Cabinet Discussed MQA-MMC Conflict In Parallel Pathway: Minister

Comms Minister Fahmi Fadzil says today’s Cabinet meeting discussed the need to amend an unspecified Act or Acts in the parallel pathway issue. A Cabinet paper will be tabled next week. “The parallel pathway issue involves a conflict between MQA and MMC.”

KUALA LUMPUR, May 29 — The Cabinet meeting today discussed a conflict between the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) and the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) in the parallel pathway for medical specialty training. 

Communications Minister Fahmi Fadzil said Higher Education Minister Zambry Abdul Kadir and representatives from the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) informed the Cabinet about the need to amend certain unspecified legislations.

“A Cabinet paper will be tabled next week,” Fahmi told a press conference after the Cabinet meeting.

“The parallel pathway issue involves a conflict between MQA and MMC. For doctors, they get through MMC, but for others, it’s through MQA. Proposed amendments to a few Acts or an Act will be discussed next week. 

“However, the Cabinet wasn’t informed what the specific Act or Acts are. We need to wait for the paper that will be tabled next week.” 

Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad, who is currently attending the 77th World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland, posted on X recently that a Cabinet memo on the parallel pathway issue would be presented for Cabinet approval on June 5.

Dzulkefly and Zambry previously announced plans to submit a joint memorandum to Cabinet for proposed amendments to the Medical Act 1971, after the MMC rejected last December National Specialist Register (NSR) specialist registration applications by four pioneer graduates of the cardiothoracic surgery parallel pathway programme by a collaboration between the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.

MMC subsequently said in a press statement last March that it had never recognised the Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in Cardiothoracic Surgery qualification.

Under the Medical Act, the MMC regulates the registration of all medical practitioners, including specialists, in this country. 

The MQA, regulated separately under the MQA Act 2007, is a national body that accredits higher educational programmes and qualifications to supervise and regulate the quality and standard of higher education providers.

One of the problems with the MOH’s parallel pathway programmes across various medical specialties with royal colleges in the United Kingdom is the issue of legal accountability, as these training programmes are not tied to any local registered education institutions. The MOH is not a higher education provider, while the Academy of Medicine of Malaysia is a society registered under the Registrar of Societies (RoS).

When reporters asked if the Cabinet meeting today had also discussed the cardiothoracic surgery postgraduate programme by a collaboration between Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) and the National Heart Institute (IJN), Fahmi gave a bizarre explanation, attributing the issue to housemanship in Hospital Al-Sultan Abdullah UiTM.

“The higher education minister explained that there was some misunderstanding among the general public because it was informed that there was an agreement to open not for education purposes, but housemanship at Hospital UiTM,” Fahmi told the press conference.

“So that was what was meant and what was informed to the Cabinet. A few parties in UiTM, like the former vice chancellor, were also informed and they understood. This is among the reasons why the situation abated drastically.”

For weeks, politicians, civil society leaders, academics, and ordinary citizens across race have been discussing whether to open up the UiTM-IJN cardiothoracic surgery postgraduate programme to non-Bumiputera students.

There was a surprising groundswell of public support, including among Malays, for a proposal by senior consultant cardiothoracic surgeon Prof Dr Raja Amin Raja Mokhtar – who is on the board of studies of the UiTM-IJN cardiothoracic surgery postgraduate programme – to open admissions to the programme temporarily to non-Bumiputera.

The professor at the Department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery in UiTM’s Faculty of Medicine had proposed the credit transfer as a solution for parallel pathway graduates and trainees, following MMC’s non-recognition of their qualification from the MOH’s parallel pathway programme with the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.

This postgraduate medical training issue at UiTM has nothing at all to do with housemanship in the university hospital. CodeBlue has sought an explanation from the higher education minister’s office.

You may also like