MMA demands explanation over move to stop sponsorships for students who wish to study medicine

26 Mar 2023 11:29am
MMA president Dr Muruga Raj Rajathurai
MMA president Dr Muruga Raj Rajathurai

SHAH ALAM - The Public Service Department (PSD) must explain its sudden move to stop sponsoring local university students who want to pursue their studies in the medical field.

Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) president Dr Muruga Raj Rajathurai said although the government needed to control the number of medical graduates, stopping the scholarships might not be the way.

“Will this move affect the expertise is needed in the public healthcare sector in the near future and long term?

“What is the government’s policy on human resources planning for the public healthcare sector?,” he said in a statement, today.

PSD in a statement yesterday announced that medicine, dentistry, and pharmacy were among the fields it would no longer be sponsoring, this year.

In the statement, it said the other fields that it would not sponsor were those that required students to take up licences such as piloting and diving and public university franchise programmes or private institutions of higher learning (IPTS).

It added that it would only sponsor students who were pursuing first-degree studies in public universities, premier polytechnics, and government-linked universities that were selected by the department for convertible loans.

Muruga said he hoped that PDA would be able to share its projection of medical officers, specialists, allied healthcare personnel, and other healthcare staff that will be needed for the next five to ten years.

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He said the country has yet to meet the recommended 1:400 doctor-to-patient ratio in public healthcare facilities adding that in some hospitals, there would be a ratio of one doctor to 1,000 patients and there were still shortages in the number of public healthcare specialists.

“There has to be sufficient planning of healthcare human resources, taking into consideration the needs and population growth.

“Sufficient time is also required to train workers in healthcare sectors. Our concern is that there might not be enough specialists in the future as the demand of such services are increasing and is expected to further increase due to the ageing population.

“Malaysia will reach the status of an ageing nation in 2030 where 15 per cent of its population will be 60 or older. How do we prepare for this demographic change in our population?,” he said.

He added that local university students who wanted to pursue a career in the field will need support.

“All parties must continue to support them as not all students come from a well-off family,” he said.