SIBU: The unannounced removal of all Taiwanese dental schools by the Malaysian Dental Council (MDC) has left graduates and current students in the lurch, and the Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) wants an explanation.
SUPP education bureau chairman Ding Kuong Hiing said this was unfair to the dental graduates because this non-recognition meant they could not work or intern at government dental hospitals, nor commence private practice.
“We are very angry with how MDC took this drastic action to remove these seven schools as they had been originally recognised in 1996 under the then Dental Act 1971,” he said.
The seven schools removed from Schedule 2 of the current Dental Act 2018 are the Taiwan University School of Medicine, National Defence School of Medicine, Yangming University School of Medicine, Taipei Medical University, China Medical University, Zhongshan Medical University, and Kaohsiung Medical University.
Dudong SUPP chief Wong Ching Yong said the matter came to light last week when dentists who graduated from Taiwan and their parents complained to the party’s education bureau.
“Our education bureau immediately conducted investigations and discovered that all seven dental schools recognised by the MDC since 1996 were, without advanced notice, removed from the 2nd Schedule of the Dental Act,” he said.
He added that medical and dental degrees from these institutes had been fully recognised respectively by the Malaysian Medical Council and the MDC, and that Taiwan-graduated doctors and dentists had returned to Malaysia to work without a hitch.
The SUPP’s education bureau said it wanted an explanation from Datuk Nor Hisham Abdullah, who is MDC president and also Health Ministry director-general.
The Star has made attempts to reach Nor Hisham, but to no avail.
Wong said this was not the first time that the MDC had tried to remove the seven dental schools from Taiwan from Schedule 2.
“In 2012, when the proposed Malaysian Dental Act 2013 was presented to Parliament for debate, the MDC attempted to quietly remove the seven Taiwanese dental schools.
“Fortunately at the time, the United Malaysian-Taiwanese Alumnus Association referred this attempt to then health minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.
“After a dialogue session chaired by the minister, the MDC immediately promised to put the seven Taiwanese dental schools back in Schedule 2,” he said.
A dentistry course in Taiwan costs RM20,000 a year, but with a Taiwanese government scholarship, students need only to pay RM10,000 a year.