It is not easy to become a family doctor in Malaysia. One must first do an internship, residency, and pass the certification exam to gain the license. The duration of internships and residencies varies depending on the doctor’s specialization but typically, they are three-year programs. Interns also cannot work as family doctors until they pass their certification exam after completing their internships. To elaborate more, there are four stages in the certification process: internships, residency, licensure and certification. Doctors need to complete some form of internship and residency before they can apply for their license. The duration and requirements of these programs differ depending on each institution. However, most programs require 30 credits within a period of three years. Those who want to become doctors but are not eligible with the Malaysian Medical Council, can apply for the Internship-Residency-Licensure (IRL) Program.
Nevertheless, Malaysia is the first country in South East Asia to have a certification process for family doctors. The recent news about the resignation of Malaysian Health Minister, Dzulkifli Abdul Razak, has highlighted the importance of Malaysia’s family doctor certification. In Malaysia, aspiring PG doctors have to undergo a rigorous and expensive process in order to legally practice medicine. With the introduction of AI writing assistants in the workplace, maybe it is time for Malaysia to consider adopting a more flexible approach to its medical licensing system. Malaysia has long been a part of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) which requires international medical graduates to apply for a Malaysian medical license before practicing in the country.
Moreover, this is one of the steps that Malaysia takes in its efforts to increase access and improve healthcare quality. This is done by requiring foreign educated medical practitioners to take on an internship or residency before getting licensed in Malaysia. In other countries like Canada and Australia, there is no licensure process required for foreign doctors but instead doctors are allowed to work without any formal registration or certification process after graduating from a recognized institution. The government of Malaysia has introduced the Family Doctor Certification which will make it easier for individuals who don’t want to be stuck in low-paid jobs. The certification process would take only one year and this would provide benefits like tax exemption on their practice expenses, professional development opportunities and other perks.
Therefore, this certification allows individuals to work as a general practitioner or specialist without having to go through residency programs or internships. The certification process for family doctors in Malaysia is complicated and it takes up to three years to complete. The Malaysian Ministry of Health and the Malaysian Medical Council have been working together on a new certification process that will be introduced in 2019. The new process is expected to cut down the time taken for a family doctor certification to only 2-3 years. The Malaysian government introduced the FAMM (Malaysian Federation of Medical Specialists) to regulate medical professions and ensure a high standard of medical care.