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As MMC had taken more than three years to re-evaluate the CSMU medical degrees without anyone knowing it, will the MMC require 666 years to review the 333 foreign medical institutions currently recognized in Malaysia?

Media Conference Statement

-at Parliament (Committee Room One)

by Lim Kit Siang  

(Parliament, Thursday): The endorsement of  the Malaysian Medical Council’s decision to withdraw recognition of degrees from the Crimea State Medical University (CSMU) from January 1 next year as announced by the Health Minister, Datuk Dr Chua Sui Lek yesterday is most unsatisfactory for a variety of reasons, particularly in failing to give a proper and convincing statement enumerating the failings and shortcomings of the CSMU medical degrees four years after its original recognition in 2001 rather than relying on hearsay, and why CSMU was not informed that MMC was actively considering derecognition and given  a grace period to comply with the MMC’s requirements.

As the University of Malaya was  given five years notice before the derecognition of its medical degrees by  the  United Kingdom  General Medical Council in the early eighties, such international “best practices” should not be alien to the MMC or the Malaysian government.

Adding to the confusion is the claim by the MIC President and Works Minister, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu give profuse thanks to the Prime Minister and the Cabinet for agreeing to the MIC’s request to allow the 247 pre-medical students who are already at CSMU to continue their studies when in the first place, they are not affected by the original MMC decision setting  the deadline for derecognition for students enrolling after 1st January next year. 

This is because  this group of 247 pre-medical students already at CMSU would have completed their 10-month pre-medical/foundation course which started in September/October each   year to be in time for their first-year admission for  the CSMU medical degree course, as  the academic year begins  in the second week of September.

Further confusion has been generated by Samy’s  claim that he and MIC had never perceived the CSMU issue as racial issue, despite his public outburst on June 18 lambasting the MMC “for not wanting many Malaysian Indians to become doctors”.

If Samy Vellu is right, then MIC Secretary-General Datuk S. Sothinathan had not only breached Barisan Nasional discipline in Parliament for which he has been suspended for three months as Deputy Minister, he has also violated MIC party discipline.  Is MIC going to take party discipline against its Secretary-General?

Chua’s announcement of the Cabinet decision for a re-evaluation of the medical qualifications of 333 foreign medical institutions recognized by the MMC has come as a surprise at this juncture, for it is clearly  more prompted by the motive to distract attention from the CSMU controversy than to have a proper evaluation of the medical standards of these 333 foreign medical institutions.

As MMC had taken more than three years to re-evaluate the CSMU medical degrees h without anyone knowing it, will the MMC require 666 years to review the 333 foreign medical institutions currently recognized in Malaysia?

Furthermore, how many and what  foreign medical institutions are currently being evaluated by the MMC for recognition of their medical qualifications?

I wish to reiterate the two-point call of the parliamentary roundtable on Sunday on the CSMU controversy,viz:

  • suspension of the MMC derecognition of the CSMU medical degrees to give a grace period for CSMU to comply with the MMC requirements; and

  • Call on the Health Minister to present a Ministerial statement in Parliament to give a full and satisfactory account of the background, history, process  and reasons for the MMC’s  derecognition of the CSMU medical degrees, making public  the report and recommendations of the various technical committees which had visited CSMU in the past few years.

Yesterday, Chua failed to give such a full and satisfactory account, as he even appeared to rely on hearsay.

CSMU has said that it had never been informed by MMC that its medical degrees were under review for derecognition, and the Ukranian Ambassador to Malaysia, Oleksandr D. Shevchenko has confirmed that in his discussions with MMC and the Higher Education Ministry officials since last year, the subject was the recognition of degrees of ten other Ukranian medical universities and he had no inkling whatsoever that CSMU medical degrees were being reviewed for derecognition.

On 7th November 2004, the MMC Secretary Dr.Wan Mazlan bin Mohamed Woojdy wrote to the CSMU forwarding written complaints which MMC had received from parents of CSMU students on three grounds, viz:

  • A sudden increase in the hostel fee from USD150 to USD540 per annum;

  • Five students are placed in hostel rooms meant for three;

  • An allegation that Malaysian students sitting for their “state exams” are required to pay a fee or commission ranging from USD50 to USD200 to certain professors in order to pass.

As far as I know, CSMU replied to MMC clarifying or denying the allegations, and expressing CSMU’s preparedness to work closely with MMC in the best interests of the Malaysian students in CSMU.  I do not know  whether MMC is satisfied or otherwise with these explanations.

I have said during the emergency debate on the CSMU controversy  in Parliament last Tuesday that I am no advocate or defender for CSMU and that I fully support any MMC effort to protect the  quality of medical education undertaken by Malaysian students whether locally or abroad, as patient interests must never be compromised,  but I am also for justice, fair play, accountability and transparency, which is still sorely lacking despite  this matter going to the Cabinet yesterday.

Chua should set an example of Ministerial and parliamentary “best practices” by presenting a full Ministerial statement on the issue in the current meeting of Parliament.



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

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