Good news for Taiwan dental graduates

Wong (fourth right) in a group photo with Dr Lee (fifth left), FAATUM members and MDC representatives after a fruitful meeting.

KUCHING, Dec 17: Dental graduates previously affected by the non-recognition of their qualifications from selected Taiwanese dental schools can now register with the Malaysian Dental Council (MDC).

According to Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) Dudong Branch chief Wong Ching Yong, the good news to abolish the 2016 order, effective immediately, was reached during a meeting between the Federation of Alumni Association of Taiwan Universities Malaysia (FAATUM), MDC and Ministry of Health (MoH) yesterday (Dec 16).

“The 2016 order signed by the then Minister of Health (Datuk Seri) Dr S. Subramaniam required dental graduates from the seven dental schools in Taiwan to study one extra year in USM (Universiti Sains Malaysia) and to sit for Malaysia Dental Qualifying Examination (even if they had passed the Taiwan Board examination to be able to practise in Malaysia),” he explained.

The seven Taiwanese dental schools were 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.

“With the abolition of the said 2016 order, MDC now allows any dental graduate from the seven dental schools in Taiwan to register with MDC immediately until 2021,” he said in a press release.

Wong, who represented SUPP Education Bureau, added that FAATUM had also requested that the registration period be extended until the full implementation of the Dental Act 2018, which was passed in Parliament in April 2018 but yet to be enforced.

“The Dental Act 2018 provides that effective 2023, all dental graduates irrespective of where they graduated from, have to sit for a common Malaysian Dental Qualifying Examination.

“The representatives of MDC have agreed to refer the request to the council meeting to be held on Jan 20, 2020,” he said.

Additionally, Wong pointed out that dental graduates from the affected schools who were in the midst of studying in USM can now opt out from the course and elect immediately to register with MDC, provided that they had passed the National Dental Licensing Examination of Taiwan.

Deputy Minister of Health Dr Lee Boon Chye informed that all dental graduates from the seven dental schools in Taiwan who passed the Taiwan Board exam would register with MDC immediately.

The predicament of these dental graduates came to light in July this year when SUPP Education Bureau learnt that MDC had removed seven Taiwanese dental schools from the Second Schedule of Dental Act.

With the sudden non-recognition of their qualifications, dental graduates were left in a lurch as they could neither work or intern at government hospitals, nor commence private practice.

MDC president, who is also Health director-general, Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah then clarified on July 18 that basic dental qualifications from Taiwan dental schools had never been recognised under Dental Act 1971,  and hence had never been listed under Second Schedule of the said Act.

MDC: Seven Taiwan dental schools never recognised under Second Schedule of Dental Act

Wong, however, asserted that the dental degrees of the seven schools in Taiwan were already fully recognised by Malaysia in 1996 and thus highlighted the need for the federal government to duly gazette the qualifications.

SUPP calls for gazette of 7 recognised Taiwan dental schools