Friday, June 21, 2013

Medical grads in limbo, want govt help

Free Malaysia Today

GEORGE TOWN: There are some 450 jobless but qualified medical doctors in Malaysia from unrecognised universities abroad. Last year they were given a lifeline when the Malaysian Medical Council allowed them to sit for the Medical Qualifying Examination (MQE) at private medical universities. As a result more of these unscheduled doctors managed to pass MQE last year than previous years.
But their respite was short-lived when MMC suddenly cancelled this year’s MQE intake in private universities without any explanation.
Now the qualified doctors are in limbo.
Led by Penang Consumers Protection Association (PCPA) K Koris Atan, some of these unscheduled doctors sought the help of new Health Minister Dr S Subramaniam.
They met Dr Subramaniam on June 10 in Putrajaya, hoping that the MIC strongman would somehow end their predicament. But, they returned home dismayed by his indifferent ministerial response.
After listening to them for only eight minutes, the minister finally told them that “I can’t do much on this matter.”
Koris said the medical doctors were terribly upset with Subramaniam’s tepid response.
“He just washed his hands off the issue,” said Koris. Also present with Koris were Hindraf advisor N Ganesan and seven affected doctors, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The doctors graduated from unrecognised medical universities in Romania and Ukraine. They have also passed the European Union examination for medical graduates to obtain practising licences. But these medical graduates from unrecognised universities need to pass the MQE in order to start their housemanship and be registered as medical doctors in Malaysia.
Previously unscheduled medical graduates from unrecognised foreign universities could only sit for the MQE at three local universities – Universiti Malaya (UM), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) and Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM).
But the number of those unscheduled doctors who managed to pass the examinations was extremely low. Last year however, many unscheduled doctors managed to pass MQE when MMC expanded the examination to private medical institutions AIMST University, Melaka-Manipal Medical College and Monash University Sunway Campus.
Now that too had stopped for reasons best know to MMC and the Health Ministry. “Until today no one knows why MQE was suddenly stopped this year. “The doctors and their families are in dilemma,” said Ganesan.
Although qualified as doctors recognised by European and Commonwealth countries, he said they were left in a lurch in Malaysia because their degrees were not recognised by the government.
Currently MMC recognises 375 universities in over 30 countries. Each medical graduate spends about RM200,000 to 300,000 to complete a six-year medical degree course in unscheduled universities abroad. It’s cheaper than the over RM500,000 needed to pursue a medical course in Malaysia.
Ganesan said some unscheduled doctors were forced to sit at home unable to get employment, while some have taken up jobs unrelated to their medical degrees.
Some are working in pharmaceutical warehouses, as car salesman and insurance agents, and some had resorted to selling different products to make a living. Several others have left Malaysia to earn a livelihood as medical doctor in foreign land.
“We are qualified professionals, and yet we are unrecognised by our very own government when others recognise us. “The MQE path too had been closed now. “We want to serve the country but we are denied the chance,” said the disappointed doctors.
Hindraf will refer the issue to Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister Department, Senator P Waythamoorthy. “The government should end its flip-flop and step in immediately to address this issue,” said Ganesan.

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