In March 28 , 2014 edition of Malaysian Nanban, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramanian was quoted as saying that Indian Malaysian parents should realise that currently there are about 37,000 doctors in the country and in the next five years that number is expected to grow by another 30,000.
“The government cannot afford to employ all these doctors in the future. There will be a glut of doctors and there will be unemployment in this field,” he was quoted as saying.
Deputy Education Minister P.Kamalanathan also recently said that for this year’ ( 2014/2015 ) public university intake, 418 places of medical programmes were offered so as to control the number of new medical graduates and avoid a flood of new doctors in the employment market.
Yet, the fact is that there have been annual reductions of places for medical studies in local public universities since 2011.
I have checked and found the following statistics:-
Academic Year Intake of new medical students
2013/2014 — 699
On March 17 this year, I had asked a parliamentary question on government’s plans to address the issue of oversupply of doctors following concern raised by Malaysian Medical Association. Health Minister Datuk Subramanian listed a few steps, including the imposition of moratorium on new medical courses by institutions of higher learning, but he did not mention at all the reduction of medical places in public universities.
So why did Subramanian fail to inform Parliament about the reduction plans at public universities? Did he intentionally fail to provide full answers to Parliament?
If the government feels that the reduction plan is necessary and correct, there is certainly no need to hide such plan from Parliament and the public.
This year’s reduction has caused more top scorers to fail to gain admission into their favored medical programmes.
On August 22, it was reported in the Chinapress Daily that a Matriculation college top scorer from Sg Siput with perfect CGPA of 4.0 and co curricular activity of 100 marks has failed to get a spot in medicine or dentistry programme in local public university. She was only offered Sains Instrumentasi.
Her father works as a construction worker while her mother takes up two jobs—as a dishwasher at a coffee shop and as an hourly cleaning maid.
What will Subramaniam advise this student to do? Take up Sains Instrumentasi?
In the next parliamentary session, I will demand government’s answers to the following questions:-
1. Is it not true that the existence of too many private medical schools is the main cause of oversupply of doctors?
2. Should not any plan to reduce production of new medical doctors start with the private medical schools?
3. Is it not true that government’s failure to build more hospitals has aggravated the problem of oversupply of new doctors?