In view of recent Typhoid outbreak in Malaysia…

typhoid

I have decided to share some educational slides regarding this infection.  Do note that these slides were originally made for paediatrics, but they are in fact applicable to all age groups.  If you are a tourist visiting Malaysia or someone who lives in the endemic area, you should find this informative.

Click here : Typhoid Fever

Reminder : Wash your hands before touching your food and avoid buying food from dodgy, unregulated foodstalls.

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Fresh Graduates : How to Apply for Housemanship in Malaysia?

Fellow comrades,

Graduating from overseas, I had zero clue as to how the housemanship application process in Malaysia rolls.  Local graduates would not lose too much sleep on this as their respective institutions typically organise everything for them.  They just need to focus on dressing/suiting up appropriately and answering intelligently during the interview.

How to apply for housemanship in Malaysia?

“Huh?  SPA, MMC, KKM?  Who are they?”

“O.M.G., I think I forgot to sign & date the form!”

“Do I really need to get all my photocopied documents certified?  Really?”

“I will definitely fail the interview.  I have not been studying since SPM.”

“What is my starting pay?”

Have the above-mentioned ever crossed your mind? If yes, congratulations, you are on the right page!  No?  Read on anyway.

If you are a control freak much like me, the experience of completing and handing up application forms to three different departments, without knowing whether the forms are filled in correctly with the necessary documents attached to them, is unpleasant.  Being through this myself and making a few bad decisions that lead to some delay, I would like to guide you through the entire application process so that you can stay away from the mistakes that I had made.

The following flowchart summarises the thought processes and procedures that you should process in your mind before continuing.  Picturing the general process clearly in your head prevents you from doing things in a counterproductive manner.  Deciding to or not to work as a house officer is equally crucial.

Flowchart of Housemanship Application

I hope I have not lost you.  Next, let’s focus on the reason why all of us need and want to work – SALARY.

STARTING PAY

According to this website, the basic pay for a UD41 Grade house officer is RM2777.98.  Adding that up with critical, housing and cost of living allowances, the take home pay after EPF (if you are not on pension scheme) deduction is at the region of RM4200 to RM4300.  There is an adjustment to this net income depending on where you work because being on-calls and working in East Malaysia will earn you extra allowances.

Is this a good starting pay?

Now, this is a sensitive issue.  Short answer, I don’t know.  It really depends on individuals.  The pay might not be enough for a few who are accustomed to spending more than RM4000 a month on themselves, but it should be assuringly sufficient for most, I hope.

If you feel that you are having difficulties to make ends meet each month, I can only say this :

  1. Keep a close eye on your cashflow and spending habits.
  2. Stop skiving already!  You are not supposed to have that much free time to shop.

Personally, I think that this is a brilliant starting pay, despite the long hours pouring into the so-called legalised slavery.  Not many other industries pay fresh graduates such high salary in the current age of employers’ market.  Is it worth the money?  Again, it’s up to you.  I do know that my peers who are working in the UK and Singapore get paid better, and that the pay gap is even more astounding after conversion to RM.  However, don’t forget that you have to spend at where you earn.  Unless, you plan to deny yourself of well-deserved rewards and siphon all your money back to Malaysia.  Apart from that, the taxation in the UK is high.  If you don’t plan to migrate, retire and die there, you might not be able to reap the various benefits and perks from the taxes that you have been religiously paying all those years.

As a civil servant in Malaysia, it is hard for you to die from starvation nor will you easily become wealthy.  Let’s pray for an inflation-adjusted pay rise for doctors in the upcoming Budget allocation.  My two cents?  Be contented with what you get and handle it with love & care like it’s your own baby.

SPA ONLINE

SPA is a department which is involved in recruiting new civil servants.  You can apply for a job online by filling in the SPA8i Form.  Although the form is self-explanatory, do skim through the manual before registering as a new user.  Try not to make any clerical errors when filling in this lengthy form.  More importantly, key in the correct IC number when registering to avoid complications.  Certain details such as SPM results are already in the system record, but there’s no harm going through everything again.

2 things to take note of when filling in the form :

  • Complete the extra-curricular activities section after checking that you actually still possess the relevant certificates as proofs.
  • As trivial as this sounds, remember to complete the last step of the application and submit the form.  Otherwise, your application will not be processed by SPA.

SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS (the boring section)

I find this the most labour-intensive part of the application other than the job interview.  All photocopied documents, especially for MMC, need to be certified as true copies.  This can be done by a government officer who works in administration (ie. school principal, student affairs officer) or Commissioner of Oaths.

MMC

Apart from the Provisional Registration Form, you will need to fill in a “Fitness to Practise” Declaration Form too.  Click HERE to download.

