Making matters worse was the unwarranted act of kindness shown by some non-governmental organisation and the public which went on to settle her court fine
The news came as a bombshell that a dentist wannabe chose to pull strings with the authorities to operate her private dental clinic illegally, creating a crying shame of the damning truth that nepotism, like corruption, is here to stay.
Twenty-year-old Nur Farahanis Ezatty Adli had apparently turned to the Health Ministry for help in getting her practice up and running without legal consent at Bakti Homestay in Bukit Katil, Melaka.
In an Instagram post, Nur Farahanis, who relied on YouTube for dentistry tips, had declared that she had received support from Deputy Health Minister Dr Hilmi Yahya, claiming that her “business” was approved and granted to her by the Health Ministry.
She also expressed her gratitude to both Hilmi and his private secretary Aziaan Ariffin.
The instagram post has since been removed while Nur Farahanis was on Sept 29 fined RM70,000 by the Sessions Court in Melaka for running a private dental clinic which was not registered under Section 27 of the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act 1998.
Despite covertly flouting the law, she spent only six days instead of her six-month jail term for failing to pay the fine.
That the Health Ministry had a hand in allowing a bogus dentist to set up practice is disturbing enough.
Making matters worse was the unwarranted act of kindness shown by some non-governmental organisation and the public which went on to settle her court fine.
The New Straits Times on Oct 10 reported that the Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia (PPIM) and Malaysia Islamic Economic Activist Organisation (PPEIM), which read of Nur Farahanis’ plight in the media, passed the hat around to help settle the fine.
PPIM, however, denied having engaged in any fundraising for Nur Farahanis, saying it was PPEIM which had aided in raising money for the court fine.
Was Dr Hilmi “abetting” a bogus dentist?
Likewise, Hilimi too promptly denied any involvement in the Nur Farahanis case, including that he had helped fund the fine payment.
Hilmi whilst pointing out that he had neither met nor spoken with the bogus dentist, did say that he had come to know of her situation from a friend.
“One of my friends brought her case before me asking me if I, as a member of parliament, could provide some assistance to her.
“Even though I am a member of parliament of the Balik Pulau constituency, it was my duty to help people all over the nation, so I checked with the ministry if there was space to merely compound the woman as it was her first offence.
“However, I was told there was no space for such an action and that the woman would have to be taken to court.
“I left it at that and was not involved in her situation further,” he supposedly came clean to reporters on Monday.
Still, was Hilmi not perturbed that Nur Farahanis, a vocational college graduate, had the audacity to operate her “business” illegally?
Perhaps not, given that the Balik Pulau MP took the trouble to check with the Health Ministry if a compound would do the trick for the bogus dentist as it was her “first offence”.
Supporting a crime
Just what was Hilmi thinking when he was hoping that the ministry would look the other way as it was Nur Farahanis’ “first offence”?
Was this so-called “first offence” not a serious issue to Hilmi? Did the deputy minister not realise that had the ministry agreed to a compound, it would have led to a precedence, that too for all the wrong reasons?
That this young woman had the guts to breach the law and offer her unqualified dental services is a crime and not a trifling issue. A shame that Hilmi refused to stand his ground and demand that the law take its course to send home the message to the likes of Nur Farahanis that the authority abhorred any form of abuse, both the law and power.
It was only when his compound request was rejected and Hilmi informed that the matter now rested with the court did the deputy minister back down.
In clarification, Hilmi said that both he and the Health Ministry did not support any individuals practising dentistry without a licence.
“We have never supported illegal dentistry, which is a crime in Malaysia.
“In fact, because of the negative impact on the people, stern action should be taken against individuals practising illegal dentistry, which is rampant these days,” the deputy minister exhorted.
Hilmi said that since 2015 to 2017, a total of 68 formal complaints about illegal dentistry had been lodged with a total of 41 cases linked to fake braces.
“In the same time period, 15 offenders were taken to court and found guilty, of which five of the accused were jailed for failing to pay the fine.”
Nepotism is here to stay
He said that these new cases were charged under Section 4(1) of the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act 1998, which carries a RM300,000 fine, or jail of up to six years or both.
However, despite there being a maximum fine of RM300,000, only one case in Johor was slapped with it in default three months’ jail.
“There were two cases in Pahang and Kedah, which were fined RM250,000 in default five months’ jail and 12 months’ jail respectively.
“All of the accused were handed maximum or high fines in 2017 and all were jailed for failing to pay the fine,” Hilmi had said.
Clearly, illegal dentistry has become a headache for the Health Ministry. And yet Hilmi, out of ‘goodwill’, decided it was no harm “abetting” and coming to the rescue of a bogus dentist who was in actual fact committing a crime.
Nepotism it appears is not a big deal to the deputy health minister. The statistics mouthed by Hilmi aside, the million dollar question then is, why is the Health Ministry not practising what it preaches?