The Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) recently issued a scam alert on their Facebook page, cautioning followers to beware of fake doctors
According to New Straits Times, all medical and dental practitioners in Malaysia have to be registered with the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) or the Malaysian Dental Council (MDC).
The police urged the public to make sure their doctors are registered with the relevant authorities and warned that fake doctors can be fined up to RM300,000, jailed for not more than six years, or both.
Ministry of Health (MOH) director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah has said fake doctors were categorised into three groups
According to Dr Noor Hisham, the categories of fake doctors include individuals who are:
- Not registered with the MMC or MDC,
- Practicing at unregistered health facilities without licence, or
- Entirely not accredited and using the title 'doctor' without a valid certificate.
He explained that there are individuals providing medical care in unregistered or unlicensed premises, and many more who are not qualified to provide healthcare but are working at private healthcare facilities.
"The third group are individuals who use the title 'doctor' to give the impression that they are medical doctors by profession with the intention to sell products or gain the customers' trust," he told Bernama.
Over the years, there have been reports of people posing as doctors and even offering low-cost dental services in hotels, which can endanger the lives of those who are being 'treated'
Malay Mail reported that in 2018, according to MOH statistics, action was taken against 28 certified doctors or licence holders for hiring unregistered doctors, while the number of cases have dropped by half last year.
Although not many, the public should be aware that if they are not given the right medical treatment, it could cause harm and endanger their life.
It did not help that there was a general high demand for quick and cheap medical or dental care
Dr Noor Hisham said many factors were believed to drive uncertified individuals to open clinics or provide health care services, especially since it proved to be a lucrative business.
He mentioned other factors including expensive cost of treatment at private health care facilities, patients not being covered by insurance, lengthy waiting times at public healthcare centres, lack of awareness of the dangers and implications of receiving treatment from untrained individuals, and believing advertisements.
The public can check the registration status of medical doctors and dentists online
You can check if your medical practitioner is registered on the MMC website.
You can also check if your dentist is registered on the MDC portal by clicking on the 'Search for Dental Practitioners' icon.
Meanwhile, Bukit Aman Criminal Investigation Department's Prosecution and Law Division principal assistant director SAC Mior Faridalathrash Wahid called on the public to report any individuals suspected of masquerading as medical doctors.
Last year, a woman suffered from getting low-cost, fake braces after hearing about a 'dentist' from Instagram: