MMA backs BM relaxation, Subramaniam to explain on Wednesday

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) said the Public Service Department's (PSD) decision to relax the Bahasa Melayu (BM) requirement for the appointment of Grade UD41 contract medical officers will prevent the loss of expertise of hundreds of medical graduates each year.

The decision would allow 300 to 400 medical graduates including those who studied abroad and sat for O-level examination in international schools to undergo graduate training for two years and the mandatory two years in the Ministry of Health.

Its president, Dr Ravindran R. Naidu said this would allow them to qualify for a medical practitioner's certificates and register with the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) while maintaining human capital in medicine.

"If the medical graduates cannot undergo graduate and mandatory training, they cannot become a doctor and the country will lose.

"They cannot work in private clinics and pharmacies without a medical practitioners certificates. So do they have to become taxi drivers or bus conductors?"

He was commenting on the PSD decision to relax the BM requirement for contract appointment of Grade UD41 medical officers who did not sit for BM paper in the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health said it will give a detailed explanation to the Cabinet on Wednesday over the relaxation of the BM requirement for the appointment of contract Grade UD41 medical officers.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said such the explanation was needed to clear the air over the issue.

"Many quarters have misunderstood the issue although Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah had issued a statement.

"As such, it is better for me to explain to the Cabinet first before explaining to the people," he told reporters after the Inspire to Aspire 2017 programme , here yesterday.

Subramaniam's statement came after Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi asked him and Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Joseph Entulu Belaun to explain the issue.

On Monday, Noor Hisham said the relaxation would allow medical graduates to undergo training and compulsory service for two years but they must pass BM at SPM-level to be appointed on permanent basis.

The decision drew criticisms from proponents of BM who feared that the national language would be sidelined and create a communication problem between medical officers and the patients.

Ravindran said it was not a big issue since the graduates had to pass BM at SPM level for permanent appointment of medical officers in the Ministry of Health.

The perceived communication problem between medical officers and patients did not arise since the medical graduates were Malaysians and thus were able to speak the national language.

Currently, the ratio of doctors in Malaysia is 1:600 patients, compared to the target of 1:400 by 2020. — Bernama