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Table of Contents
REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 66-68

Traditional Chinese Medicine in Malaysia: A Brief Historical Overview of the Associations


1 International Education College, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, China; Department of Chinese Medicine, Centre for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, International Medical University, Malaysia
2 International Education College, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, China

Date of Web Publication19-Jun-2019

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Jun Liu
Department of Golden Cabinet, College of Basic Medical Sciences, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 1200, Cailun Road, Zhangjiang High-tech Park, Pudong New District, Shanghai
China
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/CMAC.CMAC_20_19

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  Abstract 


The increasing number of TCM practitioners and herbal suppliers, both of which accelerated by the formation of various TCM institutions, substantiated the creation of regional traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) associations in post-World War II Malaya. In response to the restrictions and levies imposed by the British colonial government, these regional associations united and formed a national organisation now known as the Federation of Chinese Physicians and Medicine Dealers Association of Malaya (FCPMDAM). The current designated TCM practitioner body, the Malaysian Chinese Medical Association (MCMA) were also originally established to nurture local talents in the face of import restrictions. Owing to difference with MCMA, a separate association named the Federation of Chinese Physicians and Acupuncturists Associations of Malaysia (FCPAAM) was setup in 2003 to absorb self-studied and patrimonial-educated TCM practitioners.

Keywords: Association, development, history, Malaysia, traditional Chinese medicine


How to cite this article:
Wong HF, Ng SC, Tan WT, Wang H, Lin X, Goh SW, Hoo BL, Chai CE, Liu J. Traditional Chinese Medicine in Malaysia: A Brief Historical Overview of the Associations. Chin Med Cult 2019;2:66-8

How to cite this URL:
Wong HF, Ng SC, Tan WT, Wang H, Lin X, Goh SW, Hoo BL, Chai CE, Liu J. Traditional Chinese Medicine in Malaysia: A Brief Historical Overview of the Associations. Chin Med Cult [serial online] 2019 [cited 2019 Sep 22];2:66-8. Available from: http://www.cmaconweb.org/text.asp?2019/2/2/66/260706





This article is the continuation of a previously published article in issue 1 of the Chinese Medicine and Culture 2019. The previous article examined the development of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) institutions in the Malay Peninsula. Chinese medical halls were the first setup to supply herbs to the Chinese immigrants. As the Chinese communities continued to grow, charitable TCM institutions were then established to provide TCM consultation and treatments. The shift from Chinese medical hall to charitable institution demonstrates that the needs of affordable medical services for the community are met through concerted community efforts. It also marks the beginning of professional TCM services in Malaya.

The following discussion aims to provide a brief overview on the development of TCM associations in the pre-colonial and post-independent Malaysia.


  Associations of Traditional Chinese Medicine Top


The mushrooming institutions for the practice of TCM incubated the establishment of TCM associations. Back in the 17th–18th century, owing to few TCM practitioners, there was no need for setting up an association. However, the idea of setting up TCM associations came to spring when more TCM practitioners and herbal suppliers set their feet on Malaya at the turn of 19th century. There were various associations established in the British Colonial Malaya. The earliest known TCM association was the Muar Chinese Medicine Institute (麻坡中医研究所) in 1924.[1] Each state and the three Straits Settlements subsequently followed suit in establishing their own TCM regional associations post-World War II. Some of the examples were the Singapore Chinese Medical Society (新加坡中医师公会) which was established in 1946 [Figure 1], but renamed as the Singapore Chinese Physicians' Association in the subsequent year, the Chinese Physicians Association of Perak (霹雳中医师公会) established in 1947, and the Chinese Physicians' Association of Central Malaya (中马中医师公会) established in 1948 (renamed as the Malaysian Chinese Medical Association [MCMA] in 1989).[2],[3] These early regional associations were set up mainly with the objectives of forming a support network within local TCM community and propagating TCM.[4] However, they would sometimes care for the benefits of their individual members only. This has occasionally resulted in discoordination and even conflict among the associations.[5]
Figure 1: Singapore Chinese Physicians' Association in 1956

