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Saturday August 26, 2006

Envoy: We only have six agents


educate@thestar.com.my 

KUALA LUMPUR: Only six agents in Malaysia are authorised to represent the five recognised Russian medical universities. 

Any other agent claiming to represent these institutions are self-appointed and not empowered to act on their behalf, said Russian Ambassador to Malaysia and Brunei Alexander A. Karchava.  

Four of the universities are represented by a sole agent, while the Russian State Medical University (RSMU) is represented by five agents.  

Moscow Medical Academy (MMA), Nizhny Novgorod State Medical Academy and Volgograd State Medical University are represented by Russian Resources Sdn Bhd, while Kursk State Medical University is represented only by Magaram Enterprise. 

The agents empowered to recruit for RSMU in Malaysia are Russian Resources, Medic Pro Link Sdn Bhd, Medicines Enterprise, Mos-Lanka Investment Pvt Ltd and the Russian Centre for Science and Culture in Malaysia. 

Karchava said he was compelled to disclose this after both he and honorary consul for the Russia Federation Teoh Seng Lee received numerous complaints from students and parents about being cheated by unauthorised agents. 

“After the medical degrees of the five Russian universities were recognised by the Malaysian Government, it became quite a rewarding business to be an agent,” the envoy said. 

“What's negative is that besides the established and reputable agents, there also appeared in the market self-appointed and inexperienced agents.” 

He cited an incident where a student who applied for a study visa was quoted a fee that was RM10,000 more than what the authorised agent charged. 

“I discovered that the agent the student went to was actually an agent of an agent of an agent, and that's where the RM10,000 went to. It was the commission for all the other agents,” Karchava said. 

He then decided to write to the rectors of all five universities, who verified the names of the authorised agents in Malaysia. 

“It's very important because Russia presents very good opportunities for young Malaysian students to get quality education at affordable prices,” he said. 

“The value-for-money is best, I can guarantee. I can also say that Russian medical schools, if not the best in the world, can rival any of the best universities in the world. 

“Because of the many upheavals in our country, Russian surgeons are the best in the world.” 

The ambassador was speaking to The Star at a welcoming home dinner organised by Russian Resources for eight Malaysian students who recently graduated from MMA. 

Two of them, Norazimimah Abdullah and Wong Weng Keong, obtained first-class honours.  

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