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Who is a Biochemist in Ministry of Health (MOH)?


Biochemistry is a branch of science that study the interaction of biological and chemical processes involved in life. Biochemistry was first described by a scientist from Germany, Carl Neuberg in 1903. Generally, biochemistry is closely related to medical, nutrition, molecular biology and plant and animal biology.

Biochemistry is a well known in Malaysia. Almost all higher learning institutions in Malaysia are offering biochemistry as part of their programs to meet the market demands from the various fields such as medical, biotechnology or research. Biochemistry services have been commenced in Malaysia as early as 1928 in the Research Institute of Malaysia (IMR) to replace chemical service at the institute.

Biochemist or officially known in Ministry of Health (MOH) as Scientific officer (Biochemistry) is not unfamiliar post in ministry and pathology services. Since 2008, Biochemist together with other allied heath profession is being managed by Allied Health Division, MOH. The post has been established as early as IMR development and parallel with laboratory services in MOH. Nowadays, all level of hospitals either with specialist or without specialist has a biochemist in their lab.

There are 476 biochemists comprising grade C41 to JUSA C filled the post until April 2015. They are not only placed in hospitals but also placed in National Public Health Laboratory (MKAK) from all over the country, Engineering division, National Blood Centre, National Respiratory Institute, Institute of Medical Research and National Cancer Institute.

Roles of Biochemist

The biochemical test comprised of one third of the laboratory investigation as it is important in helping clinicians in their diagnosis, screening of disease, monitoring of treatment and also use in clinical trials. Therefore, the contribution of biochemist in pathology services is undeniable in order to make sure the quality of biochemistry services.

The roles of biochemist is depends on where they are working. Almost 90% of biochemists in MOH are placed in hospitals all over the country. Generally they are part of medical laboratory team that are responsible to provide the accurate and reliable biochemistry test result to the clinicians in aiding the diagnosis. Biochemist is a backbone of technical aspect in the lab. Apart from that, the biochemist also involved in other activities such as:

  1. Involved in planning and management of technical work in the laboratory
  2. Responsible in identifying and deciding all test method in the laboratory
  3. Assure all quality aspects including pre analytical, analytical and post analytical is compliance
  4. Analysing special tests
  5. Monitoring technical or analytical performance of biochemical tests performed.
  6. Carrying on root cause analysis
  7. Planning and perform method verification for all new and existing test
  8. Monitoring procurement and supplying analyser
  9. Responsible technical specification preparation for analyser procurement
  10. Actively involved in Point of Care Testing (POCT) program including analyser technical specification and procurement and quality assurance program
  11. Conduct a research to improve the quality of biochemistry testing services
  12. Training and reviewing the need for staff training.
  13. Collaborate with other institutions in a research to ensure the best continuous patient management.
  14. Giving technical consultation such as appropriateness of test and sample collection procedure.

Despite working in hospitals, biochemists also have been placed in highly specialised services such as in protein and proteomic, toxicology and inborn errors metabolism. In toxicology, biochemists are responsible in ensuring all test methods and specimens handling for substance such as drugs are accurate. They also required in giving information and defending the test report in court for medico legal cases.

Biochemists that are specialised in inborn error metabolism were not only conduct the analysis but also giving consultation to the clinicians in helping diagnosis and patient management. They are also actively doing research and writing for journal publication. There are numbers of articles have been published in a well known journals for the inborn error metabolism area.

Biochemist in PDN is responsible in ensuring the quality of blood and their components for patient’s usage. They are involved in analysing the blood component and monitoring the compliance of procedure to make sure the blood are safe to be use. Biochemist also plays important roles in monitoring the cleanliness and safety of water source for people use. Their responsibilities are more focused on specimen handling, analysis and report of the water sample.

The roles of biochemist in national public health laboratory are also important. They are involved in the handling and analysing of specimen in surveillance programs. Apart from that, Biochemists also have been placed in Family Health Development Division in MOH to monitor and supervised all primer laboratories to ensure the services are parallel with the public health policy.


Picture 1 : Ensuring participation in quality programs is one of the important roles of biochemist MOH


Picture 2 : Biochemist is responsible to provide an accurate and reliable test result.

Qualification of Biochemist MOH

The minimum qualification of biochemist is Basic degree in Biochemistry from local or abroad universities. However, there are numbers of biochemists with master and PhD holders during their first appointment.

The biochemists are very enthusiastic to compete and enriched their knowledge. Therefore, many of biochemist pursues their studies to the next level such as masters or doctorate. Currently, biochemist actively involved in publication of articles and quality assurance research in nationally or internationally levels.

As a conclusion, the presence of biochemist is complement and significance group in MOH pathology services. The biochemist is an important element in providing high quality of pathology services and able to compete with other services in MOH.


  1. http://alliedhealth.moh.gov.my
  2. http://study.com/academy/lesson/what-is-biochemistry-definition-history-topics.html
  3. http://www.imr.gov.my/my/corporate-info-2/sejarah.html
Last Reviewed : 27 May 2016
Writer : Norafaedah bt. Mohd Nor
Accreditor : Roslan bin Abd. Aziz