PUTRAJAYA: The Health Ministry will propose for the Medical Act 1971 to be amended to include the Bahasa Melayu SPM minimum pass requirement for medical graduates.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr. S. Subramaniam said the ministry would discuss with the Attorney-General’s Chambers on the proposal.
“We have in fact already brought this up in 2015, when we proposed to the JPA (Public Service Department) to include the minimum pass in Bahasa Malaysia SPM paper as a requirement for medical graduates.
“If we want to enforce this requirement, we need to amend the Act and make the requirement a law.
“The Act now only states that we wil have to provide housemanship to those with recognised medical degrees. Now, we want to add another requirement to that Act, which is the medical graduate must pass the Bahasa Melayu SPM paper,” said Dr Subramaniam after opening the new Neonatal and Obstetric block at Putrajaya Hospital here.
He said he expects the issue of medical graduates without the SPM Bahasa Melayu pass requirement to be resolved “in a year”.
“Out of 4,500 of the current batch of medical graduates, only 23 are facing this issue,” he said.
On Wednesday, the Cabinet unanimously decided that all medical graduates must pass their Bahasa Melayu SPM paper before they can be employed as medical officers, including contract-based doctors.
Meanwhile, Dr Subramaniam said the new neonatal and obstetric block at the Putrajaya Hospital was initially a nurses’ hostel.
“This is an “out-of-the box” initiative. There was a necessity to increase the number of beds for neonatal and obstetric treatment.
“We moved the nurses’ hostel to another location, which is not far from the hospital. We then modified this block. RM16mil was spent on upgrading and RM10mil was for new medical equipment,” he said, adding that building a new block would have cost the Government RM100mil.
With a capacity of 61 beds, the neonatal and obstetric block consists of four levels, which are for obstetric and gynaechology, special care nursing and pediatric units.