Call on MCA, Gerakan and UMNO Ministers to back Samy Vellu in Cabinet on Wednesday to suspend the high-handed, arbitrary  and insensitive derecognition of the Ukraine’s Crimea State Medical University (CSMU) medical degrees to ensure that deserving Malaysian students, including high-achievers, are not subject to double discrimination and  denied opportunities of medical education abroad

Media Conference Statement
Lim Kit Siang

(Penang, Sunday): I fully back the MIC President and Works Minister, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu who lambasted the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC)  for announcing on  Thursday withdrawal of the recognition given to the medical degree of Crimea State Medical University.

MCA, Gerakan and UMNO Ministers should back Samy Vellu in Cabinet on Wednesday to suspend the high-handed, arbitrary  and insensitive derecognition of the Ukraine’s Crimea State Medical University (CSMU) medical degrees to ensure that deserving Malaysian students, including high-achievers, are not subject to double discrimination and denied opportunities of medical education abroad.

CSMU has become the single biggest university, whether in Malaysia or in the world, with the highest concentration of Malaysian students pursuing medical studies, with   some 1,100 Malaysian students pursuing the medical degree. 

This has come about because CSMU offers the cheapest medical course for Malaysians which is recognized by the government, including local medical faculties or colleges.

It is estimated that it will cost some RM400,000 to pursue a medical degree in Australia, RM500,000 in Canada, RM630,000 in the United Kingdom and RM700,000 in the United States.   It will cost some RM250,000 to pursue medical studies locally in the private institutions of higher learning while the cost of a medical course at the CMSU is RM100,000.

The MMC has acted most irresponsibly in failing to take these important considerations into account when deciding  on the derecognition of the CMSU medical degree.

Malaysians fully agree with the MMC President Datuk Dr. Ismail Marican that the MMC, as the custodian of the medical profession in Malaysia, should not compromise on patient safety – although there is room for debate whether the MMC had unswervingly abided by this benchmark in its history.

Be that as it may, MMC cannot be faulted in wanting to ensure that Malaysian students in medical courses, whether locally or abroad, are trained to become quality doctors when they graduate and not be shortchanged, but the MMC must demonstrate that it is  fully sensitive to  the vast ramifications of its responsibilities and the need to act with fairness, transparency and flexibility, or it has only itself to blame if it is accused of ulterior motives like the serious allegation by Samy Vellu that the MMC just wanted to stop Indians from becoming doctors.

There are three  other facts about the Crimea State Medical University that must be borne in mind:

  • Firstly, CSMU is not just a faculty of medicine but a full medical University, which is registered with the World Health Organisation, with foreign students from about 38 countries.  It is ranked No. 2 out of 27 medical universities in Ukraine, with more than 40 years of teaching experience and graduating more than 25,000 doctors.  It has 68 departments or faculties and more than 600 professors and 12 hospitals with 8,000 beds.
  • Secondly, out of the some 1,100 Malaysian students in the CSMU, the racial breakdown is about 300 Malays, 240 Chinese, 470 Indians and 25 others.
  • Thirdly, students have been sent to CSMU  from government and other agencies, such as Angkatan Tentera Malaysia, MARA, Yayasan Selangor, Yayasan Terengganu, MIED, KOJADI, various banks, etc.

The MMC decision to withdraw recognition of CSMU medical degree raises many questions, including:

1. Why was the CSMU not given a grace period of time to comply with the requirements of the MMC with withdrawal of recognition.  The MMC visited CSMU in mid-2003 but it had never informed CSMU about its dissatisfactions.

2. Dr. Ismail said  CSMU “lowered its entry standards to such an extent that it was accepting arts stream dropouts and academically poor science stream studuents".

This is most inexplicable as since 2003, CSMU had only accepted medical students who had the “No Objection Letter” from the Higher Education Ministry, which required the minimum requirement of three principal Cs in the STPM or equivalent or a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 3 for medicine and dentistry courses.

CSMU has said that it had strictly complied with the  Cabinet decision in August 2003 on the “No Objection Letter” on the standards set for Malaysian students to pursue medical study.

I understand that in most cases, Malaysian students in CSMU are high-achievers who have achieved more than the required CGPA 3.0 before a “Non Objection Letter” would be released by the Higher Education Ministry.

Has the MMC evidence that CSMU had breached the “No Objection Letter” requirement?

Unless the  CSMU medical standards are irredeemably low, in which case it should never have been given recognition in 2001 in the first place, it is only fair and right that CSMU should be given a grace period to comply with whatever shortcomings found  by the MMC, and not for derecognition to be announced so arbitrarily, summarily and absolutely – especially in view of the fact that it provides the cheapest medical education to the largest number of Malaysian students in any one place.

MMC should immediately suspend its decision on derecognition of the CSMU medical degrees, make public the shortcomings of the CSMU medical programme and give the CSMU a grace period to comply with them before a final decision on derecognition is made.

Alternative, the Cabinet, with MCA, Gerakan and UMNO Minister supporting Samy Vellu, should direct the MMC to suspend the derecognition decision to allow CSMU a grace period for rectification.




*  Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman