Ministry to aid Pugsom students

KUALA LUMPUR: The Education Ministry will work with Perdana University to resolve problems faced by its students at the Perdana University Graduate School of Medicine (Pugsom).

It was reported in an online portal yesterday that the US-based Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine had terminated its contract with Pugsom last month.

Deputy Education Minister P. Kamalanathan said the ministry was still in discussions with Perdana University to “do what is important for the students”.

Pugsom admitted its first batch of students for its four-year medical programme in collaboration with Johns Hopkins in 2011.

Johns Hopkins’ director of marketing and communications Lindsay R. Rothstein said the institution had pulled out of Pugsom due to late payment of fees.

“At the time the agreement was terminated, Johns Hopkins had not been paid for more than 12 months of work,” Rothstein said via e-mail.

When asked if the students could transfer to Johns Hopkins University in the United States, Rothstein replied that there were “no updates” on the matter.

Launched in 2011, Perdana University is run by the Academic Medical Centre Sdn Bhd (AMC), a subsidary of Chase Perdana Sdn Bhd.

Pugsom is one of the two medical schools under Perdana University, with the other being the Perdana University-Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI).

The university is currently operating from its temporary campus near the Mardi headquarters in Serdang.

Pugsom vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Sothi Rachagan said that AMC had paid a total of US$34.199mil (RM107.9mil) to Johns Hopkins to date, including the last payment of US$2mil (RM6.3mil).

“US$5mil (RM15.7mil) was paid towards the Swami Institute for International Medical Education established at Johns Hopkins University and a further US$29.199mil (RM92.16mil) as part of the affiliation and collaboration agreement.

“AMC and Johns Hopkins are in dispute over whether any further sums are payable and the failure of Johns Hopkins to address the many grievances of AMC and Perdana University.

“The dispute will be resolved in accordance with the Affiliation and Collaboration Agreement with Johns Hopkins,” he said in a statement.

Dr Sothi also said that the university would take steps to ensure that the rights of the 80 students enrolled at Pugsom would not be “in any way compromised”.

Perdana University