Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader and DAP Secretary-General, Lim Kit Siang, when addressing a meeting of branch leaders of DAP branches in the Tanjong Malim Parliamentary Constituency held at Slim River Branch on Friday, 30th Sept. 1977 at 7.30 p.m.
Call on Acting Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamed, to pay attention to the possibility of de-recognition of the MBBS degree of the University of Malaya by the United Kingdom General Medical Council in five years time, and to take urgent steps to raise medical standards
Last month, when I addressed the Perak DAP State Sub-Committee on August 28, I expressed the general growing concern that the standards in the Medical Faculty in the University of Malaya, which had a high international reputation when it first started, had been suffering serious erosion of standards.
I said that I have been given to understand that the General Medical Council of the United Kingdom, which from the start of the Medical Faculty of the University of Malaya, had given automatic recognition to the MBBS degrees of University of Malaya, has now decided to withdraw this automatic recognition in five years’ time after the General Medical Council of U.K. had sent an investigative team to study the medical standards of the faculty and that after five years time, the medical degrees of the University of Malaya would be subject to a year-by-year review.
I have since then made further investigations, and have now in my possession the Report of the U.K. General Medical Council team which visited the Medical Faculty of the University of Malaya in January 1977. The U.K. General Medical Council team comprised Sir. Robert Wright, Professor D.R. Wood and Professor W.I.N. Kessel.
The recommendation of the U.K. Medical team, which has been accepted by the U.K. General Medical Council, is even more drastic than I had disclosed last month.
The U.K. General Medical Council’s automatic recognition of the MBBS degree of the University of Malaya has been withdrawn already. As from now, and for five years, the Medical Faculty of the University of Malaya has to submit to the U.K. General Medical Council once a year “statement of the number of staff in post in each department, with details and dates of their qualifications, to gether with information of student performance at professional examinations, and reports of any changes made in the curriculum.”
The U.K. Medical team concluded that it would be “improbable that the present standards (of the Medical Faculty of the University of Malaya) can be maintained unless the University is able to recruit and retain more trained medical teachers in the senior and intermediate grades.”
There is every likelihood that in five years’ time, the M.B.B.S. degree of the University of Malaya would be de-recognised, like all the MBBS degrees of Indian universities in UK today.
This is a shocking development, and I call on the Acting Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, who is himself a doctor by profession, to give personal attention to raising medical standards in the University of Malaya Medical Faculty, so that medical degrees of the University can continue to enjoy international recognition.
In this situation, where the MBBS of the University of Malaya is facing de-recognise in UK, it is indeed ironical that the Medical Faculty of the University Kebangsaan is seeking recognition in the U.K.
Up to now, neither the Acting Prime Minister, the Minister of Health, or the University authorities appeared to be concerned about the down-grading of their medical standards. This is indeed a graceful state of affairs.
The University of Malaya and in particular, the Medical Faculty, owes the Malaysian public an explanation of what is happening to the medical standards and what they are doing to regain international recognition without any ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’.