MIRI: Students from Sabah and Sarawak, who are lagging behind in infrastructure, should be given leeway in admission for medical courses in Malaysian public universities.
The minimum entry requirement for such courses is cumulative grade point average (CGPA) 4.0 at STPM level.
Datu Dr Penguang Manggil, Assistant Minister of Local Government and Marudi assemblyman who hails from a longhouse in Bakong, views the requirement as unjust and puts East Malaysians at a gross disadvantage.
“This one size fits all sort of policy does not do justice to the people of Sabah and Sarawak as the number of students scoring CGPA 4.0 would be a lot less compared to our counterparts in Peninsular Malaysia,” he said.
Penguang was commenting on a newspaper report quoting Deputy Minister of Education Teo Nie Ching as saying that many outstanding students, including those who scored CGPA of 4.0, would not be guaranteed a place to study medicine at public universities.
She was responding to complaints that there were those who scored straight As but were denied places in public universities to take up medical courses.
She said the 11 public universities in the country could only accommodate 484 students for medical studies and the ministry’s statistics showed there were 2,730 applicants this year, with 2,490 meeting the minimum requirement.
Penguang, however, pointed out that many of the secondary schools in Sabah and Sarawak are in the rural areas, which are lagging far behind schools in Peninsular Malaysia in terms of infrastructure and necessary facilities, putting their students at a gross disadvantage.
As such, the Education Ministry should consider making a leeway for students from both states scoring less than CGPA 4.0 to be accepted into medical courses in local public universities, he argued.
He also pointed out that the stringent entry requirement contravened Article 153 of the Malaysian Constitution which underlines the need for the reservation of quotas in respect of services, permits, scholarships and others for the natives in both Sarawak and Sarawak.
Meanwhile, UPP Pujut chairman Bruce Chai said the crux of the issue was the limited slots at the universities and suggested that certain percentage be allocated for brilliant students and balloting be done for the rest of qualified applicants.
“Certain percentage allocated to extremely talented students and certain portion for the drawing of lots would be a fair system to overcome the problem of limited capacity without discrimination,” he opined.
He also suggested that private medical schools in the country and abroad, including those in India and Russia, to be recognised and students provided with allocations from the government to study there.
“We must be realistic that we cannot produce too many doctors or medical officers,” he said.
Chai said there must be a balance in number of doctors and other professionals in the country to avoid a mismatch in demand and supply due to a glut in certain disciplines.