In the 1950s, Malaysian doctors travelled to the United Kingdom and Ireland to obtain training and to sit for the FFARCS and FFARCSI examinations. Anaesthetic training started in Malaya, at the University of Malaya, with the establishment of an academic Department of Anaesthesiology in 1965. A professional link was also established with the Faculty of Anaesthetists of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons when fellowhip examinations, first the primary and subsequently the finals, were conducted in Kuala Lumpur from the 1970s to 1985.
In June 1987 the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Malaya introduced the Master of Anaesthesiology degree course. The first candidates to complete the course graduated in June 1991. This course has been fully supported by the Ministry of Health through scholarships or paid leave granted to applicants for the whole duration of each course. This support has enabled many doctors in Ministry of Health hospitals to acquire formal specialist training in anaesthesiology, with a resultant increase in the number of practicing anaesthesiologists in the country.
In December 1988 the Part I, Master of Anaesthesiology Examination was conducted jointly with the Faculty of Medicine of the University Kebangsaan Malaysia. This was the first major step by the two universities to establish a conjoint Master of Anaesthesiology. The conjoint examinations are now fully established for the two universities and future, linkages with the other national universities will be developed. The four year course, leading to the degree of Master of Anaesthesiology, provides:
a) Specialist training in anaesthesia, pain medicine, resuscitation and intensive care,
b) Subspecialty training in anaesthesiology,
c) Exposure to research methodology.
The aim of the degree programme is to enable the anaesthesiologist to practice independently in anaesthesia in a Malaysian hospital as well as to inculcate a lifelong commitment to excellence and learning.