Celebrating medical excellence

UTAR’s MBBS alumni share life experiences in the medical field

12 Jan 2021 / 10:53 H.

SINCE its establishment on Nov 16, 2009, Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman’s (UTAR) Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS) has aspired to be the preferred centre of education and research for medical and health sciences. FMHS is devoted to producing competent, professional, compassionate and ethical graduates who are committed to clinical practice, research, lifelong learning and improvement, as well as the welfare of the community and the environment. Today, it has become a highly recognised faculty for nurturing well-trained doctors, nurses and physiotherapists.

In view of FMHS’ 11th anniversary, the faculty has gathered its Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) alumni to share their experiences and challenges of working in the medical field.

Dr Sara Ruth Zachariah

Dr Sara who has been working in the medical field for five years, says one of the challenges of the profession is working on-call shifts for 30 hours. “I try to be mindful of my health and wellbeing by taking breaks in between for my meals and power naps! Another challenge is breaking bad news. It doesn’t get easier! It has taught me how to assess and respond to emotional reactions, whether from the patient or their loved ones.

“One of my proudest achievements would be completing my housemanship in East Malaysia and having the opportunity to be part of the pioneering team in treating Covid-19 patients as a medical officer.”

She explained that the reason she chose to pursue her medical studies at UTAR was because “It is a well-known and reputable university, which provided medical education at an affordable fee. I also liked the idea of being part of the first batch of medical students produced by UTAR,” said Dr Sara who currently works as a frontline staff in Taiping, Perak.

Dr Eugene Tan

UTAR alumnus Dr Eugene Tan was among the third batch of students in the FMHS. He has been serving as a doctor for almost three years now. He chose this profession as he finds it challenging and fulfilling at the same time.

“One of the most challenging aspects of the medical field is that it is always changing; what may be relevant in the recent past may not be so today. So I believe adaptability is a quality important to all doctors in this respect,” he said.

When asked why he chose UTAR, he said, “UTAR was already an established university, to begin with, and had a stellar reputation back when I joined, and also the medical faculty has some of the most well-respected professors in Malaysia,” said Dr Tan who is currently serving in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

Dr Tan Loong Hui

“I’ve been working as a doctor for the past five years. I chose this profession because I wanted to help others. Indeed, being a doctor is not the only way to effectively help people in need, or the most efficient. However, for me, being a doctor means being equipped with knowledge that helps to do more good than harm,” said Dr Tan, another UTAR alumnus.

Dr Tan is from the pioneer batch of FMHS. According to him, the affordable price offered by the university was the main reason why he chose UTAR. “We are conditioned as a society to believe only highly expensive things mean quality, however that is not always true. UTAR, as a not-for-profit organisation, has allowed lecturers and students to focus on the true purpose of education, with less emphasis on commercial values, fame or whatever drives the market. UTAR provided us with as much privilege as others to pursue the same dream and cultivate our potential. And UTAR protects the rights of all to pursue an education that one chooses,” said Dr Tan who is currently serving in Selangor.

Dr Cheah Yu Wei

When asked why he chose this profession, Dr Cheah who is also from the pioneer batch of FMHS, recalled an interesting event that took place during his pre-admission interview to UTAR FMHS. “Interestingly, that was one of the questions Prof Dr Alan Ong Han Kiat asked me during the pre-admission interview to UTAR,” he said.

On choosing UTAR to pursue his studied, Dr Cheah said, “Other than the reasonable tuition fees compared to all the other private medical schools, the lecturers were the most important reason why I chose UTAR. Our respectable lecturers were among the earliest batch of locally trained doctors who understood the nature of doctors the country needs. Hence, the lecturers trained us to cater to the needs of the healthcare system in Malaysia. The clinical years prepared us well to handle housemanship and even professional exams for various speciality exams (MRCP, MRCOG, MRCPCH, etc).”

Dr Ang Jie Ying

Dr Ang started her life as a medical student in May 2010. She took five years to complete the MBBS course and two years to complete her houseman training at Hospital Sultanah Aminah Johor Bahru. She was among the first batch of MBBS students in UTAR. She is currently serving as a medical officer in Tawau, Sabah.

“I have always had a strong interest in being a healthcare worker from the time I was 12 years old. The interest was enhanced greatly when I witnessed the ‘magic’ performed by the paediatrician who cured my younger sister of her illness,” Dr Ang shared.

Dr Ang said that she reviewed the background of UTAR, its MBBS programme as well as the lecturers before choosing the university. “UTAR provided excellent quality in learning and teaching. The lecturers’ profiles showed that they were qualified professionals who can nurture students in different fields. Although my batch was the first to attend the MBBS course, UTAR’s ex-president, Ir Academician Emeritus Prof Tan Sri Dato’ Dr Chuah Hean Teik, was highly capable and he brought UTAR to its high peak.’

UTAR is one of the fastest growing private higher education institutions in the country since its inception in 2002. From only 411 students, the university now has about 22,000 students, with campuses located in Kampar, Perak, and Bandar Sungai Long, Selangor.

For more information, go to or call 05-468 8888 (Kampar Campus)/03- 9086 0288 (Sungai Long Campus).

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