KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Association of Orthodontists (MAO) has expressed concern over a campaign by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and members of the public, which raised funds for the court fine of a bogus dentist detained at the Sungai Udang prison here recently.
Its president, Dr Noraini Alwi, said the campaign sends the wrong message to the public, who are mostly unaware of the differences between specialist orthodontists, dentists and laypersons providing dental specialist services, such as orthodontics.
"Furthermore, a statement made by Malaysian Muslim Consumers' Association (PPIM) lead activist Datuk Nadzim Johan implies that it is acceptable for (dental services) to be carried out by anyone who is “intelligent”, as the procedures are “simple” and can be “learned from YouTube”,” she said in a statement.
On Thursday, Nur Farahanis Ezatty Adli, 20, was released from prison after serving only six days out of her six month jail term for failing to pay a court fine of RM70,000.
She was fined by the sessions court in Melaka on Sept 29 for running a private dental clinic which was not registered under Section 27 of the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act 1998.
PPIM and the Malaysia Islamic Economic Activist Organisation (PPEM), which learned of Nur Farahanis’ case through the media, decided to raise funds to help her settle the fine.
When contacted on the day Nur Farahanis was released, Nazim said the vocational college graduate “… was merely helping to fix simple braces on her friends, based on her own experience learnt from YouTube.”
But Noraini repudiates Nazim’s reasoning.
"We would like to caution the public that such is not the case,” she said, adding that fake braces will remain fake braces.
"Those who put them on are irresponsible people who, under the pretext of ‘helping friends or other Malaysians get access to such treatment’ are nothing more than people seeking commercial gain.
"If care is not taken in the diagnosis, treatment planning and case management of any orthodontic case, the patient may suffer dire consequences, such as damage to the teeth, gums and supporting bone, which may be irreversible.
"Therefore, the MAO would strongly advise the public not to be duped by such illegal practices.
"Seek a legitimate dental practitioner for your dental needs and a specialist orthodontist for your orthodontic needs,” she added.
Noraini said the public can visit the MAO’s website at www.mao.org.my for more information on orthodontics, and a listing of all specialist orthodontist members throughout the country.
The MAO has 200 members and represents 97 per cent of specialist orthodontists in the country, of which 180 are fully-qualified and accredited members; while another 20 are post-graduate members who fulfil the stringent criteria of membership.