KUALA LUMPUR, July 31 — SUPP today offered evidence that the Malaysian government recognised Taiwan dental schools back in 1995, disputing the Health Ministry’s claim that they were never recognised.
The Sarawakian party noted that then-Health Minister Chua Jui Meng was reported on February 14, 1996, as saying that his ministry has decided to recognise seven dental schools and eight medical schools in Taiwan.
“He further disclosed that MDC (Malaysian Dental Council) resolved in the council meeting held on 8th January 1996 to approve the seven dental schools of Taiwan under Section 12(9) of the Dental Act 1971,” SUPP’s education bureau said in a statement today.
According to SUPP, Chua reportedly said on July 27, 1998, that 80 dental graduates from seven Taiwanese dental schools have been registered by the MDC and were serving in government hospitals.
“According to Chua Jui Meng, the government had recognised and gazetted the dental degrees of the seven Taiwanese universities by December 1995.”
SUPP noted that Mahadzir Mohd Khir, the then-parliamentary secretary to the education minister, told Bukit Mertajam MP Chong Eng in Parliament on November 16, 2000, that the Education Ministry had already recognised one pharmacy, eight medical, and seven dentistry degrees from Taiwan.
“It is our view that the statement given by Dato’ Mahadzir in Parliament was and is an irrefutable evidence to prove that the seven dental schools from Taiwan had been duly recognised by the Ministry of Health.”
On July 23, 2003, according to SUPP, the Federation of Alumni Associations of Taiwan Universities, Malaysia reported in its 30th Anniversary Special Issue Magazine that Malaysian government had sent its representatives, spearheaded by the then-Health director-general Dr Abu Bakar Suleiman, to visit eight medical and seven dental schools in Taiwan to assess and accredit them.
The seven dental schools were National Taiwan University, National Defence Medical College, National Yang Ming University Medical College, Taipei Medical College, China Medical College, Chung Shan Medical & Dental College, and Kaohsiung Medical College.
SUPP expressed bewilderment at current Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah’s recent claim that the MDC, which he heads, had never recognised Taiwan’s dental schools under the Dental Act in the first place because they were never listed under the Second Schedule of that law.
SUPP claimed that then-Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai said a technical error had caused the Taiwanese dental schools to be omitted from the Schedule of recognised universities under the Act and directed in 2012 a rectification of the mistake. But this was allegedly not done.
“Let us remind the Ministry of Health, that in the event the said seven dental schools from Taiwan were omitted from the gazette despite having being recognised by Malaysia government many years ago, the fault shall remain with the Ministry of Health.
“This is because the Ministry of Health is obliged to legalise the recognition of the said dental schools when it was approved by the Cabinet headed by our Tun Dr Mahathir [Mohamad] as Prime Minister by then,” said SUPP.
The Gabungan Parti Sarawak member party urged parents of dental undergraduates studying in Taiwan to file a lawsuit to compel MDC to recognise the Taiwanese schools so that Malaysian graduates can register as dentists in Malaysia.