those good doctor no longer exist in Malaysia.

  47. #47 by classmonitor on Tuesday, 29 May 2007 - 1:58 am

    Someone said that studying medicine overseas and locally is the same thing citing the body organs as being similiar anywhere compared to the different law systems in different countries.
    This is true but is a very shallow look on medicine. In different countries, different diseases are prevalent and there are different kinds of patients to deal with(patients in developed countries tend to be more well aware of diseases and there’s a different way of dealing with them). Studying overseas is not the same as studying medicine locally. For instance, cystic fibrosis is a major disease among Caucasians but almost non-existent in Asian countries. Not only this, different measurement units are used and the legal procedures in dealing with patients are different.

    Therefore, I’m trying to point out that : Yes, Malaysian doctors returning from overseas will be trained differently and regardless whether they are from inferior/superior Universities, they need to be retrained so that they can be familiarised with our local system. I think the government is sending out the wrong message by introducing the exam causing people to think that doctors are underqualified if they graduate overseas. Unless, that’s really what they’re thinking. Have they actually state that as the reason for the exam? I’m sorry to have brought up this point if they have. But if they have not, and the reason is because of the different trainings these overseas grads have received, then I think the government is right in trying to do something about it, but the idea of an exam is still wrong. Isn’t the 3 year compulsory training going to do that? By making all doctors who want to practise go through that, they should be retrained and familiarised with the system. So what I’m trying to say is this, instead of filtering doctors who may not be familiar with our system by introducing exams, absorb them and retrain them. This is exactly what Singapore is doing. They introduce probations for doctors from Malaysia. I know that they take in students from all different unis, including IMU (I have heard of this). IMU is not on the recognised list in Singapore but if you go there and get a place as houseman they’ll train you and put you on probation for a number of years but they still take you in. Malaysia, please do the right thing, not the easy way out as always.

  48. #48 by DiaperHead on Tuesday, 29 May 2007 - 2:46 am

    Richard Teo claims:

    “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.” Richard Teo

    Richard Teo is misguided and should check the facts before making his statements. He sees what he wants to see but is otherwise blind to the truth.

    Who are these overseas lawyers? They are both non-Malays and Malays.

    He would like to make readers think that overseas law graduates are mostly non-Malays. That is not true. Many non-Malays denied of the opportunity of studying Law in local universities opted to study law by correspondence. The CLP benefits this group of Law graduates who never have had to leave the country, and who study within the comfort of their own homes and at hours convenient to them – not to mention how much cheaper it would be. There was an attempt some time ago to scrap the CLP altogether.

    As for the low pass rate, it is the same for all professions. We cannot afford to have doctors checking their pocket books for clues as to the cause of their patients’ ailment – just as we cannot afford to have lawyers who waste their clients’ money for getting it wrong on the law or worse send them to jail for crimes they did not commit.

  49. #49 by Godamn Singh on Tuesday, 29 May 2007 - 6:34 am

    “What’s the rationale for the local qualifying exam – restrict the number of practitioners just like the CLP for lawyers?” Endangered Hornbill

    This is not true. Without the CLP I would never be able to qualify and practice law. In fact some years ago they wanted to do away with the CLP. This is now the only way to qualify for me.

  50. #50 by k1980 on Tuesday, 29 May 2007 - 10:37 am

    The “unified medical examination” for overseas med grads is not Chua’s idea— he certainly would never shoot himsemself in the foot with the general elections fast approaching — but the orders from his big boss who likes to eat nasi kandar and durians

  51. #51 by OnTheFence on Tuesday, 29 May 2007 - 11:18 am

    That is the dumbest idea i have heard in my entire life………We want to restrict doctor when the nation is in short supply of doctors????????

    I can understand the CLP exam due to difference of laws studied but is a human body diferrent around the world!!!!!

    mayb…in malaysia the politician body or organs are different from the rest of us peole coz..they have no heart!!!!


  52. #52 by Godamn Singh on Tuesday, 29 May 2007 - 5:42 pm

    Goddamn it!

    Richard Teo, come out of the woodwork and for God’s sake, defend yourself like a man and not cower behind your desk. It should be a source of great comfort to you to know that comments the like of which you make here are not seditious. So don’t hide behind the SEDITION ACT 1948 either.

    You are not above criticism. Speak up and defend yourself like a man. That’s what freedom of speech is all about – don’t just make statements.

  53. #53 by Count Dracula on Tuesday, 29 May 2007 - 11:24 pm

    GD Singh! Let’s not rub salt into raw wounds. Richard Teo is still licking his wounds from the onslaught he received on another thread.

    Show some mercy.

  54. #54 by Godamn Singh on Wednesday, 30 May 2007 - 4:14 am

    We are showing mercy what??! We only want to bungkus dia dan masok dalam peti besi. It is our job.

