KUALA LUMPUR, August 5 — A Taiwanese alumni association has produced a 1996 letter from the Public Service Department (JPA) about the government’s decision to recognise medical and dental degrees from eight universities in Taiwan.
According to the Borneo Post, Federation of Alumni Association of Taiwan Universities, Malaysia (Faatum) president Lawrence Ting Siew Haw reportedly said JPA’s letter dated February 3, 1996, to the Health Ministry was issued after a team of representatives led by then-Health director-general Dr Abu Bakar Suleiman visited seven dental colleges in Taiwan.
“They concluded after the visit that once Taiwan graduates passed the Taiwan National Licensing Board Examination, the dental degrees are recognised in Malaysia,” Ting was quoted saying at the premises of Sarawak Taiwan Graduates’ Association (STGA) branch in Sibu, Sarawak.
According to JPA’s purported letter sighted by CodeBlue, the eight Taiwanese universities recognised by the government for their medical and dental qualifications 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, Kaohsiung Medical College, and National Cheng Kung University Medical College.
According to the letter, once dental graduates pass Taiwan’s licensing examination, they can be registered under Section 12(a) of the Dental Act 1991, with the condition that they work with the government for two years to get clinical experience.
Ting said if the dental degrees from Taiwan were not recognised, JPA would not have issued its letter.
The Education Bureau of the Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) said at a press conference on July 31 that the seven dental schools in Taiwan had previously been recognised by the then-Barisan Nasional government.
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.
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.
However, Malaysian Dental Council (MPC) president Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, who is also the Health director-general, previously claimed that Malaysia never recognised the seven Taiwanese dental schools.
In a response to SUPP urging the MDC president to explain to the public the decision to remove seven dental schools in Taiwan from the second Schedule of the Dental Act 2018, Dr Noor Hisham said the schools were never recognised under the approved list.