Not many want to become cardiothoracic surgeons, says S’wak deputy minister

Dr Annuar Rapaee
Sarawak deputy education, innovation and talent development minister Dr Annuar Rapaee said training to become a cardiothoracic surgeon takes a long time.

PETALING JAYA: A Sarawak deputy minister said not many doctors choose to train as cardiothoracic surgeons, as the debate over temporarily opening up Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM)’s postgraduate programme to non-Bumiputeras drags on.

Dr Annuar Rapaee was of the view that doctors were not keen to be trained as cardiothoracic surgeons because of the “tough, tedious, and long training hours”, the Borneo Post reported.

Annuar, who is Sarawak’s deputy education, innovation and talent development minister, said that training to become a cardiothoracic surgeon takes a long time.

“Firstly, one has to become a general surgeon, following which one must go through a sub-specialty, which is cardiothoracic surgery, and that takes around four to five years.

“My gut feeling tells me that not many doctors are choosing to become cardiothoracic surgeons due to the tough and long training hours,” he was quoted as saying.

Annuar was asked to comment on a statement by Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii of DAP, who said providing quality and adequate healthcare should not be politicised or viewed from a racial lens.

It had been previously reported that UiTM was willing to “temporarily” accept non-Bumiputera trainees from parallel pathway programmes into its cardiothoracic surgery programme.

However, the institution’s vice-chancellor, Shahrin Sahib, later said UiTM will remain closed to non-Bumiputeras, but will accept whatever the government decides with the king’s blessings.

The proposal to temporarily open UiTM to non-Bumiputeras was made to address the country’s acute shortage of specialists, especially cardiothoracic surgeons.

Annuar also said the proposal should take into account the number of doctors wanting to be trained in the field, and the objective of the university’s establishment.

UiTM, he said, was established for Bumiputera students.

“If you want to change the policy, there will be numerous implications involved,” he said, adding that the lack of cardiothoracic surgeons is not endemic to Malaysia.


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