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In 1952, the Immigration Ordinance 1952 was imposed by the British Colonial Malaya government to tighten border controls.[6],[7] The control restricted the importation of TCM practitioners from China. Further in 1954, the government imposed up to 25% of import excise on Chinese medicine. TCM practitioners in the whole country, including both the then Malaysia and Singapore, believed that not only would it increase the burden of patients but it would also hamper the development of TCM in Malaya. In light of the above issues, the Chinese Medicine Dealers Association of Kuala Lumpur and Selangor (雪隆华人药业公会) invited all regional TCM associations to discuss the above issues. During the meeting an agreement was made to focus on nurturing home-grown TCM practitioners instead of relying on importing TCM practitioners from China. It was also during this inaugural meeting that the idea of a national organization was born. On January 20, 1955, the Federation of Malayan Chinese Medicine (马来亚华人医药总会) was formed.[8] All TCM associations in the British Colonial Malaya were united.

In 1956, after years of lobbying and petitions, the excise duty for all Chinese medicines except ginseng was finally abolished. In 1963, the Federation was renamed as the Federation of Chinese Physicians and Medicine Dealers Association of Malaysia (FCPMDAM, 马来西亚华人医药总会) [Figure 2] in conjunction with the independence of Malaysia. Although Singapore was separated from Malaysia 2 years later, both associations in the two countries would continue to work together for the greater good of the TCM community. These collaborations between Malaysia and Singapore unfortunately came to an end in 1973 when the Registry of Societies Malaysia stipulated that only Malaysian be allowed to join member and form society.[9] Nevertheless, FCPMDAM continued striving to improve and propagate TCM in Malaysia through organizing and collaborating in various academic activities. Some of the examples included establishing the first TCM education institute in 1955, co-organizing the first Malaysia Chinese Medicine Symposium (马来西亚中医药学术研讨会) in 1984 and hosting the 2nd, 5th, 9th and 11th ASEAN Congress of TCM (亚细安中医药学术大会). Currently, there are a total of 43 member associations and more than 1900 member TCM practitioners under the umbrella of FCPMDAM.[8],[10]
Figure 2: Logo of the Federation of Chinese Physicians and Medicine Dealers Association of Malaysia

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The MCMA (马来西亚中医总会) was a merger of the Chinese Physicians' Association of Central Malaya and the Selangor Chinese Medicine Association (雪兰莪中国医学会). Back in 1945, a group of TCM practitioners who practiced in the Klang Valley including Liew Pui Yee (廖沛如) and Professor Ngeow Sze Chan (饶师泉教授) realized that it was important to engage with the public in promoting the studies of TCM. Otherwise, TCM would soon be a history of the past. The threat later became real when the immigration restriction on TCM practitioners from China was imposed in 1952. With this in mind, they united and formed the Selangor Chinese Medicine Association. The Chinese Physicians' Association of Central Malaya, however, was formed later in 1948. Its inception was related to a fundraising campaign for floods in Fujian and Guangdong. During the campaign, the concept of having an association to unite all TCM practitioners within the central region of Malaya was well received by the donors and within 1 month, the Chinese Physicians' Association of Central Malaya had its inaugural general meeting. Due to overlapping functions and members in the two associations, members from the Selangor Chinese Medicine Association agreed to merge with the Chinese Physicians' Association of Central Malaya in 1953. To better perform its mission in promoting professional TCM education and practice for the whole Malaysia, the association was renamed as MCMA [Figure 3] in 1988.[11] MCMA hosted the International Conference of World Federation of Acupuncture and Moxibustion Societies in 2006 and had also set up a Historical Museum on Malaysia's TCM Development in 2016.[12] It is currently the designated TCM practitioner body approved by the Ministry of Health.[10]
Figure 3: Logo of Malaysian Chinese Medical Association

