action taken by the Ministry of Health (KKM) to waive the requirement of Bahasa
Melayu SPM level of the contract-based doctor of Grade UD41 violated
the royal tradition. The tradition is those who want to take up a job in the government
sector must have Bahasa Melayu, this is now none happens with the Ministry of Health.
None of the reasons are acceptable as to why the tradition has been broken. Therefore,
we can assume that the ministry is run by a bunch of those people who dance according
to their whims and fancies.
state has its mission – a mission to unite its complex multiracial society. Language
is a vehicle to achieve that mission. Malaysia chooses Bahasa Melayu as a medium
of communication as expressed in the Constitution, as a result the importance of
Bahasa Melayu should not be ignored by any government ministry.  
Ministry of Health should be aware that anyone who intends to be a government servant
is compulsory to have passed Bahasa Melayu. The moral behind it, Bahasa Melayu is
a bridge to a common culture, thought and action. If someone is to be accepted in
the government services, no matter whether he is a Chinese, Indian or the Malay
ethnic, Bahasa Melayu is always a prerequisite. Professional qualification alone
does not get somebody responsible to its nation and the multitude.
people in the ministry understood Article 152 of the Federal Constitution and National
Language Acts 1963/67 also required that Bahasa Melayu, as the national language,
be used for all official purposes. This is admitted by the Ministry. The question
is why this simple and a non-puzzling problem becomes a big burden to the Ministry.
By having a fluency in Bahasa Melayu, does it makes a person weak in his task? Or
is it by waiving Bahasa Melayu for those who intend to serve in the hospital will
lessen the figure of the Malays in the hospital? Or it makes medical authority easy
to employ medical doctors from another nation such as Bangladesh, India, Myanmar
and Indonesia or other countries that are full with jobless doctors who can be a
loyal servant because too many Malay medical graduates are leaving the profession
due to the hospital’s stressful condition. As to purport this argument, the writer
provides a houseman’s point of view as below;
As a house officer currently working in a local government hospital
in Malaysia, one of the major problems that we are facing is a language barrier.
The flocks of immigrants (whether it be legal or PATIs) crowding the local government
hospitals converse in their own mother language, or in Bahasa Melayu (as a majority
of them learned BM by heart since they migrated here). As such, the importance of
communicating in Bahasa Melayu is that it doesn’t just build rapport between the
doctor and patients, but also acts as a bridge between the other spoken language
in Malaysia like Tamil and Mandarin. Among the multiracial, multiethnic medical
fraternity we don’t talk in Tamil or Mandarin with each other, with specialists,
we converse in English, but most of the time with each other, we prefer BM, due
to its ease of use, the fact that everyone knows how to speak in BM and its ability
of getting the message across effectively done.
It is ironic, however, that I’ve experienced plenty of cases whereby
I had colleagues asking me medical translation from English to BM such as Whooping
Cough/Pertussis into Batuk Kokol in order to explain to their patients who are illiterate
in English. Even more so, the majority of patients who are from Chinese or Indian
ethnicity are well versed and comfortable in speaking with us in BM, thus making
our job of history taking easier. This shows the importance of Bahasa Melayu in
our daily lives as a doctor even though we learned and used English medical terms
in medical school. If the ministry waive the requirement for a pass in SPM level
BM for a placement as a house officer, in the foreseeable future, there will be
plenty of cases where doctors being unable to extract relevant history and clinical
data from patients, or in the worst case scenario, leading to miscommunication and
ultimately committing acts of medical negligence and medical malpractice due to
the lack of mastery of Bahasa Melayu.
We were not taught Communication as a proper subject in medical
school, although it has always been emphasized to us on how important to build rapport
between a doctor and his patients. This lack of communication skills is apparent
and carried into our working environment, even up to the level of registrars and
specialists. Some Medical Officers, even specialists act unprofessionally by scolding
patients if they were not compliant to their medications, or being sarcastic and
cynical. Everything done with their whims and fancies, and not just towards the
patients, but also to house officers, the lowest in the food chain.
It is a known issue among the medical fraternity that medical
graduates from abroad, had a tough time in their housemanship due to their lack
of communication skills and clinical skills. Many of these medical students who
are now House Officers abused a loophole and enrolled in the foreign medical school
even when they do not qualify due to their SPM results. Some of these colleges were
also willing to bend the rules and may not have good facilities or faculties, and
the shortcomings of less qualified students were not addressed, even until they
graduate. These two factors resulted in certain house officers having poorer performance
compared to their colleagues, and in 2016, MMC president Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah
said minimal entry qualifications for undergraduate courses were determined by the
ministry, including the requirement for the SPM level BM certificate.
Apart from medical knowledge and clinical skills, Language and
Communication are important soft skills, and is a part and parcel of a doctor’s
daily life at work especially when it comes to Bahasa Melayu. The lack of these
soft skills led to a malignant culture in the medical fraternity, from the top HODs,
consultants, specialists and registrars to the bottom of the food chain medical
and house officers. Unethical working and lack of professionalism is rampant, as
well as physical and mental torturing and abuse by the senior medical officers and
even specialists. The ministry should rectify this issue with the proper implementation
of soft skills in order to prevent the further breakdown of the medical profession.
Ministry of Health, by now should have realized that thousands of local medical
graduates have experienced no job. Some are waiting to be addressed and many also
left the profession, Dr. Pagavalan says, we will have 4000 graduates locally by 2016. Another
1000-2000 will come from overseas, making a total of at least 6000 graduates annually
and it will hit 8000 by 2018.
Last year, it was reported that about one-third
of housemen extended their training, thus, delaying new graduates from taking up
posts, while one-fifth of them quit as they could not cope with the stress.
Statistics alone won’t solve the entire problems that are facing
the medical profession in Malaysia. This reason is not the answer to all the scenario
that is happening in the hospital, the jobless not because they cannot accept the
challenge as a medical doctor, but
some claimed that they cannot live in the “hospital’s animal
culture”. Physical and mental insulting those subordinate to them is a culture in
the hospital. This kind of unethical working condition is termed as the so-called
“culture of Pariah”.  And many also suffered
from psychological trauma. More or less of them simply vanished from the hospital
without giving any notice. The ministry should look into this matter in earnest
instead of ignoring this fundamental problem.

are two issues of importance that the ministry should look into. Firstly, Bahasa
Melayu cannot be waived as we wish because it is a bridging factor in both communication
between the patients and the doctors and Bahasa Melayu is a prerequisite for a common
cultural communication in the hospital. Secondly, in which it is a more alarming
problem in the medical system is the culture of abusing the young doctors. We should
bear in mind that none of the civilized people will behave in an uncivilized manner.
If this uncivilized culture persists, the organizations will become weak. The ministry’s
ability to come out with more ethical and pleasant system in the hospital in which
caring and sharing the emotional perplexity of the young graduates who are just
starting to know the job is imperative.  The
Ministry’s ability to inculcate and demonstrate a good and ethical work culture
in the hospital for the young medical graduates is a true responsibility and
professionalism.(PUTRAJAYA INSIDER)

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