- I’m delighted to be here today to celebrate the launch of Perdana University; to congratulate the first ever intake of students – 30 from Johns Hopkins and, next week, another 75 from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland; and to witness the installation of YABhg Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as Perdana University’s very first Chancellor.
- This new University – a far-sighted collaboration between the Government’s Public-Private Partnership Unit and the corporate sector – is something of a landmark for Malaysia, and I would like to thank Turiya Berhad and Chase Perdana for their investment in and commitment to the project. I am personally incredibly excited about it and I have no doubt that it will pay dividends in the widest possible sense over the years – educating and developing a new generation of medical professionals and equipping them with the skills and expertise to respond to the healthcare needs of our growing global population.
- I am extremely proud that this project has attracted the world-renowned Johns Hopkins School of Medicine to Malaysia, an institution whose reputation for world-class research is quite simply awe inspiring. From establishing the modern principles for the control of bleeding during surgery to the development of CPR, pacemakers and renal dialysis, their life-changing innovations speak for themselves. I should tell you that Johns Hopkins also pioneered the use of latex gloves during surgery – something that has had a very significant impact on Malaysia, which is now the world’s largest producer and exporter of medical rubber gloves!
- But it is not just their research and innovation that is first-class. Their commitment to teaching excellence is second to none, and their belief in the integral relationship between caring for patients – the work of hospitals – and medical education – the work of universities like this one – has informed their approach since the beginning.
- With no fewer than 16 Nobel prize winners for medicine among their alumni and faculty, I think it’s safe to say we’re in good hands – and I hope the winning streak will continue at Perdana University with many more groundbreaking medical advances in the years to come!
- Certainly, this is a fantastic opportunity for Malaysians to train in and to practice world-class medicine. The Johns Hopkins’ scheme will offer, for the first time, a four year Graduate Entry programme for Medicine in Malaysia, and in line with my Government’s commitment to strapping up skills training I hope the chance study the best medical school curriculum in the world will encourage more of our country’s top graduates to stay at home.
- From brain drain to brain surgery in four easy years… well, OK, probably not that easy! I’m just a humble economist so I’m not really equipped to comment. I guess you’d have to ask Tun Dr Mahatir Mohamed on that one!
- But it’s not just Johns Hopkins who are transforming the face of medical training in Malaysia. Perdana University has also attracted the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland to offer its internationally-renowned. 5 year medical curriculum – and I am delighted that Ruairi Quinn, the Irish Minister of Education, is able to be here with us to mark today’s event.
- Students entering this new programme will undertake all five years of their training in Malaysia and on graduation will be awarded the medical degree of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland – an incredibly prestigious institution which boasts Francis Rynd, the inventor of the hypodermic needle, and Abraham Colles, the Irish surgeon who first described the eponymous ‘dinner-fork fracture’, among its former members.
10. So these are exciting times – and there is no doubt Perdana University is going to be an amazing facility, boasting not one but two medical schools, Malaysia’s first private teaching hospital with 600 multispecialty beds, and a new Life Sciences Research Centre to keep our country at the cutting edge of clinical research. Having had the opportunity to acquaint myself with Perdana University’s research agenda I have high hopes that the work to be conducted here will go on to address some of the most pressing medical challenges of our times.
11. The planned Perdana University Teaching Hospital is set to open in 2013 by the time today’s students reach their clinical years and will be managed by Johns Hopkins Medicine International. Offering state-of-the art diagnostic and treatment facilities, it will be a prominent player in Malaysia’s drive towards medical tourism, a model for 21st century personalised medicine, and ultimately an international symbol of healthcare excellence.
12. So Perdana University is extremely well-placed to realise its core vision and to achieve its mission and its goals. The calibre of the inaugural faculty attests to the commitment of the University in setting the very highest standards in clinical care, research and education, and I hope that – as the University endeavours to establish itself as a world-class education-research-healthcare hub – it will also strive to forge links with local institutions and our local talent pool.
13. Ladies and Gentlemen, I am pleased to inform you that the Government will be providing a number of scholarships to Malaysian students selected to pursue their medical training at both the Perdana University Graduate School of Medicine and the Perdana University-Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland School of Medicine. The faculty and students of this inaugural class have an incredible opportunity to lay the foundations for a long tradition of excellence, and I look forward with anticipation to the graduation of the first year’s classes!
14. I had the honour of visiting the Johns Hopkins Hospital and School of Medicine in Baltimore earlier this year to attend the inauguration ceremony of a new international medical education institute – named for the Malaysian physician, businessman and donor Tan Sri Datuk Dr Mohan Swami – and I was incredibly impressed by their commitment to this monumental partnership. I would also like to acknowledge Tan Sri Dr Mohan’s contribution to initiating this project and to putting Malaysia on the map for world class medical education, research and care.
15. Let me also take my place among the many who will wish to congratulate Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed on being installed the First Chancellor of Perdana University. They are without a doubt extremely fortunate to have him, and I am sure that under his visionary guidance Perdana University will play a significant role in changing Malaysia’s landscape of medical education, research and clinical care.
16. Finally, I want to take this opportunity to congratulate the management, faculty and staff of Perdana University and to wish all of Perdana’s students the very best for their studies in the years to come. I am sure that your time at this fantastic institution will mark the beginning of a lifetime of excellence, achievement and professional pride.