Malaysia: Traditional and Complementary Medicine Act 2013 (Act 756)

  • General Information

The safety and efficacy of traditional remedies and practices have become a cause of concern for both health authorities and the public [1] [2]. In view of this, the health care system in Malaysia has undergone some changes to bring Traditional & Complementary Medicine (T&CM) into the mainstream system while ensuring safety to the public. [1].

The Traditional and Complementary Medicine Division (T&CMD), Ministry of Health, Malaysia is the regulatory body responsible for overseeing the practice of T&CM in Malaysia. The task of this division is to ensure that T&CM practice in Malaysia is safe and conforms to acceptable standards for the benefit of the public [3]. Currently there are six practice areas that are recognised in Malaysia namely traditional Malay medicine, traditional Chinese medicine, traditional Indian medicine, homeopathy, complementary therapies as well as Islamic medical practice [3][4]. 

In February 2013, the Traditional and Complementary Medicine Act (Act 756) was gazetted. When the Act is enforced, this legislation will provide a solid foundation for the regulation of T&CM practices, the foremost being the registration of practitioners. [4][5]. In addition, this Act provides for the establishment of the Traditional and Complementary Medicine Council, which will serve as the highest authority regarding T&CM practice in Malaysia. The functions of this Council are as follow:

  1. to advise the Minister on matters of national policy relating to T&CM practice;
  2. to establish the eligibility requirements for each practice area;
  3. to recognise qualifications conferred by any institutions of higher learning established under any written law in Malaysia or any institutions of higher learning recognised and authorised by any countries outside Malaysia for the purpose of registration under this Act;
  4. to specify the appropriate academic qualifications or recognised skills certificate issued
  5. to specify the necessary apprenticeship and training required;
  6. to register individuals who will provide T&CM services to the public;
  7. to issue practising certificates to registered practitioners;
  8. to develop codes of professional conduct, rules relating to the professional conduct of registered practitioners;
  9. to develop, undertake, prescribe and mandate any matter relating to or connected with the practice of T&CM or the professionalism of such practice;
  10. to specify, provide for and administer a complaints procedure and process;
  11. to develop rules upon which registered practitioners are to refer their patients to medical practitioners or dental practitioners, as the case may be;
  12. to obtain such relevant information from practitioners, and to provide the same to the Minister;
  13. to carry out such functions as ay be specified by this Act; and
  14. to carry out all such other activities as may be directed by the Minister and such direction shall be consistent with the purposes of this Act [5].

The requirement of registration of T&CM practitioners is also emphasised in this Act. A person intending to practise T&CM in any recognised practice area shall apply to the Council to be provisionally registered as a practitioner. A provisionally registered practitioner shall undergo a period of residency of not less than one year with any hospital or institution in Malaysia which is approved by the Council to enable him to be registered as a practitioner. When he is registered, he shall make an application for a practising certificate in the prescribed form and pay the prescribed fee to the Registrar. The practising certificate shall be displayed at the registered practitioner’s place of practice. Any person who commits an offence under this Act shall be liable to a fine not exceeding RM30, 000 (thirty thousand ringgit) or imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or both, in respect of a first offence. The person may not apply to be registered until the expiry of a period of two years from the date of conviction [5]. As set forth in the Act, the obligations and duties of registered practitioners are summarised as below:

  1. use of titles and abbreviations;
  2. duty to refer patient to medical or dental practitioner;
  3. duty to report any epidemic or other localised outbreaks of diseases etc., to the Registrar;
  4. use of medical device;
  5. advertisement and promotion;
  6. registered practitioners may incorporate his practice into a company with limited liability, practice as a company or enter into a partnership
  7. mandatory practice standards in governance and practice codes [5][6].

Thus, it is hoped that T&CM will become a regulated profession and continue to develop within a safe and controlled environment to ensure public safety. The establishment of this Act creates public confidence by allowing them to check on the practitioner's registration status, and encourages practitioners to upgrade their knowledge and skills as necessary.

  • Contact Details

Traditional & Complementary Medicine Division
Ministry of Health Malaysia, Jalan Cenderasari,
50590 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: +603 2698 5077/ 2279 8100
Fax: +603 2691 1259
Website: http://tcm.moh.gov.my

References

  1. Traditional and Complementary Medicine Division, Ministry of Health Malaysia. A handbook of traditional and complementary medicine programme in Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia): Ministry of Health Malaysia; 2011
  2. World Health Organization. National Policy on Traditional Medicine and Regulation of Herbal Medicines: Report of WHO Global Survey. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2005.
  3. Traditional and Complementary Medicine Division, Ministry of Health Malaysia. Last accessed on 9 January 2013 at http://tcm.moh.gov.my/v4/
  4. Bernama. Integrating Siddha medicine in Malaysian primary healthcare. New Strait Times.2013 November 28; Sect. Latest news. Last accessed on 28 November 2013 at http://www.nst.com.my/latest/intergrating-siddha-medicine-in-malaysian-primary-healthcare-1.415065#ixzz2mHODmasy
  5. Laws of Malaysia. Traditional and Complementary Medicine Act 2013 (Act 756). Last accessed on 26 November 2013 at http://www.lawnet.com.my/lawnetpublic/Members/tabid/53/ctl/SubDocumentDetails/mid/369/Default.aspx?DocumentID=76832
  6. Puvanandran D. Taklimat Akta Perubatan Tradisional dan Komplementari 2013 (Akta 756). Presented at: Jerayawara (Roadshow) Perubatan Tradisional dan Komplementari. Traditional and Complementary Medicine Division, Ministry of Health Malaysia; 2013. Last accessed on 8 January 2013 at http://tcm.moh.gov.my/v4/bmelayu/modules/mastop_publish/?tac=120