Medical Act Amendment Bill Gains Steam With Proposed MOH-MOHE Cabinet Memo

The proposed Medical Act amendment bill is gaining momentum, after both Health Minister Dr Dzul and Higher Education Minister Zambry Kadir decided at a meeting yesterday to submit a joint memorandum to Cabinet soon to resolve the parallel pathway conflict.

KUALA LUMPUR, April 19 — Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad and Higher Education Minister Zambry Abdul Kadir have agreed to submit a joint memorandum to Cabinet for proposed amendments to the Medical Act 1971.

Both ministers held a meeting at the Ministry of Higher Education’s (MOHE) headquarters in Putrajaya yesterday to discuss the parallel pathway programme, amid an open war between advocates of the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) specialist training pathway and opponents from mostly university academia.

“Based on the discussion in this meeting, a Memorandum will be brought to Cabinet for further approval. This is in line with the MOH’s desire to provide optimum health services to Malaysians,” said the MOH in a statement yesterday.

In a post on X, Dzulkefly called it a “historic” meeting that has produced a “solid understanding”. Among those present at the meeting were Health director-general Dr Muhammad Radzi Abu Hassan, who is also Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) president, and MOHE secretary-general Zaini Ujang.

Last December, MMC rejected applications by at least four graduates with the Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in Cardiothoracic Surgery (FRCS Ed) to register as specialists on the National Specialist Register (NSR), prompting a judicial review application that was given leave by the High Court here last Wednesday.

In a statement last March 25, Dr Muhammad Radzi claimed that MMC had never recognised the FRCS Ed in cardiothoracic surgery qualification.

Proponents of the MOH’s specialist training programme with overseas royal colleges insist that flawed law must adapt to government policy, while opponents question the safety of graduates produced by the parallel pathway.

Racial elements in the conflict have also emerged, after former Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) vice chancellor Prof Emeritus Ibrahim Shah Abu Shah labelled the parallel pathway “haram”.

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