BALIK PULAU: The draft amendment bill for Medical Act 1971 (Act 50) to resolve the issue of registering medical doctors who obtain specialist qualifications through the parallel pathway has been submitted to the Attorney General’s Chambers for review, said Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad.

The Health Minister several engagement sessions will also be held with the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA), the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC), the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) and other stakeholders before it is presented to the Cabinet.

“At the recent Cabinet meeting, the Minister of Higher Education (Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir) and I jointly presented a Cabinet Memorandum related to the specialist training or parallel pathway issue.

“There are 14 programmes abroad, (and) 29 master’s programmes in medicine conducted by nine local universities; all of these were compiled together after the Health Ministry faced various controversies and finally referred to the Attorney General’s Chambers for a legal opinion,” he told a press conference after officially opening the new building of Air Putih Health Clinic here today.

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He said the amendment bill is expected to be tabled in the Second Meeting of the Third Session of the current Parliament for debate.

The parallel pathway issue gained public attention when the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) requested Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) to admit non-Bumiputera medical officers wishing to receive specialised training in the field of cardiothoracic, similar to how the institution accepts international students.

This came after the MMC rejected the application of four cardiothoracic surgeons to be listed in the National Specialist Register because the Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in Cardiothoracic Surgery (FRCS Ed) they obtained was not recognised.

UiTM is the only university in the country that offers the parallel pathway programme in collaboration with the National Heart Institute in the field of cardiothoracic.

On another matter, Dzulkefly said all 194 member countries of the World Health Organisation have been given 10 months to review the targeted amendments to the International Health Regulations (IHR 2005) agreed upon at the 77th World Health Assembly (WHA77) in Geneva on June 1.

“Whatever we signed recently is not final or conclusive and will be revisited in a few more series of meetings among member countries. So all (countries) take back the draft that we have signed to be reviewed, given 10 months to provide any feedback and views,” he said.

Dzulkefly led the Malaysian delegation to Switzerland for WHA77, which, among other things, discussed the progress of negotiations for the targeted amendments to IHR 2005 and negotiations for the preparation of a Pandemic Agreement.

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