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What ails the medical profession?

The medical field demands the best professionals in the fight against diseases, irrespective of their ethnic and religious origin

A ward at the Penang General Hospital

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There is something seriously wrong in our society when the politics of race and religion is permitted to colour the medical profession, the code of ethics and obligations of which are, ironically, to treat all humans equally irrespective of ethnicity, creed or gender.

The Malaysian Public Health Physicians’ Association and Malaysian Islamic Doctors’ Association have recently called on the government to give preference to bumiputera medical graduates for permanent appointments in the civil service.

It is alarming that medical associations have seen fit to practise discrimination in a calling which prioritises competency and professionalism over race, religion, gender and socioeconomic status.

The pandemic has shown the value of frontline workers, particularly doctors, treating all patients equally. These committed and self-sacrificing professionals would be unfairly tainted by such unethical suggestions. These frontline personnel have put their lives on the line because it is expected of them, no matter what their ethnic and religious backgrounds are.

It is unsurprising that the Malaysian Medical Association has slammed the idea as discriminatory, unjust and a smear on the profession. As it rightly pointed out, the profession demands the best and the most qualified to save precious lives. This should be as clear as daylight to all, especially those in the profession itself.

Besides, such discriminatory practices carry an unfair and unnecessary social stigma for the bumiputera doctors whose achievements were earned by merit. In other words, it harms the self-esteem and dignity of the bumiputera doctors if they’re viewed to have obtained their positions because of their bumiputera status instead of their skill and capability. The less qualified among them may find themselves being appointed because of this proposed preferential treatment and, as a result, the integrity of all bumiputera doctors in the government service would be put into question as they all would be tarred with the same brush, which is obviously unfair.

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Such discriminatory practices are divisive in a diverse society such as ours, which has been haunted by the spectre of race and religion over the years, and so the Ministry of Health should put a stop to this as it discriminates against non-bumiputera doctors, particularly those who are well qualified.

Moreover, facilitating a brain drain to the private sector in the medical field or to foreign countries as a result of this preferential policy is the last thing the ministry should do, especially when doctors are badly needed in government hospitals in our fight against the scourge of the coronavirus.

As intimated above, the medical field demands the best professionals in the fight against diseases, irrespective of their ethnic and religious origin. Turkish-German scientists Ugur Sahin and Ozlem Tureci, the brains behind the world’s first coronavirus vaccine, best illustrate this point. Had the German government held a myopic perspective and imposed a restriction against Germans of Turkish origin, precious talents would have been wasted, and the loss would have been felt by not just the German population but people around world.

People in the medical field obviously should not lose sight of the importance of having the best and most competent in the service of humanity. – The Malaysian Insight

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

AGENDA RAKYAT - Lima perkara utama
  1. Tegakkan maruah serta kualiti kehidupan rakyat
  2. Galakkan pembangunan saksama, lestari serta tangani krisis alam sekitar
  3. Raikan kerencaman dan keterangkuman
  4. Selamatkan demokrasi dan angkatkan keluhuran undang-undang
  5. Lawan rasuah dan kronisme
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