DAP calls for a 10-year Quality Medical Education Master Plan for Malaysia to become a world-class medical education, health-care and biomedical hub


Media Statement 
by Lim Kit Siang

(Penang, Sunday): University Malaya Vice Chancellor Prof. Datuk Dr. Anuar Zaini Mohd Zain yesterday sounded the alarm over the decline in teaching standards in public and private medical schools, warning that  a lack of qualified academic staff was affecting medical education and the quality of doctors produced.   

This is  a problem which had afflicted the country for close to three decades, worsening  with every passing year since  the United Kingdom General Medical Council (GMC) withdrew its recognition for the MBBS of the University of Malaya from 1985 after the failure of the university authorities to remedy major deficiencies in its medical school programme although it was given seven years to do so. 

Although there are now seven government medical colleges in Universiti Malaya, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Universiti Putra Malaysia, International Islamic University, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak and Universiti Malaysia Sabah, Malaysia has not been able to establish itself as a centre of medical education of excellence with internationally-acknowledged first-rate medical schools.  

Parliament should take the cue from the alarm sounded by Anuar yesterday and transform the current parliamentary debate on the 2003 Budget into a major post-mortem on the quality both of medical education and healthcare in Malaysia..

Anuar said the ratio of medical lecturers to students in the seven public medical colleges was currently 1:16, adding that it should be ideally 1:5, which was the ratio in Singapore. 

What is the ratio of medical lecturers to students in the five private medical colleges, namely the International Medical University, Melaka-Manipal Medical College, Penang Medical College, Perak Medical College and Asian Institute of Medicine, Science and Technology (AIMST) in Sungei Patani, Kedah?

Furthermore, what is the quality of the medical lecturers in the public and private medical colleges?

Annuar said  many colleges are importing foreign medical academic staff,usually from Bangladesh, India and Myanmar,  with at least one college depending solely on this group of lecturers.  

Malaysia is facing a crisis of quality medical  education because of the twin problems of :

It has been a matter of grave concern to thinking Malaysians that one private medical college proposes to increase its annual  intake to 600 to 700 students, which will be equivalent to the combined intake of all public medical  schools in the country.

Other  matters of grave concern  are  that private colleges are allowed to twin with foreign medical schools of dubious  standards, like the North Sumatra Medical University, or allowed to start a medical degree programme without any approval from the Education Ministry, like the MIC-backed Asian Institute of Medicine, Science and Technology (AIMST) in Kedah.

DAP calls for a 10-year Quality Medical Education Master Plan for Malaysia to become a world-class medical education, health-care and biomedical hub, which should review the present medical education system and make recommendations for reforms for public and private medical education in the country, including:  

(29/9/2002)


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman