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BM pass issue for doctors misunderstood - Dr Hilmi

BM pass issue for doctors misunderstood - Dr Hilmi
Dr Hilmi (holds torch) flags off the Penang-leg of 29th SEA Games Torch Run at SK Sungai Rusa, Balik Pulau, here today. --fotoBERNAMA
BALIK PULAU: There has been a misunderstanding over the issue of the pass requirement for Bahasa Melayu (BM) at the SPM-level for recruiting Grade UD41 medical officers, said Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya.

He said the decision was an initiative by the Ministry of Health (MOH) to uphold the national language, as the previous condition set by the Public Service Department (PSD) since 2003 did not require a pass in BM for the appointment of permanent medical officers in the civil service.

"Actually, it is not relaxing the requirement to pass BM but rather tightening the requirement to pass the BM subject in order to become a medical officer, because since 2003, the PSD has allowed them (medical officers) to be appointed even though they did not pass (BM), as at the time, there was a shortage of doctors and they had to be imported from outside.

"Doctors from outside at the time did not take BM at the SPM-level and could be hired by the Ministry of Health, but now, we have improved the condition, and have discussed with the PSD to increase the condition of requiring a pass in BM.
"As the number of local medical graduates is also growing, we can set this condition," he told reporters after flagging off of the Penang-leg  of 29th SEA Games Torch Run at SK Sungai Rusa, Balik Pulau, here today.

He was commenting on the recent statement by Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah saying the PSD had agreed to ease the condition for appointing UD41 medical officers on contract-basis.

Dr Noor Hisham was reported saying the decision was made to facilitate the appointment of medical graduates who did not sit for the BM paper at the SPM level for various reasons.

Dr Hilmi, who is also Balik Pulau MP, said the MOH would also discuss with the Ministry of Education on how to enable medical practitioners who did not pass BM at the SPM-level to only sit for the one subject, compared the current requirement of six.

"Medical graduates who are doing their housemanship at the hospital do not require a pass in BM.  However, if they wish to become UD41 medical officers, they need to pass the subject in SPM, and we will discuss this with the MOE so that they only need to take the one subject, and not at least six, as per the norm.

"So they have at least two years to pass the SPM-level BM paper while undergoing their housemanship if they choose to serve in the government sector, but if they want to work in a private hospital or open their own clinic, they do not have to do so (obtain a pass in BM)," he said.

He said only below one per cent of medical graduates doing their housemanship at government hospitals did not sit for the BM paper.

Hilmi said he would also meet with non-governmental organisations (NGO) and other parties to clarify the matter this weekend.