#BeAnAwesome: Chest Physician

Decide by yourself what you want to do and not what your parents want you to do. Your parents advice is surely important to guide you along the way through their experiences, however, you ultimately need to make a choice on your career path.
Dato’ Dr Abdul Razak Muttalif
Director at Institute of Respiratory Medicine

What will I do?

To treat all lung diseases, with the end goal of ensuring that Malaysia is free of infectious lung diseases, especially TB.
To diagnose all TB cases as early as possible and to ensure that they are non-infectious.

Is it for me?

You would first need to complete your MBBS, followed by a postgraduate doctorate in internal medicine. The last step is to sub specialise in respiratory diseases. The whole process may take 10 years or longer.

What is the most enjoyable part of the job?

Specialists in respiratory field are in demand in our country. This is because the most common medical condition leading to death and admissions in the government hospitals are due to lung diseases. Therefore, specialising in this area is both an interesting and challenging journey.

Who will employ me?

Though there are many doctors graduating every year in Malaysia lately, there is still a huge scope of the medical line that needs to be filled by young professionals. Do your research as there are lots of sub specialities in medicine which are still in demand.

How much will I earn?

Salary for doctors in the Ministry has increased over the years. A house officer can roughly earn more than RM3,000, and the pay increases when you get a postgraduate qualification. If a doctor decides to go to private practice, there is no limit to their pay. It may go beyond RM100,000 a month, depending on their speciality.


As mentioned earlier, a doctor with MBBS can decide to be a surgeon or a physician. They can then sub specialise to master any organs in the body (from the head to the foot). There are also other non-clinical specialities in the medical line, where a doctor can specialise in management and become a director, researcher or even a lecturer. Once you finish your undergraduate degree, you will begin to realise that the scope is unlimited. It all depends on your interest.