SIBU: The Malaysian Dental Council’s (MDC) latest statement that the government has never recognised basic qualifications from Taiwanese dental schools is shocking, says SUPP’s Education Bureau.
Bureau education chief Ding Kuong Hiing said this has been distressing for the public, particularly current dental students in Taiwan, their parents, and graduates from the seven dental schools in Taiwan.
On Wednesday (July 17), MDC president Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said basic dental qualifications from Taiwanese dental schools have never been recognised under the Dental Act 1971, though avenues are still open for such graduates to practise here.
Dr Noor Hisham added that dental graduates with unrecognised qualifications, whether from Taiwan or otherwise, may be considered to be registered under the Dental Act 1971 if they fulfilled the criteria determined by the MDC, either under the Section 12(3) or Section 12(9) of the same Act.
“Currently, there are 139 such graduates from unrecognised Taiwan dental schools who have fulfilled the stipulated criteria and are already registered with the MDC. Thus, these 139 dental graduates are all allowed to practise in Malaysia,” said Dr Noor Hisham, who is also the Health Ministry director-general.
According to Ding, Dr Noor Hisham’s statement 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 affordable tuition fees affordable to most Malaysians.
He said MDC and the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) had conducted studies on the medical and dental courses in Taiwan, and that these degrees were “fully recognised” after a study visit to all the seven dental and medical schools in 1996.
"It is also a fact that medical degrees of the seven medical schools in Taiwan were already gazetted by the MMC under the second schedule of Medical Act 1971. Hence, MDC owes the public a duty to explain why the recognition of the dental schools were not gazetted immediately after the study tours in 1996.
“Former health minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai summoned a meeting with MDC on Oct 4, 2012, where he directed MDC to include back the said seven dental schools into the second schedule of the Dental Act 1971.
"Under the said Act, the Health Minister has the power to give such directive on the ground that the accreditation was successfully performed in 1996,” said Ding in a statement (July 18).
“Dr Noor Hisham’s reply indicated that from 2012 until now, MDC had never executed the lawful directive of the then Health Minister to fully recognise the said dental schools.
"By refusing to execute the said lawful directive, MDC did not and does not show any respect to the Health Minister of the day,” he said.
“MDC must explain the differences between Sections 12(3) and 12(9) of the Act. As public interest is involved, MDC must issue guidelines as to how dental graduates from the seven dental schools can apply for registration accordingly, and all related stakeholders must discuss the matter with the present Health Minister for a fair and acceptable solution,” he added.