  55. #55 by DarkHorse on Wednesday, 30 May 2007 - 6:42 am


    The ‘Mufti’ thread took 147 hits – so far the highest!

  56. #56 by shaolin on Wednesday, 30 May 2007 - 12:00 pm

    To All Medical Undergrads,
    Think very carefully who is the big brother in the ruling party??
    What can CSL do if he is to take instruction from the ruling tyrant
    OR if he refuses to carry the order, he must pack and say good bye to all of you!! My ADVICE to ALL doing foreign Medical Degree
    holders, work elsewhere if the BOLEHLAND DOES NOT WELCOME YOU!
    You ALL can survive BETTER than choosing to work here. YOU LOVE
    Malaysia BUT BOLEHLAND does NOT LOVE YOU !!

  57. #57 by Godamn Singh on Wednesday, 30 May 2007 - 10:34 pm

    Don’t love you anymore??? Here’s the song

    “Rose, Rose I love you with an aching heart.
    What is your future, now we have to part?
    Standing on the jetty as the steamer moves away,
    Flower of Malaya, I cannot stay.

    Mei Kwei, oh, Mei Kwei for my Eastern Rose.
    Men crowd in dozens everywhere she goes.
    In her rickshaw on the street or in a cabaret,
    “Please Mei Kwei for Rose,” you can hear them say.

    All my life I shall remember…..”

  58. #58 by tc on Thursday, 31 May 2007 - 2:02 pm

    Let all medical graduates,whether they are from local or foreign universities take the unified medical exams.Make sure there is no tips leaked to any particular group before the exams.Papers should be set and marked by foreign medical professors.Is that asking for too much?Now the local medical graduates will start posting their objections and again they will curse CSL for the idea.

  59. #59 by BoDo Singh on Sunday, 3 June 2007 - 7:42 am

    I think this Richard Teo is stupid.

  60. #60 by accountability on Sunday, 3 June 2007 - 5:07 pm

    really never cease to amaze me how dumb our ministers are… and still they get voted back into govt after sticking their foot into their mouths time after time…

    now our overseas genius exports have every reason to stay where they are rather than come back to this god-forsaken land

  61. #61 by NewYorky on Monday, 4 June 2007 - 12:40 am

    CSL should retract his statement !! Think again.
    since he is back from taiwan..he made this statement. again because of plenty malaysian students study in various recognized university in Taiwan just keep on pushing and pushing CSL for more recognized university. ( msg for Student study in Taiwan ): Plz sit down and study your book. You should be very appreciate with the latest reconized in Taiwan. Study Hard.

    What yellow noodles, sallaries, and ect since CSL up!!??…after all we are eaten all those junk food or fast food EX: KFC, MCd..Burger King. Should we all re-evaluate again the standard for those fast food outlets|?|?

    WHy health department in Malaysia cannot focus on others sign and noticed in rural area, government hospital, ambulance car, hospital Food and suggestion box. Please check the suggestion in all government hospital, maybe CSl can find the solution and latest complaint by patient or public members.
    Or CSL just fatique sitting in his office doing nothing???

    Please, All family members (medical students) are waiting for them to return to Bolehland to serve the country.

    May God bless them.
    We should help each other.

    Please No more adding or reconized more and more Oversea University from now-onwards.

    May the case be solve/handle in humble and proffesional way !!

  62. #62 by unhasmedic on Monday, 4 June 2007 - 1:38 am

    The QE is open to abuse by parties with biased interests. We have yet to see a public system in Malaysia that is untainted with racist element. The QE would ultimately place quota restrictions on the aspirants and thus we shall end up seeing graduates of varied quality entering the profession. Should this take place, it would certainly defeat the purpose of having a “quality control” examination. Nevertheless, the move is excellent as a tool to screen incompetent or even potentially life endangering doctors practicing in Malaysia. But, will the QE be carried out with just and more important with the utmost transparency. With the current sociopolitical state in Malaysia, i doubt it. BTW, just as an interesting fact to all, there are recognised medical degrees that can be bought with money. Medical students who got kicked out from the local medical university in Malaysia came to these “selected” universities to continue their degrees. Imagine that! These are students who failed to meet the local requirements , who went through the university for a few semesters but then ended up kicked out by the university and landed in these oversea universities as “transferred students” and actually carry on with their study and would in the end “serve” you and me. Worse still? They receive sponsorship from JPA, MARA. What could actually be worse than that you asked? Well, they cam through the oversea university through agents who are in contact with the university faculty. And guess what? The agent is actually a specialist cum lecturer at the local university which these students got kicked put of. Interesting eh? Well….that’s what bolehland is cooking up for us all. How do i know about these? I am studying in the same university as well. A sad truth, indeed.

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