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In 2001, owing to disagreement with MCMA on forbidding self-studied and patrimonial-educated practitioners to register as members, a small group of practitioners established a separate association named the Federation of Chinese Physicians and Acupuncturists Associations of Selangor and Kuala Lumpur (雪隆中医师暨针灸联合总会). In 2003, it was renamed as the Federation of Chinese Physicians and Acupuncturists Associations of Malaysia (马来西亚中医师暨针灸联合总会) with its head office located in Kuala Lumpur.[13] Whether the TCM practitioners are formally educated, patrimonial-educated, or self-studied, to date, the majority of them work in the private sector. Some of them continue to work in Chinese medical halls. Some would become contractors for a few companies which offer TCM treatment in their retail chain centers. Some would even become entrepreneurs by opening their own centers. A few TCM graduates work in the recently established Traditional and Complementary Medicine units in public hospitals.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
Wang YX. Chronicle of traditional Chinese medicine in Malaysia's history. J Tianjin Univ Tradit Chin Med 2002;21:55-7. Available from: http://www.tjzhongyiyao.com/tjzyydxxb/ch/reader/create_pdf.aspx?file_no=20020342&year_id=2002&quarter_id=3&falg=1. [Last accessed on 2019 Jan 17].  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Singapore Chinese Physicians' Association. History of the Singapore Chinese Physicians' Association. Singapore: Singapore Chinese Physicians' Association; 2011. Available from: http://www.singaporetcm.com/a/gonghui/2011/0419/145.html. [Last accessed on 2019 Jan 17].  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Heng KF. Brief History of Perak Choong Wah Clinic. Ipoh: Perak Choong Wah Clinic; 2016. Available from: http://www.perakchoongwahclinic.org.my/history/brief_history. [Last accessed on 2019 Jan 17].  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Singapore Chinese Physicians' Association. The History of the Singapore Chinese Physicians' Association. Singapore: Singapore Chinese Physicians' Association; 2011. Available from: http://www.en.singaporetcm.com/a/gonghui/2011/1208/402.html. [Last accessed on 2019 Jan 17].  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Federation of Chinese Physicians and Medicine Dealers Associations of Malaysia. History of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur. Available from: https://www.fcpmdam.com/?page_id=1222. [Last accessed on 2019 Jan 17].  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Immigration Department. History of Department of Immigration. Putrajaya: Ministry of Home Affairs; 2016. Available from: http://www.imi.gov.my/index.php/en/history-of-department-of-immigration.html. [Last accessed on 2018 Apr 24].  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Kaur A. Labour crossings in Southeast Asia: Linking historical and contemporary labour migration. N Z J Asian Stud 2009;11:276-303. Available from: http://www.nzasia.org.nz/downloads/NZJAS-June09/21_Amarjit_5.pdf. [Last accessed on 2018 Apr 24].  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Federation of Chinese Physicians and Medicine Dealers Associations of Malaysia. History of FCPMDAM. Kuala Lumpur. Available from: https://www.fcpmdam.com/?page_id=685. [Last accessed on 2019 Jan 17].  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.
Commissioner of Law Revision. Societies Act, 1966. Kuala Lumpur: Percetakan National Malaysia; 1966. Available from: http://www.mercy.org.my/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Societies-Act-1966.pdf. [Last accessed on 2018 Apr 24].  Back to cited text no. 9
    
10.
Malaysian Chinese Medical Association. Historical Museum of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian Chinese Medical Association; 2016.  Back to cited text no. 10
    
11.
Malaysian Chinese Medical Association. Brief History of MCMA. Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian Chinese Medical Association; 2014. Available from: http://www.mcma.com.my/mcma-history.php. [Last accessed on 2018 Apr 24].  Back to cited text no. 11
    
12.
Sin Chew Daily. Promoting TCM to a Wider Public with the Inauguration of theFirst TCM Historical Museum. Petaling Jaya: Sin Chew Media Corporation; 2016. Available from: http://www.sinchew.com.my/node/1565899. [Last accessed on 2019 Jan 17].  Back to cited text no. 12
    
13.
Federation of Chinese Physicians and Acupuncturists Associations Malaysia. Profile of FCPAAM. Kuala Lumpur: Federation of Chinese Physicians and Acupuncturists Associations Malaysia; 2005. Available from: http://www.fcpaam.org.my/about-us/profile/. [Last accessed on 2019 Jan 17].  Back to cited text no. 13
    


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