The oversupply of medical graduates has arrived at a level that demands urgent attention to avert shoddy internships and the flight of human capital abroad, said DAP national vice-chair M Kulasegaran.
“The alarms were sounded six years ago that an oversupply of doctors loomed but apathy and inaction meant the phenomenon grew unchecked,” said the MP for Ipoh Barat in remarks urging urgent remedial action.
Kulasegaran said an astonishing 5,000 medical graduates emerge each year from the country’s 24 medical colleges and from 375 recognised colleges overseas.
“This is an amazing number for a country of just under thirty million people,” observed the lawyer-legislator.
“I feel it reflects the desire of Malaysian students to secure a professional qualification that they think will provide some insulation from the unmeritocratic pressures all professions are exposed to in our society, more so in the public than private sector,” he opined.
Kulasegaran said the consequent glut from the rush for medical degrees has resulted in a paucity of places for internships in hospitals, leading to a situation where there are more interns than there are places and cases for learning.
“This has meant that interns obtain less time to learn under trainers, registrars, clinical specialists and consultants,” he said.
Furthermore, fresh graduates are made to wait six to eight months for a place to do their internship, which he said was too long a wait.
“Not suprisingly, last year alone fifty to sixty medical grads of Universiti Malaya and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia were offered places in Singapore to do their interships,” he noted.
He said a government-instituted moratorium on medical courses in public universities has done little to stem the supply of graduates because of the large number of private medical colleges.
“The oversupply has to be tackled in deeper and more telling ways as otherwise we are faced with a glut of doctors which give the expense and time taken to produce them, represent a sheer waste of resoruces,” said Kulasegaran.