MDA Hon General Secretary Message from Dr Ng Woan TyngDate 19.02.2016
Dear Esteemed MDA members,
Greetings from the council of the Malaysian Dental Association.
We would like to take this opportunity to wish all our Chinese colleague a Happy and Prosperous Chinese New Year. In Malaysia, the Chinese New Year is a time for most of us to spend time together with our loved ones and our family. In this joyous time, we would like to pause, reflect and look forward with great excitement to the next 12 months ahead, especially the many challenges we could face in this year. On this note, we wish to take this opportunity to provide an overview of the many struggles our association has gone through all these while, and still is, with regards to the above mentioned matter.
On the 3rd February 2016, the MDA council received an invitation to attend a discussion, together with the Oral Health Division, and the Malaysian Association of Orthodontists ( MAO). The representatives reported that the Dental Bill shall be classified by 15th February 2016, and will only be revealed when tabled to the Parliament in May 2016.
The council is in the opinion that it is our duty to revisit and inform the members regarding the chronology of the tabling of Dental Bill 2016, which was first drafted in 2012.
DENTAL BILL 2016
A) On the 8th October 2012
The MDA council under the leadership of Past President Dr Haja Badrudeen, Dr Chow Kai Foo and Dato Dr How Kim Chuan, together with the other various stakeholders, held a meeting with the then honorable Minister of Health Dato Seri Liow Tiong Lai in Putrajaya. A consensus was unanimously achieved and a decisions that were agreed upon on the new dental bill, which was reported in the MDA News Issue Nov/Dec 2012/2013:-
- 1. The private sector will have at least 50% representation in the Malaysian Dental Council.
- Appointments to the important Dental Evaluation Committee and Dental Specialist Qualifying Committee should be subject to the consent of the Minister for the sake of check and balance.
- The clause to set up a privileging committee will be deleted. 47. (2) now changed to 45. (2) should be deleted because it will limit the right of the general practitioner to practice dentistry. This will result in a monopoly by dental specialists, drive up the prices for the public and furthermore discourage general dentists from pursuing continuing professional development and upgrading of their knowledge and skills. Even in advanced countries like the United States and the UK, general practitioners can practise all procedures in the field of dentistry provided they consider themselves having had the necessary training and are fully aware that they are legally responsible for themselves.
- The Annual Practicing Certificate needs only to be paid for once a year and carry one principal address. After all, dental officers in the government have one address which is the Ministry of Health and they can be sent to practice anywhere in the country. We should not burden the dental practitioner with unnecessary requirements. One address is sufficient. The medical doctor need only provide one address and they can practice anywhere in the country. Why should we be any different? What is the justification if any?
- All penalties should be streamlined to the Medical Act Malaysia which lists only 5 offences with the maximum fine of RM100,000 or a jail term of 3 years. Dentistry, being a much less risky profession than medicine should correspondingly carry lighter penalties.
B) In August 2015
The YB Health Minister Datuk Seri S Subramaniam announced that the Dental Bill meant to replace the Dental Act 1971, will be tabled in the Parliament soon.The MDA council since then have been actively engaging the relevant authority in the Ministry of Health, and the Malaysian Dental Council to give feedback on various pressing issues that would have significant impact on the general practitioners at large, after the new Dental Act comes into effect.
C) In October 2015
The President Dr John Ting in his message to the members, reaffirmed the MDA policy stance, in order to uphold the right of the general dental practitioners to be allowed to perform any kind of dental procedures:
1) The general practitioners should not be restricted in any way to performing any dental procedure
2) The specialists shall be acknowledged in their rightful status
A memorandum was then sent to the Principal Director of Oral Health Malaysia Dr Noor Aliyah, with the proposed amendments as below:
D) On the 13th November 2015
A reply was received from the Principal Director, stating that:
E) On the 3rd February 2016
On the 3rd February 2016, the MDA council received an invitation to attend a discussion, together with the Oral Health Division, and the Malaysian Association of Orthodontists ( MAO). Nevertheless, the representatives from the MAO was absent on that day.
The MDA representatives were informed of the below:
The request for the private sector to have at least 50% representation in the Malaysian Dental Council has been maintained.
- The appointments to the Dental Evaluation Committee and the Dental Specialist Qualifying Committee are by the President of Council, but a representative of the MDA is specified for the Dental Specialists’ Evaluation Committee
- At no time during the public engagement in 2012 was it agreed to remove subsection 45(1). The specialist groups, the MDA, the Malaysian Dental Council and the Minister agreed to its inclusion, and only debated on the inclusion of subsection 45(2), which allows GPs to be trained to carry out specialist procedures.
The clause allowing credentialing of GPs to carry out specialist procedures was deleted after the 2012 meeting, but the main clause which limits the practice of GPs by disallowing them from practicing as specialists was maintained. A similar clause is found in the amended Medical Act.
Nevertheless, in 2015 in a meeting with the MAO, the Hon Minister of Health expressed his opinion that a clause allowing GPs to be trained and credentialed should be included in the Dental Bill. The Hon Minister felt that this would encourage training and upgrading of skills and knowledge and make dental procedures more available and affordable to the public
- The annual practising certificate has always and should carry all the practising addresses. This is also in line with the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act 1998, where all the practitioners practising in a clinic have to be declared. This clause has never been changed.
- The Malaysian Dental Council agreed that all penalties be streamlined with the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act 1998, and this has been done.
- The Oral Health Division has reiterated and reassured that a fair Bill will be tabled, with the approval of the Malaysian Dental Council and the Honourable Minister of Health.
The MDA Council wish to express our sincere gratitude to the Oral Health Division for informing us on the final draft. However, due to the ambiguity in the interpretation of clause 45, we wish to reiterate that the council stands firm on the spirit and intent of the consensus agreement adopted on 8/10/12.
As we anticipate the bill to be tabled in May 2016, we hope all concerned dental practitioners will participate in our questionnaire for the association to get a collective view to be presented to the Honourable Minister of Health. Kindly click here to participate:
Dr Ng Woan Tyng
Hon General Secretary 2015/2016
Malaysian Dental Association