Provide Data, Selection Criteria For HLP Scholarships — Malaysian Medics International

The Malaysian Medics International calls for data on the number of HLP scholarships offered and accepted in previous years, as well as the selection criteria for HLP that remain unclear, citing possible age restrictions or number of years in service.

In response to the CodeBlue article published on April 12, 2024, which highlights the approach by the Ministry of Health (MOH) to increase Hadiah Latihan Persekutuan (HLP) scholarships offers, Malaysian Medics International (MMI) would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to the MOH in prioritising the future of health care professionals. 

According to the article, Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad said that the MOH will increase the number of HLP sponsorships and parallel pathways slots to 1,650 slots for the 2024/2025 session and 600 slots for parallel pathway programmes, compared to the previous 1,220 slots for the 2020/2021 session.

This initiative marks a milestone for health care professionals working towards specialisation. In line with this development, we humbly call upon the MOH and the relevant departments to consider the following:  

Clarify And Provide Statistics From Previous Years

Expanding training opportunities for medical specialists, such as increasing HLP sponsorships and parallel pathway slots, is an important approach in overcoming current health care challenges in Malaysia.

In recent years, Malaysia has been facing a shortage of specialists, and this could potentially develop into a major problem in meeting the health care needs of the country’s population.

Limited training opportunities will hinder doctors’ professional growth, while the public will suffer from the repercussions of the shortage, as this would mean longer waiting times and reduced access to complex treatments. 

Therefore, providing additional training opportunities is not just to address disputes or legal battles, but also to ensure quality health care services for all citizens.

Statistics from previous years regarding the number of slots offered and accepted should be reviewed and publicly displayed. The MOH has previously agreed to provide contract house officers with an opportunity to apply for HLP, hence MMI would appreciate it if the MOH could provide us with further information regarding the data on the numbers of HLP accepted by house officers. 

This would provide health care professionals with accessible information and data transparency for a more inclusive discussion pertaining to these problems. 

Public scrutiny further ensures that the distribution of HLP slots and the training of specialist doctors are carried out transparently, thus preventing any possible misuse of resources or favouritism during the selection process and enhancing trust in the public health care system. 

Moreover, including the public in this topic would instil a feeling of accountability and empathy for the health care system. Furthermore, the MOH should strive to continue expanding the number of slots for HLP sponsorships and parallel pathway programmes in order to address these shortages. 

Clarify The Implementation Of The Current Plan

The current plan highlights that access to HLP scholarships is limited by several factors. Firstly, limited spots in the scholarship challenge doctors to obtain their specialisation training. 

Secondly, the scholarship’s selection criteria remain unclear, therefore adding confusion and complications to the application process. 

For example, eligibility for the scholarship application may be based on age restrictions or having an acceptable number of years in service.

The Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) should work collaboratively with the MOH, Hartal Doktor Kontrak, and societies such as the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA), the Islamic Medical Association of Malaysia (IMAM), and MMI towards developing clear and transparent guidelines for recognising qualifications obtained through parallel pathway training. 

This would reduce and resolve disputes while ensuring a fair evaluation of candidates’ credentials. MMI would also appreciate more townhall sessions or panel discussions with specialists and representatives from the MOH and MMC, along with medical universities, to listen to the perspectives of medical students and provide sound insight into specialist training. 

This would greatly benefit medical students and health care professionals by providing clarity in the planning and preparation of their careers.

In conclusion, we urge the MOH to promptly consider and address the aforementioned issues. This theme is a great concern for the health care field and should be resolved as soon as possible.

  • This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of CodeBlue.

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