Dapsy Open Up Uitm S Cardiothoracic Surgery Post Grad To Non Bumi To Prepare For Ageing Population Challenges


 
IT IS high time for the unity government to consider opening up the cardiothoracic surgery postgraduate programme offered by Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) to non-Bumiputera doctors to address the severe shortage of cardiothoracic surgeons in Malaysia, said DAPSY national varsity affairs bureau director Ho Chi Yang.
According to Ho, some individuals, including certain politicians, are exploiting the discussion to inflame racial tensions for political gain.
“Unfortunately, this would make the medical field and our society miss out on the critical opportunity to seriously discuss reforms in the healthcare system,” he said in a statement on Monday (May 20).
Ho Chi YangFor context, discussions about opening up the programme emerged when several graduates from the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd) were denied entry to the National Specialist Register (NSR), causing a significant stir in the medical community.
Prof Dr Raja Amin Raja Mokhtar, a member of the Board of Studies at the UiTM-IJN cardiothoracic surgery postgraduate programme, said that the university is considering temporarily opening up the Cardiothoracic Surgery parallel pathway programme to non-Bumiputeras.


The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) also urged the UiTM to consider admitting non-Bumiputera students in the same way it enrolls international students.
However, this suggestion faced fierce opposition from some quarters, who opposed opening the programme to non-Bumiputera doctors.
According to Ho, who is also the Tanah Rata state assemblyman, the proposal to open up the Cardiothoracic Surgery programme aims at allowing more general practitioners to further their studies and become specialists, thereby increasing the extremely low number of cardiothoracic specialists in Malaysia.
He argued that claims by certain individuals and politicians that opening the programme would violate the Federal Constitution and deprive Bumiputeras of educational opportunities are prejudiced, misleading, fallacious, and contains a distortion of the facts.
“If UiTM opens up the Cardiothoracic Surgery parallel pathway programme to non-Bumiputeras, it would allow more doctors, both Bumiputera and non-Bumiputera, to become cardiothoracic surgeons,” Ho stressed.
“This would help address the critical shortage of cardiothoracic surgeons in the country, which will in turn save more lives.”
Far-reaching implications
Ho further noted that according to Malaysian Association for Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery (MATCVS) president Datuk Dr Basheer Ahamed Abdul Kareem, there are only 14 cardiothoracic surgeons in government hospitals nationwide, several of which are near retirement.
“This severe shortage poses a serious threat to the healthcare system and has far-reaching implications for the nation’s healthcare services,” he stated.
“Ignoring badly-needed healthcare reforms to accommodate those who were constantly playing up racial issues would make it increasingly difficult for Malaysia to face the challenges of an ageing society.”
Based on the United Nations’ “World Social Report 2023”, it is predicted that by the end of 2022, Malaysia’s elderly population (those aged 65 and above) will constitute 7.3% of the total population, indicating that Malaysia is rapidly becoming an ageing society.
“By 2044, this proportion is expected to double to 14%, thus necessitating more healthcare professionals,” Ho elaborated.
“However, the severe shortage of specialists, including cardiothoracic surgeons, reflects an imbalanced healthcare system that has yet to adjust to these imminent societal challenges.”
Ho also called for the government and the Health Ministry to expedite the establishment of specialist training programmes at major universities to increase the number of specialist doctors in the country and meet the significant challenges posed by an ageing population.
“The country is in urgent need of ‘whole-of-society’ debates and discussions on healthcare reforms rather than sticking to the archaic but toxic racial agendas to stir social emotions, which would cost the country a crucial opportunity to push forward major healthcare reforms,” he added.  - Focus Malaysia


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