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Malaysia's TM/CAM System


  • Traditional Malay medicine (TMM), traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and traditional Indian medicine (TIM), homeopathy and other complementary systems are among the biggest modalities being practiced.
  • In 2004, the Malaysian Ministry of Health conducted a study on the utilization of traditional and complementary medicine (T&CM) in local population. The survey showed that 55.6% of Malaysians have ever used any kind of T&CM in their lifetime was 69.4% (67.6% - 71.2%).[1] In the past 12 months prior to the study, the prevalence was 55.6% (53.8% - 57.4%).[2] The table below indicated that a big percentage of the population surveyed was using biologically-based therapy for health problem.
T&CM Categories % of sample population citing usage of T/CM for health problems
Biologically-based therapy (e.g. herbs, vitamins supplement) 88.9
Manipulative & body-based (e.g. massage, reflexology, chiropractic) 27.0
Mind-body medicine (e.g. hypnosis, prayer, meditation, yoga, taichi) 11.1
Whole medical system (e.g. acupuncture, ayurveda, homeopathy, Chinese medicine) 1.9

Table 1: Utilization of T&CM by the Malaysian population based on categories


Official Body

Traditional and Complementary Medicine Division (T&CM Division)



Traditional & Complementary Medicine Division
Ministry of Health
Block E
Jalan Cenderasari
50590 Kuala Lumpur

Contact No: +603 2698 5077
Fax No      : +603 2691 1259
Email        : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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Website    :

Main therapies

There are 5 practitioner bodies that represent each major T&CM modalities in Malaysia. The roles of these bodies are to assist the T&CM Division on:

  1. Registration and self-regulation of T&CM practitioners through the compliance of standard codes of practices and conduct of identified modalities.
  2. Development of training curriculum and establishment of training centres.
  3. Various activities organized by society or organisation related to T&CM.
  4. Development of database for practitioners, clients and other bodies which are related to T&CM.
  5. Improvement of technical cooperation and strategic alliance within government agencies and private sectors in T&CM.
  6. Investigation of complaints against practice, premises and advertisement.
  7. Promotion of T&CM health tourism.


Figure 1 : 8 Professional Bodies assigned by Ministry of Health, Malaysia.

Policy & Regulations

The Malaysian Government is gradually and consistently working on regulating and controlling T/CM through policies, acts and guidelines in order to ensure its safety and effectiveness.


  • The Malaysia's National Policy[3] on Traditional and Complementary Medicine was launched in 2001.
  • The vision of the policy: "Integration of Traditional and Complementary Medicine (T&CM) into the Malaysian Healthcare System".
  • The mission is to "ensure quality and safe use of T&CM practices and products to attain optimal potential in healthcare delivery".
  • The Policy Statements are:
  1. Promotion of proper T&CM practice in accordance with standard ethics particularly in the primary healthcare delivery system.
  2. Establishment of appropriate education and training of T&CM practitioners
  3. Adherence to acceptable standards of safety and quality for products and practice
  4. Facilitation of the development of responsible advertisement with relevant agencies
  5. Establishment of strong research and development activities in T&CM.
  6. Promotion and advocacy of T&CM
  7. Facilitation of the development and protection of intellectual property rights related to T&CM knowledge, culture and biological resources.
  8. Conservations of plants and animals for progress of T&CM development with participation of all relevant agencies
  9. Enhancement of international technical co-operation and exchanges relevant to T&CM.


  • The T&CM Division was developed  4 guidelines for modalities introduced at T&CM Unit:
    • T&CM Practice Guidelines on Acupuncture (2008)
    • T&CM Practice Guidelines on Malay Massage (2008)
    • T&CM Practice Guidelines on Malay Postnatal Care (2009)
    • T&CM Practice Guidelines on Herbal Therapy as an Adjunct Treatment for Cancer (2009)
  • The T&CM Division was developed 2 guideline for practitioner:
    • Good Practice Guideline on Acupuncture (2010)
    • Good Practice Guideline on Malay massage (2010)
  • In the effort of integrating the T&CM into the national healthcare system, the Ministry is formulating the T&CM Bill.
  • Acts related to T&CM Products:
    • Control of Drug and Cosmetic Regulation, 1984
    • Poison Act 1952,
    • Sale of Drug Act 1952,
    • Advertisement and Sale Act 1956
    • Protection of Wild Life 1972

Overview of T&CM Control in Malaysia

  • In summary, Malaysia concentrates on 4 main areas of T&CM i.e. product, practices, training and research.


