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Sunday, July 2, 2017

Umno Youth leader: MOH's BM requirement waiver unfair

The Ministry of Health's decision to scrap the Bahasa Malaysia (BM) requirement for contracted medical personnel has come under fire from Umno Youth.
Pahang Umno Youth leader Sahar Abdullah said that doing so would result in "double standards" because all civil servants must possess at least a pass for BM at the SPM level.
He added that the ministry's decision had also effectively undermined the status of BM as the official language.
"(This policy) challenges the Federal Constitution which under Articles 161 and 152 upheld BM as the national language and official language for all government business.
"Pahang Umno Youth urges the ministry to retract its waiver on BM qualification and review the impact of such a decision, especially on the future status of BM and the Federal Constitution as a basis for nation-building," he said in a statement today.
Speaking BM an obligation
He added that all Malaysians have an obligation to learn the national language, "especially civil servants on the front line of government service, who need to communicate with society".
"It is not impossible to see BM disrespected and sidelined as a useless language if the BM requirement is easily compromised and someone who cannot master the national language joins the civil service, albeit on a contract basis," he said.
"If the ethnic Chinese and Indians can strenuously defend the existence of vernacular schools to protect their mother tongues, then why should we easily compromise on something as important as this?" he asked.
Meanwhile, Umno Youth executive member Shahril Hamdan said the waiver will exacerbate the issue of unemployment among medical graduates.
"There is an oversupply of medical graduates in the past few years. Every year 5,000 medical students graduate but teaching hospitals only have room for 3,000 house officers a year.
"The decision to waive the BM requirement will worsen this problem to the extent that graduates will need to wait three to six months for placement in teaching hospitals," he said in a statement.
'Risk of misdiagnosis'
He added BM proficiency is essential to communicate with patients and lack of which could undermine patient care.
"There is a risk of misdiagnosis and wrong treatment if the doctor does not understand what the patient is saying," he said.
He noted that there is also no assurance that the waiver for contract staff will not be extended to medical officers?
"What guarantee can the Health Ministry give that this is not a backdoor route to take in medical officers who do not have BM qualifications, on a contract basis?" he asked.
DG: Waiver not new
The ministry yesterday said the Public Services Department agreed to waive the BM requirement for contract staff in February under the Health Ministry.
It said BM qualifications in O- or A-Level or any other similar examinations are not considered equivalent to SPM, forcing those seeking to join the service to sit for the SPM BM paper.
Health DG Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah explained that those who do not attend national schools do not sit for the SPM, even if they are proficient in BM.
He added such waivers are not new and was previously also extended to medical officers hired on a permanent basis in the civil service to meet acute staff shortage.
"However, starting early this year, the conditions were reinforced whereby medical officers joining the civil service on a permanent basis will need to have passed the BM subject at SPM level.
"This is in line with BM being a national language and to uphold its stature as the official language as per Article 152 of the Federal Constitution and the National Language Act 1963/67," he said in a statement.

He said foreign medical officers and specialists serving in Malaysia on a contract basis also do not need to prove BM proficiency.
It was earlier reported that graduates seeking to sit for only the BM paper were told they will need to sit for examinations for all six core SPM subjects - BM, History, Science, Mathematics, English and Moral or Islamic Education.
This prompted an outcry as it forced medical graduates to repeat secondary school education.- Mkini

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