Amendments to law needed for Cardiothoracic Surgery programme, says Fahmi

PUTRAJAYA: Amendments to the law are needed on the matter of recognising the Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (FRCS Ed) Cardiothoracic Surgery programme, Fahmi Fadzil said.

The Communications Minister said the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) had recently given its views to the Cabinet from a legal perspective.

“The AG’s office has given its views from the legal standpoint and the Cabinet was informed that there needs to be some amendments to the law.

“There has been no decision made yet in regard to this matter but it will be brought up again in next week’s cabinet meeting,” he said during a press conference at the Communications Ministry here on Wednesday (May 29).

When asked which laws the government has plans to amend, Fahmi said the matter has yet to be decided.

It was reported that Malaysia is facing a shortage of medical specialists including cardiothoracic surgeons.

According to reports, three Health Ministry centres in Kota Bharu, Kuantan, and Kota Kinabalu only have one cardiothoracic surgeon each.

At the same time, UiTM is the only university that offers a parallel pathway programme in collaboration with the National Heart Institute (IJN) in the cardiothoracic field, which comprises surgery and care for heart and lung diseases.

On April 25, health news site Codeblue quoted a board member of the UiTM-IJN (National Heart Institute) cardiothoracic surgery postgraduate programme Raja Amin Raja Mokhtar who said the varsity is agreeable to opening the course to non-bumiputera.

Previously, the Malaysian Medical Association said UiTM should allow the entry of non-bumiputera Malaysians seeking specialised training in the cardiothoracic field since international students can enrol in the university.

However, Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Zambry Abdul Kadir said there had been no discussion on allowing the entry of non-bumiputera.

Commenting further, Fahmi said it is important to clarify that the cardiothoracic surgery postgraduate programme and the intake of non-Bumiputera into UiTM are two separate issues.

“There’s a little misunderstanding among the public because what we said before about agreeing with the idea is only on the housemanship in UiTM Hospital. That’s what the cabinet meant. It is not about that (intake of non-Bumiputera).

“A few people including the former UiTM vice-chancellor was briefed on the matter and they now understand, which was why this issue had suddenly died down because it was made to seem as if these two issues are related when they are not.

“Parallel pathway refers to the issue of the overlapping between MQA (Malaysian Qualification Agency) and MMC (Malaysian Medical Council). On this, let’s wait for next week’s cabinet meeting.

“On the UiTM issue, the higher education minister has clarified issues surrounding the matter. There’s no issue on this anymore,” he added.

Recently, UiTM students staged a protest against the inclusion of non-bumiputera students, with Umno Youth chief Dr Muhamad Akmal Saleh also voicing out against the proposal.

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