Parallel Pathway Debate Event To Proceed Despite MMC’s Legal Letter To CodeBlue

The Great Parallel Pathway Debate event, co-organised by CodeBlue and MMI, will proceed despite MMC’s legal letter to CodeBlue. The debate features a new speaker line-up: senior lawyer New Sin Yew from AmerBON, Advocates & Galen Centre’s Azrul Mohd Khalib.

KUALA LUMPUR, May 23 — The Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) sent CodeBlue earlier today a legal letter over The Great Parallel Pathway Debate event scheduled for this Saturday.

MMC’s law firm, Kanesh Sundrum & Co., cited ongoing judicial review proceedings in the case of four cardiothoracic surgery parallel pathway graduates against the regulator of the medical profession over the MMC’s refusal to register them as specialists on the National Specialist Register (NSR). 

This was due to MMC’s non-recognition of their Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in Cardiothoracic Surgery (FRCS Ed) qualification.

“Our clients have instructed us to communicate with you their opinion, that in view of the pending legal proceedings, caution should be exercised in the discussion of issues pertaining to the parallel pathway programmes during The Great Parallel Pathway Debate on May 25, 2024, so as to ensure that there is no discussion of the merits of the above Judicial Review proceedings,” Kanesh Sundrum & Co. said in its letter to CodeBlue.

“Any such discussion may amount to breach of the subjudice rule which bars comment on the subject matter of ongoing litigation. 

“While our clients have no intention to restrict public discourse on matters of public interest, you will appreciate that courts in this country have recognised that when litigation is pending and actively in suit before the court, no one shall comment on it in such a way that there is a real and substantial danger of prejudice to the proceedings, or prejudge the outcome before the same is ascertained or determined in the proceedings.

“We trust that you will therefore take the necessary steps in this regard.”

MMC’s lawyers added: “Our clients appreciate that CodeBlue plays a role in promoting public discourse on a variety of matters regarding health care and health issues, including issues affecting the medical profession.”

Despite MMC’s legal letter, CodeBlue will proceed with The Great Parallel Pathway Debate public event this Saturday in Kuala Lumpur.

The purpose of the academic debate is to openly debate various issues pertaining to the parallel pathway programme and medical specialty training in Malaysia, in light of the government’s plans to table amendments to the Medical Act in the upcoming Dewan Rakyat meeting that begins in June.

The debate motion is also specific to the proposed amendment bill: “This House believes that the Medical Act should be amended to recognise the parallel pathway”.

Every Malaysian citizen has the right to comment on legislative matters pending before Parliament because this country is a democracy. 

Exercising freedom of speech on matters of public interest and proposed legislation is not a right exclusive to Cabinet ministers or Members of Parliament, who themselves rely on public opinion and stakeholder engagement to determine how to make law, and debate and vote on bills.

New Speaker Line-Up Omits Medical Doctors, MMI Joins As Event Co-Organiser

CodeBlue would also like to announce a new speaker line-up for The Great Parallel Pathway Debate event this Saturday. 

Due to unforeseen circumstances, all four speakers on the original line-up – Dr Rajeentheran Suntheralingam, Dr Milton Lum, Dr Dayang Anita Abdul Aziz, and Prof Dr Raja Amin Raja Mokhtar – are no longer slated to speak.

The new speaker line-up comprises:

  • Proposition Speaker: New Sin Yew, senior advocate, AmerBON Advocates
  • Opposition Speaker: Azrul Mohd Khalib, chief executive, Galen Centre for Health and Social Policy

The debate Chair is Nicolas Ong Zhe Sheng, a third-year medical student and event executive of the Malaysian Medics International (MMI).

The debate motion is: “This House believes that the Medical Act should be amended to recognise the parallel pathway”.

Emails will be sent out offering refunds to those who purchased admission tickets – prior to today’s announcement – if they wish to cancel their attendance, in light of the change in the speaker line-up.

We are also pleased to announce that MMI, a medical student-led organisation based in Malaysia, has come on board as event co-organiser with CodeBlue.

Other event details remain unchanged. 

The debate event will be held on May 25 (Saturday) from 2.30 to 4pm at the Seminar Room, the Asian International Arbitration Centre, Bangunan Sulaiman, Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin in Kuala Lumpur.

This event is a ticketed one: admission tickets are available for RM25 on Eventbrite here.

Below are the Speaker and Chair biodatas:

New Sin Yew

New Sin Yew read law at Cardiff University and was called to the English Bar (Lincoln’s Inn) in 2010. He was admitted as an advocate and solicitor of the High Court of Malaya in 2011. He holds a Master of Science (M.Sc) in International Human Rights Law from Oxford University for which he read as a Oxford-Boustead Scholar.

Sin Yew specialises in the area of financial and regulatory crimes and offences. He appears regularly in a wide range of cases involving capital markets and services, directors’ duties, shareholders’ disputes, good governance, fraud, and breach of trust.

He is also recognised as an authority on human rights and constitutional law in Malaysia. He routinely represents human rights defenders, civil society, and victims of human rights violations. He is a sought-after legal commentator on new media, television, and radio on these issues.

Sin Yew is active in civil society organisations and human rights advocacy work. He was previously a steering committee member of Bersih, the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections.

Sin Yew has been an elected member of the Bar Council, the governing body of the Malaysian Bar, since 2019.

Azrul Mohd Khalib

With an education in genetics and public health policy, Azrul has worked as a health development programme specialist for more than 21 years. He has experience working on issues related to social welfare, public health,  HIV/AIDS, reproductive health, gender based violence, and humanitarian assistance.

Previous positions have been with the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS); International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF); United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)/ Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS); International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC); United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Malaysian AIDS Council (MAC).

He is a writer and was a columnist with two Malaysian publications, The Malay Mail and China Press. Azrul is currently a board member of the Centre to Combat Corruption & Cronyism (C4) based in Malaysia.

Azrul has also been a former university debater and adjudicator.

Nicolas Ong Zhe Sheng

Nicolas Ong Zhe Sheng is a third-year medical student in MAHSA University, who aspires to be a cardiothoracic surgeon. 

In medical school, Nicolas has demonstrated exceptional leadership and organisational skills – he served as the president of the Medical Society (MedSoc), where he successfully led the organisation and coordinated numerous academic and social events, significantly enhancing the student experience. 

Currently, Nicolas is the Event Executive of the MMI, planning and executing events that contribute to the professional development of the future generation of doctors.

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