KUALA LUMPUR, July 18 — SUPP today slammed the “unprofessional” Malaysian Dental Council (MDC) for disclosing its non-recognition of Taiwan’s dental schools only after complaints about graduates’ predicaments went public.
SUPP education bureau chairman Ding Kuong Hiing said the MDC, which regulates dental practitioners in Malaysia and is headed by Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, must now issue guidelines on how graduates from seven Taiwanese dental schools can register as dentists in Malaysia.
“The statement by the president of the MDC is devastating to the parents whose children contemplate to study or are still studying dentistry in Taiwan, which not only provides high quality teaching but also economical tuition fees affordable to most Malaysians.
“They are left in a limbo,” Ding, who is also Meradong assemblyman, said in a statement.
The seven dental schools in Taiwan are Taiwan University School of Medicine, National Defense School of Medicine, Yangming University School of Medicine, Taipei Medical University, China Medical University, Zhongshan Medical University, and Kaohsiung Medical University.
Dr Noor Hisham yesterday refuted news reports that said the MDC removed recognitions for Taiwan’s dental schools under the Dental Act 1971, clarifying that the council had never recognised those schools in the first place as they were never listed under the Second Schedule of that law.
The MDC president said dental graduates with unrecognised qualifications, including those from Taiwanese schools, may be registered for Malaysian practice if they fulfil criteria under Section 12(3) or Section 12(9) of the now repealed Dental Act 1971 (replaced by the Dental Act 2018).
Section 12(3) states that one is entitled to be registered as a dental surgeon if they have “obtained experience in the practice of dentistry by engaging in employment in the practice of dentistry to the satisfaction of the Director General for a period of not less than two years in such capacity or capacities in such one or more of the public services”.
Section 12(9) states one may be registered as a dental surgeon, “provided that the person seeking registration under this section possesses a qualification in dentistry with respect to which the Minister, after consulting the Council, is satisfied that it is adequate”.
Ding pointed out that in 1996, the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) recognised the medical degrees of seven Taiwanese medical schools after both MMC and MDC visited the seven dental and medical schools.
“Hence, MDC owes the public a duty to explain why the recognition of the seven dental schools in Taiwan were not gazetted immediately after the study tours in 1996.”
The Gabungan Parti Sarawak lawmaker also noted that then-Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai had directed MDC in 2012 to reinsert the seven Taiwanese dental schools into the Dental Act.
“The reply by Datuk Dr Noor Hisham indicated that from 2012 until now, the MDC never executes the lawful directive of the then Health Minister to fully recognise the said seven dental schools of Taiwan.
“By refusing to execute the said lawful directive, MDC, which is under the purview of the Ministry of Health, did not and does not show any respect to the Health Minister of the day,” said Ding.
He urged Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad to intervene in the matter and help Malaysian graduates of Taiwan’s dental schools.
“We also urge the Malaysian Dongzong, United Chinese Association and United Taiwan Alumnus etc to monitor the case expeditiously. They must meet and discuss the matter with the present Health Minister for a fair and acceptable solution,” said Ding.
Borneo Post reported Ding as saying yesterday that Taiwan’s dental schools offered among the lowest tuition fees in the world at as low as RM20,000 annually.