The MMC, with its inherent powers established under the Medical Act 1971, is responsible for recognising medical schools for the purpose of licensing their graduates for practice in Malaysia pursuant to section 12(2) as follows:
‘(2) The Minister may from time to time, after consulting the Council, add to, delete from or amend the Second Schedule by order published in the Gazette.’
Under the statute, fresh graduates need to undergo a period of internship training of not less than a year. Upon full registration, they are compelled by law to serve a period of not less than three years within public health services. For that purpose, the law only allows graduates from recognised medical training institutions for registration. Graduates from non-recognised medical schools, on the other hand, need to sit and pass medical qualifying examination to be eligible for registration.
Implicit is the role of setting standards and certifying the achievement of standards of medical degree programmes awarded by all medical schools within and outside Malaysia. In March 1996, in collaboration with the Liaison Committee for Medical Education of the United States, the MMC with the assistance of UKM established guidelines for standards and procedures for accrediting medical schools. The certification of standards is usually conducted in collaboration with Jabatan Perkhidmatan Awam or Public Services Department (PSD) which is responsible for recruiting doctors into the government health services.
In June 1996, the Government established LAN* under the National Accreditation Board Act 1996 with the aim of assuring the quality of educational programmes in private institutions of higher education. Thus accreditation of the basic medical programmes of private medical schools is governed by the LAN Act+. LAN’s functions are to set standards and to ensure compliance for the purpose of course approval and certification of achievement of minimum and accreditation standards. In order for a degree to be awarded it is compulsory for an institution to achieve minimum standards. The achievement of accreditation standards is voluntary.