Core documents needed are :

  1. 2 passport sized photos
  2. 1 certified copy of Basic Medical Degree
  3. 1 certified copy of academic transcript encompassing the results of whole training period
  4. 1 certified copy of IC
  5. 1 certified copy of birth certificate
  6. 1 certified copy of SPM certificate
  7. RM20 processing fee by money/postal order payable to “The Registrar Medical Practitioner”

In addition to the list above :

Local graduates – the original Dean’s letter

Overseas graduates –

  • If your name in the degree certificate is spelt differently from the IC, get a Commissioner of Oaths to issue you with a letter verifying that you are in fact the person as stated in the cert.  For example, Tan Ching Chong is known as Ching Chong Tan in the UK, a classic example of the confusion created by first name and last name.
  • For graduates from Indian institutions – 1 certified copy of Bonafide Student and Rotating Internship.
  • For graduates from Indonesian institutions – 1 certified copy of Sarjana Kedokteran and Ijazah Kedokteran.

MMC is rigid & fussy about the completeness and accuracy of all supporting documents.  And, rightfully so.  Therefore, it is imperative to get everything right the first time.

More information about provisional registration can be obtained here.

KKM

Download this FORM and fill it in completely.  You will need to attach a photograph onto it.  Also, keep your parents’ IC numbers handy because you need to fill in these to complete the form.

Supporting documents needed are :

  1. 1 certified copy of IC
  2. 1 certified copy of SPM certificate
  3. 1 certified copy of degree certificate
  4. 1 certified copy of temporary registration certificate (from MMC)
  5. 1 certified copy of marriage certificate if you are married (Well done!)
  6. 1 certified copy of resignation letter for those who had previously resigned from KKM

SPA

The documents (original and 1 photocopy) to bring during the interview are :

  1. IC
  2. Birth certificate
  3. SPM certificate
  4. Degree certificate
  5. Academic transcript encompassing the results of whole training period
  6. Temporary registration certificate (from MMC)
  7. Certificates to as evidence for your extra-curricular activities as stated by you in the SPA online form (Only original certs)

In addition, bring along a resume with your nice photograph on it and prepare an extra photograph for another form which you will fill in on the interview day.

For more information, visit this website.

“Fine.  How many photographs do I actually need?  I am camera shy hopeless at maths.”

Well, 2+1+2 = 5.  So, at least 5.  Capiche?

COMMISSIONER OF OATHS

For the sake of efficacy, you might just solve most of your supporting document problems with just one visit to the Commissioner of Oaths.  He or she can certify all your photocopied documents and make a letter to put an end to the “first name, last name” issues for once and for all, at a fee of course.  I get mine done free-of-charge though.  So, just ask around and get the best deal for students fresh graduates.

MMC

MMC stands for the Malaysian Medical Council.  The council is involved in regulating doctors’ licenses to practise.

I sent all my documents via registered mail to MMC.  A calculated move, considering that I live far away from Klang valley.  Unfortunately, it was not the wisest decision as I had to wait a few days for them to receive my mail, phone back to enquire about it, wait a few days for the temporary registration certificate to be issued and wait a couple more weeks for the certificate to arrive at my doorstep.

If you can just attend at the MMC office at Jalan Cenderasari with all your documents and submit by hand, I heard they would issue you with the certificate on that day itself or the day after.  MMC’s temporary registration certificate acts as a speed limiting factor in your application process as you cannot go for the SPA interview without it.

Their address can be found here.

KKM

Fuss-free.  I sent this by registered mail, too, although it is more advisable to hand in the form at the KKM office.  This is not an urgent part of the application process because you can do it before or after the interview.  If you are falling asleep by now, wake up!  In the “Borang Maklumat Diri”, you can state your top 3 hospital choices for housemanship from the list of hospitals given.  Note that working in Klang valley for housemanship means that it is mandatory for you to work outside of Klang valley when your housemanship ends.

SPA INTERVIEW

After you have received your temporary registration certificate from MMC, ring up SPA to schedule for an interview date.  The SPA contact details can be found here.

Tips?  Wear appropriately for the job interview.  If you are not a blonde but with blonde hair, it’s time to disguise it with a darker colour on that day.  Here are some fashion inspirations on culturally accepted professional-looking attires.  Seriously, dress right.  The tales of applicants being failed in the interview, are few and far between.  Rumours are that, people usually fail on the basis of inappropriate attire and attitude problems.

It is advisable to be at the interview place an hour before the 8.00am appointment time because, ladies and gentleman, heavy traffic and finding a parking space can be a pain.  Don’t forget to bring all necessary documents.  I can’t stress this more.  Also, bring a glue too.  You will need to paste your own photo onto an SPA form on that day itself.

Out of the plus-or-minus 120 applicants who went for the interview during my time, none had failed the interview.  So, you should have more faith in yourself and worry less.  The interview setting is like this : 2 interviewers with 5 applicants sitting in a row; introduce yourself first; questions were then systematically thrown from one end to the other & there is no helping each other out. In my opinion, the questions asked were very interviewer- and time-dependent.

If you get a orthopaedic surgeon, be prepared to answer questions on fractures and arthroplasty.  On the other hand, if you get a medical doctor, he or she can ask you anything that’s related to medicine, which is everthing.  Get ready to talk about diabetes, leptospirosis, SLE3, dengue fever or malaria.  Basically, anything which is covered by medical textbooks under the hot tropical sun.  Don’t be freaked out though.  My advice?  Focus on the general and common conditions in Malaysia.  Even if you have a mental and nervous breakdown during the questioning session, chances are you would still pass with a positive and pleasant attitude.

