My team, The Xaniacs managed to be shortlisted as the Top 24 teams out of 333 applicants to compete in Malaysian Public Policy Competition (MPPC) 2021. MPPC is an annual event held by International Council of Malaysian Scholars and Associates (ICMS), an independent platform for Malaysian students to engage in public policy-making and encourage students’ critical engagement in public policy. Shortlisted participants will be provided with Induction Day prior to the competition dates to enhance their knowledge in policy making and policy writing. This year’s theme specifically focuses on Healthcare Accessibility in order to improve the current healthcare system especially in this pandemic. A week before the preliminary round, I was approached by Winnie, who is also an IMU Fourth Year Medical Student, to join this competition together with her other friend, Akmal Hazim. As a medical student who is not only passionate about clinical work but also about public policy, I would not want to miss the opportunity to join MPPC this year especially since this year’s theme is close to my heart.
This is my second time joining MPPC, trying my luck again after coming 6th last year. My other team members, Winnie Hue and Akmal Hazim were first timers, but I’m very grateful to be given the opportunity to guide them throughout this competition. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it to the Top 5 but I’m very proud of the commitments that have been shown by my team members.
Although we didn’t win, I’m still proud of my team and our policy on the CALM approach to improve mental healthcare accessibility among university students.
|The CALM approach comprises|
|Connectivity (C) such as telemental health services||Acknowledgement (A) through #SafeSpace recognition||Mental Health Literacy (L)||Mental Health Services (M) like Mental Health First Aid (MHFA)|
This policy was widely accepted by the judges, but luck was not on our side to proceed to the Grand Finals. We hope to bring this policy to another competition in this future. This year’s competition was more challenging than before as I was given the responsibility to lead the team due to my past experiences.
It is even more challenging as the three of us have started our clinical training and were swamped with academic workload. Many nights were also sacrificed to ensure we delivered our best on both competition days. It has been a very memorable journey that has taught us to work as a team even though it is conducted virtually due to the current movement restriction orders. Nevertheless, my teammates have made it easy for me as both of them are quick learners and adapt really fast. The team dynamic was amazing although I just met Akmal through Winnie weeks ago for the preliminary qualifications.
|Fortunately, every team was provided with one Industrial Mentor and In House Mentor, Nazihah and Kheng Wei respectively. They have been very helpful in providing their feedback and also ideas to improve our policy despite their hectic working schedules. We felt so privileged to be under the tutelage of experienced mentors.|
Through all these amazing experiences, we hope to achieve greater heights in public policy in the future.
Written by Raja Nur Shahkeerah Binti Raja Kamarul Zaman, IMU Medical Student.