Lim Guan Eng warns of potential waste in RM 132 million allocated to medical trainees

Failure to amend the Medical Act 1971 to include the parallel pathway specialist training program risks wasting RM 132 million allocated for trainees in cardiothoracic surgery, plastic surgery, and family medicine, warned Democratic Action Party (DAP) national chairman Lim Guan Eng. 

“If the Medical Act is not amended to include the parallel pathway specialist training program, the expenditure of up to RM 132 million allocated for 10 cardiothoracic surgery trainees, 7 plastic surgery trainees, and 1403 family medicine trainees will go to waste,” Lim said. 

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad had said during the minister question time in Dewan Rakyat that the training costs for one cardiothoracic surgery trainee for 6 years amount to RM 250,000, while for one plastic surgery trainee for 4 years, is RM 180,000. Family medicine trainees incur costs of RM 100,000 for Membership of The Irish College of General Practitioners (MICGP) and RM 60,000 for Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of General Practitioners (FRACGP) over 4 years.

Lim added that the significant RM 132 million investment in the parallel pathway training, whether funded by the government or private sectors, should not be squandered. 

“Most local doctors aspiring for specialist training prefer the parallel pathway,” he said. 

Lim added that amending the Medical Act to include the parallel pathway specialist training program is crucial for local patients awaiting surgeries and treatments by specialist doctors in government hospitals. 

“All doctors in Malaysia should have the opportunity to fully realize their potential as specialists, thereby providing the best medical care for local patients,” he said. 

Lim also said that all patients deserve optimal treatment regardless of the doctors’ ethnicity or background. 

“We must remember that patients and qualified doctors should not be judged by their race or background,” he added. 

Lim also said that the DAP fully supports the proposal by Dr Dzulkefly to amend the Medical Act in the July session of Parliament this year to legalize and affirm the parallel pathway specialist training system.

The controversy surrounding the parallel pathway arose when Malaysian graduates, sponsored by the government to pursue cardiothoracic surgery studies at the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd), faced obstacles practicing in Malaysia due to their qualifications not being recognized by the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC).

The Dewan Rakyat was informed that the proposed amendments to the Medical Act 1971 aims to resolve inconsistencies related to specialist training through both parallel pathways and local master’s programs.

In the fourth week of this Parliament session, a bill on amendments to the Medical Act is slated to be tabled and debated.