PUTRAJAYA, March 26 – The Health Ministry yesterday dismissed concerns that the government had reduced scholarship slots for medical specialist training in view of the uncertain economic situation. Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the number of scholarships for local Master’s programmes had been increased instead, from only 450 in 2007 to 800 in 2011/2012 and up to 916 in 2015.
“For 2016, there are 1,129 slots available in the local Master’s programme with 998 qualified medical officers offered to pursue specialist training,” he said in a statement while responding to concerns raised on challenges related to specialist training programmes.
Dr Noor Hisham said the ministry would appeal to the respective universities to allow the 131 MOs who did not qualify for the local Master’s programme to be given a reassessment. Alternatively, he said, MOs who could not enter the local Master’s programme or those who wished to opt for other post-graduate programmes could also pursue specialist training via parallel pathways such as the UK Membership Programme, of which part of the examinations were conducted locally in Malaysia.