That was interviewer-dependent.  What do I mean by time-dependent then?  Simple.  As time passes by and fatigue sets in, the examiners would spend less time grilling the students and cut them some slack.  However, you don’t get to pick your number.  Even if you are the first to hand in the SPA form, you might still end up in the final group.  Get ready for a boring wait.  Bring some snacks, iPad, iPod, books, magazines or anything at all to keep you occupied for the long hours.

One of the interviewers is usually an officer from SPA.  He or she would ask questions regarding the current administration.  For example :

  • Who is the Prime Minister?  (Just kidding.  But seriously, shoot yourself if you don’t know this.)
  • Who is the current Minister of Health?  What does he specialise in?
  • Who is the current Health DG?  What does he specialise in?
  • What is the KKM slogan and motto?
  • What are the KKM health campaigns that you have heard about?
  • What is 1 Malaysia?
  • What are the 6 National Key Results Areas (NKRA)?

Examples of “touchy” personal questions include :

  • Why do you want to be a doctor?
  • Where do you see yourself at 10 years from now?
  • Given a chance, how would you improve the healthcare system in Malaysia?
  • Which hospital do you hope to get for housemanship?

Bottomline?  Speak up and respond to the questions thoughtfully and politely.

OFFER LETTER/INDUCTION COURSE

Finding out the interview results is just a phone call away.  Ring up the same SPA numbers that you initially used to make an interview appointment.  If you pass and most likely you would, wait for the offer letter to arrive.  Once you get the offer letter, phone up KKM to enquire about the induction course.  You will find out about your posting on the last day of induction and start working the Monday after.  Oh, and by the way, I heard our pay starts on the first day of induction.

What do they say about all good things?

Argh, right.  They always come to an end. 😛 Hope this is a useful guide on housemanship application in Malaysia and I have not muddled you even more.  Let me know in the comments section should there be any mistakes or dead links.  I wish us a smooth housemanship training, but we all do know that it is going to be one hell of a bumpy ride, don’t we?

Set your sails ready guys!  PEACE OUT.

Disclaimer : This post is written to clarify the Malaysian housemanship application process for the convenience of future housemen.  Read this at your own risk (but I am sure you already had to reach here).  The author is not in any way held responsible for your dissatisfaction, loss of time or damage to property due to the tips and advice given in this article.  The author stands to be corrected should there be any errors in this post.  The author also apologises, beforehand, to any party/parties who feels/feel offended by this post.

K.I.S.S.

Keep It Simple Stupid

Any observant reader would realise the huge lapse of record between 22/07/2012 and now (27/08/2013).  Mathematically speaking, I was gone from blogosphere for approximately 1 year and 1 month.  However, unlike Justin Bieber, I did not actually (nor plan to) hitch a rocket ride to the outer space and had actually been doing something solid.

So, to K.I.S.S.,

  • I passed my 4th year exam.  Hell yeah!
  • No, I still do not have a chatbox option for this blog unless some kind souls are generous enough to sponsor me with a premium account.
  • Went skiing.
  • Toured France, Spain and Scottish Highlands.  Went to Paris Disneyland too, whilst in Paris.
  • Visited London and Edinburgh NUMEROUS times.
  • Passed the Ward Simulation Exercise.  Wasn’t great, but didn’t do too bad either.
  • Passed the 5th year Portfolio exam plus OSCE1 exemption.
  • With that, *drumrolls*, came the climax of my timeline!
  • BOTH girlfriend and I graduated with a MBChB degree!  The best part?  Unscathed.  *high 5s*

    Graduation Photo

    Off into the list of achievements.

  • Family came over for my graduation ceremony.  Took the opportunity to step up to be the tour guide in England and Scotland.
  • The anticlimax?  Returned to Malaysia.  Could have stayed on longer but was greatly concerned about the long term future.  That was when reality sank in.  Why on earth does anyone want to work as a doctor?
  • Applied for a job as a house officer in Malaysia and went for the SPA interview.  The set up is like this.  For each group, simple questions were thrown by 2 high ranking officers to 5 candidates.  No, we were not required to bite each others’ neck off to answer.  The questions went around the table from one end to the other.  The interview should not be a great worry for the majority of candidates because I was informed that everyone passed!  You heard me right.  Individuals’ performance aside, every one of the give-or-take 120 applicants who had gone for the interview on that sunny Wednesday passed.  And it’s my belief that such interview is held on a weekly basis.  No pun intended, I would scratch my head if there is no glut of housemen in this lovely country.  Perhaps, acting as a Samaritan, I would clarify and provide an insight into the Malaysian housemanship application process in an exclusive blog post.  Getting all the necessary documents ready can take some time, but the process itself is generally straightforward and not tedious at all.
  • Been doing Insanity workout.
  • Read a few financial management and investment books.
  • Started preparing for MRCP2 Part 1.

The last of the bullet points also marks my exact whereabout just now.  While waiting for the job offer, I am preparing for the upcoming professional exam and hatching out ideas to begin my double life also as an entrepreneur.