Speechs in the year
Tarikh/Date 	: 	08/09/83 

Dr. Chow Khuen Wai, President of the Malaysia-Singapore Congress of
Medicine; Dr. Ng Chuan Wai, Master, Academy of Medicine of
Malaysia; Distinguished guests; Ladies and Gentlemen.

Being dedicated to the pursuit of medical excellence, with members drawn
from the cream of the medical profession, this Congress organised by the
Academy of Medicine of Malaysia represents a major activity in promoting a
high standard of medicine. This Congress brings together medical experts
from Malaysia and Singapore to share their experiences and the fruits of
their research. And with the presence of the Presidents and
representatives of the Royal Colleges of Medicine of the United Kingdom
and Australasia, as well as many eminent specialists from renowned medical
institutions abroad, I feel very privileged indeed to be invited to
address this distinguished gathering.

2. Seven years ago, as the Minister of Education, I had the honour to
deliver the Tun Ismail Oration at the 11th. Congress. At that time, the
Congress was held at the General Hospital, where convention facilities
were limited. Judging from your programme and this venue, the Congress has
come a long way. This, no doubt, is a reflection of the progress and
increased sophistication that you have achieved in the past years.

3. I have not practised medicine for more than a decade. Nonetheless,
medicine is always close to my heart, and when the Academy invited me to
accept the honorary membership, I felt greatly honoured that I am still
remembered as a member of the profession. I may not contribute directly to
the practice of medicine as such. However, being an honorary academician,
I certainly will become more aware of the aspirations of the profession. I
hope I could in some way contribute towards the Academy's objective of
promoting and maintaining the highest standard of professional practice in
this country.

4. When Malaysia achieved independence more than two decades ago, we only
had a handful of medical specialists. The country now has a sizeable
number of highly qualified doctors. Most of them hold memberships and
Fellowships of the Royal Colleges of the United Kingdom and
Australasia. We will, in the foreseeable future, still look to the Royal
Colleges to assist us in the training of our specialists. But sending our
doctors for training overseas has many inherent drawbacks, in terms of the
high cost of training abroad, and the loss of service during the period
they are away. Some doctors, sad to say, do not care to return after
completing their training.

5. Malaysia needs many more highly qualified doctors to staff the
institutions of higher learning, and to man the major hospitals. Equally
important, we need specialists who are competent to handle the situation
in the smaller district hospitals which are often not well equipped, and
which often do not have a full complement of specialists. There is,
therefore, a place for the handy-man type of specialist personnel. There
is a need to design a programme of post-graduate training geared to the
needs of the country. We need to train many of our own specialists and I
believe we do have the necessary expertise. I am confident, the Royal
Colleges will assist us in this task. The concept of Malaysia Incorporated
which I put forward to the nation some time ago, can apply equally well to
the area of post-graduate training. It is time that all medical
professionals, whether in universities, government hospitals, or the
private sector, join forces in a common effort to lay a firm foundation
for the development of post-graduate medical training in Malaysia.

Ladies and gentlemen, 

6. Increased affluence has resulted in heightened public expectations for
highly skilful medical care. It has also created a demand for private
specialist medical care. As a result there is a brain drain from public
institutions to the private sector. We now have a situation where the
institutions have some of the finest facilities and sophisticated
equipments in the country, while a large number of our senior and
experienced people are engaged in private practices. Could we have a happy
marriage of the two situations? Could the government privatise part of the
medical service so that private specialists could render their service to
patients in hospitals and at the same time impart their experience and
skill to younger colleagues? Should we offer government specialists
limited rights to private practice? Such ideas have been tossed time and
again. The Government will study the implications and see whether a
satisfactory arrangement can be worked out.

7. I understand our 'Look East Policy' has attracted interest from medical
professionals, medical technologists and the pharmaceutical firms of
Japan. The Technology Transfer Institute of Tokyo had recently organised a
seminar on technology transfer, and now I am happy to see a Japanese
medical trade exhibition at this Congress. By looking east I mean
emulating those good qualities of countries in East Asia in our effort to
develop Malaysia. Our medical services have long benefitted from our
traditional ties with those of the West. I am confident we will continue
to enjoy this close relationship. However, there is also a good deal we
can learn from the countries in the East. The Academy could perhaps take
the initiative to foster a closer relationship with its counterparts in
Southeast and East Asian countries, so that Malaysia can advance the cause
of medicine by marrying the best from the East and West.

8. With these words, it is now my pleasure to declare the Congress open,
and to wish you success.