Allow Medical Students To Reapply For JPA Scholarships, Deadline Was Last April: MMI

MMI urges JPA to allow eligible medical students to reapply for scholarships – following PM’s announcement on the continuation of med/ dentistry/ pharmacy scholarships – as the deadline for applications for JPA’s 2023 scholarships was last April 2, 2023.

KUALA LUMPUR, June 12 – The Malaysian Medics International (MMI) today appealed to the Public Service Department (JPA) to allow eligible medical students to reapply for scholarships, as the deadline for the 2023 scholarship programme ended last April.

Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim yesterday announced that JPA would continue sponsoring students in medicine, dentistry, and pharmacy, claiming that the agency’s decision to stop these scholarships was a “previous” policy. JPA had made the announcement last March.

“Despite revoking the decision, there were no indications of allowing interested applicants to apply for JPA scholarships for medical-related programmes, as the application deadline remained steadfast on April 2nd, 2023,” MMI, a medical students’ group, said in a statement.

“Securing a scholarship to pursue medical-related programmes would have been one’s only means of funding due to personal financial constraints. Consequently, we implore the relevant authorities to reconsider their stance and enable eligible individuals to reapply for the scholarships or establish alternative portals where they can apply for relevant scholarships.”

Anwar made yesterday’s announcement on the continuation of JPA scholarships for medical, dental, and pharmacy students after backlash, primarily from the medical fraternity, following media reports on last Thursday’s parliament reply from Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Armizan Mohd Ali that JPA stopped these scholarships this year due to a projected oversupply of medical officers from 2026 to 2030.

The minister had cited projections from a study by the Ministry of Health (MOH) that was published in 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 that led to a spike in resignations among contract doctors.

Armizan’s Dewan Rakyat reply was made in response to Tasek Gelugor MP Wan Saiful Wan Jan, who had asked for the rationale in the JPA stopping scholarships in medicine, dentistry, and pharmacy following JPA’s announcement on this last March.

“The intentions to reallocate resources to other sectors will come at the cost of the health care system, which has undergone significant transformations since the Covid-19 pandemic,” MMI said.

“The initial decision failed to acknowledge the nationwide reduction in health care professionals in both major and district hospitals and public health clinics in recent years.”

The medical students’ group urged the MOH to conduct a thorough and comprehensive review of human resources for health following the 2019 study.

Prior to Anwar’s announcement, Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa told reporters that the MOH was in talks with JPA over the latter’s initial decision to halt scholarships in medicine, dentistry, and pharmacy.

She added that the MOH was prepared to review its 2019 study, acknowledging that there were changes after the pandemic. 

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