Zambry: UiTM enrolment separate issue from Parallel Pathway programme


PETALING JAYA: Recognising 'Parallel Pathway' students and opening up Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) to non-bumiputra are two different issues, says Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir.

"Some groups are trying to take advantage of the situation, but the real issue is that these students have yet to be confirmed or receive recognition from the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC)," said the Higher Education Minister in a statement on Wednesday (May 29)

He explained that the issues revolving around the Professional Advanced Degree Training Programme (Parallel Pathway) for cardiothoracic surgery had been discussed in a joint meeting between his ministry and the Health Ministry in April.

"A comprehensive proposal paper has been prepared and will be presented to the cabinet on June 5," he said, adding that he had been asked to present the paper as Health Minister Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad was attending the 7th World Health Assembly in Geneva.

Apart from UiTM which was currently running the Master of Science in Surgery (Cardiothoracic) Programme, Dr Zambry said other universities including Universiti Malaya were in the process of obtaining the Certificate Accreditation for this course.

"A comprehensive proposal paper has been prepared and will be presented to the cabinet on June 5," he said, adding that he had been asked to present the paper as Health Minister Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad attended the 7th World Health Assembly in Geneva.

The Star reported in March that the shortage of cardiothoracic surgeons has left some 1,500 heart and lung disease patients in government hospitals in dire straits.

In March, Dzulkefly told the Dewan Rakyat that there were only 14 cardiothoracic surgeons working in the ministry.

When it was proposed that Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) temporarily open its cardiothoracic surgery master's programme, it drew a storm of protest, including those within the unity government alliance.

Critics of the proposal were adamant that UiTM maintain its bumiputra-only admissions policy, despite the fact that the university already accepts foreign students.

Another aspect of the controversy is that Malaysian graduates who had been sent by the government to study cardiothoracic surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh could also not practise in Malaysia as their qualifications are not accepted by the MMC.

Four of these graduates have sued the MMC for refusing to register them on the National Specialist Register (NSR).

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