Health Professions Education, Higher Education Commentary

Fitness to Practice Issues in Malaysia

I have been reflecting on the Case of the Misogynistic Medical Student as fitness to practice issues have been a long time concern of mine due to my work in the health professions. What would I have done if I were his educators or the administration at his university? Is it right for the Malaysian public to circulate petitions calling for his expellation?

Here’s what I would do as an educator / higher education administrator: I would call for a fitness to practice investigation to be held and the student suspended while remedial action is being taken – failing which and he is still found to be unfit for practice, then encouraged to stop his studies. But I also think it is fair for the public to call for him to be expelled, because it is a strong sign to universities to take fitness to practice issues seriously.

I don’t think Malaysian universities do that enough and I know enough health professionals who engage in behaviour that alienates / threatens / intimidates vulnerable people to know it is a big issue in this country.

The public has every right to call for him to be expelled. Whether or not the uni chooses to follow through or take a more lenient action is another matter. But if the public stayed silent, unis would have the opportunity to sweep things under the carpet. Which IMHO is worse for our society in the long run.

The issue is bigger than just this boy alone. And if all the negative attention gets unis to further develop their policies and ways of teaching / learning medical ethics, then the petition has worked.

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