Table 2: The controlling body for specific areas within the Ministry of Health Malaysia.[4]


Untill 2010, eight (8) government hospitals have been incorporate several modalities in the day to day service.[5] In the meantime, these T&CM units offered only Malay traditional Massage, Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine.[6]

  • Kepala Batas Hospital, Pulau Pinang [2007]
  • Putarajaya Hospital, Wilayah Persekutuan Putrajaya [2008]
  • Sultan Ismail Hospital, Johor Bahru [2008]
  • Duchess of Kent, Sabah [2009]
  • Sultanah Nur Zahirah Hospital, Kuala Terengganu [2009]
  • Sarawak General Hospital [2010]
  • Port Dickson Hospital, Seremban [2010]
  • Sultanah Bahiyah Hospital, Alor Setar, Kedah [2010]
For the moment in the private sector, there are only three (3) hospitals that practices parallel integrated medicine namely for Traditional Chinese Medicine. The hospitals are Putra Hospital in Malacca, Tung Shin Hospital in Kuala Lumpur and Lam Wah Ee Hospital in Penang.

Insurance coverage

Currently, there is no insurance coverage for any T&CM modalities in Malaysia.

Research Institute/s

The National Committee for R&D in Herbal Medicines was set up in 2001 to develop, monitor and coordinate strategic master plan for research and development of herbal medicine in Malaysia. The committee has published 4 guidelines:

  • Guidelines for levels and kinds of evidence to support claims for therapeutic products
  • Guidelines for the clinical evaluation of T&CM interventions
  • Guide to Intellectual Property Rights Management
  • Guidelines for standardization of herbal medicinal products

Among the important research institutes are:

  • The National Institutes of Health namely the Institute for Medical Research (IMR), National Institute for Natural Products and Vaccinology, Institute for Health System Research
  • Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM)
  • Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI)
  • The universities e.g. University Malaya, University Science of Malaysia (USM), University Putra Malaysia (UPM), The National University of Malaysia and others

Training & Education

At present, Malaysia is establishing the education program in T&CM together with the Ministry of Higher Education. It has been established that such courses have to be registered with the ‘Jabatan Pendidikan Negara’ (National Education Division) and the program need to be approved by Malaysian Qualification Agency (MQA). Subsequent to Workshop on Development of Standards and Criteria organized by T&CM Division, they successfully form 13 T&CM programmes for both diploma and degree levels (Table 2).

The development of standard and criteria is prioritized based on practices which have industrial demand and sufficient documentation of their effectiveness. Some of the objectives of the workshop include a preview of the qualities required to meet the standard and criteria in order to fulfill the format set by the ‘Bahagian Jaminan Kualiti’ (Quality Assurance Division) and ‘Jabatan Pengajian Tinggi’ (Department of Higher Learning) to certify higher-level learning; to obtain consensus to develop syllabus for T&CM learning fields, to ensure that the T&CM learning programs are of international standards.  

Bil Practice Diploma Level Degree Level
1 Acupuncture X X
2 Natural Medicine X X
3 Chiropractic - X
4 Homeopathy - X
5 Traditional Chinese Medicine - X
6 Reflexology X -
7 Malay Massage X -
8 Aromatherapy X -
9 Malay Medicine - X
10 Islamic Medicine X -
11 Apothecary Sciences - X

Table 3: Workshops on the Development of Standard and Criteria for 13 T/CM Programmes at both diploma and degree levels, organised by the T&CM Division in collaboration with the National Accreditation Board.[7]

For the moment, there are 6 courses approved by MQA :








Diploma in Natural Medicine

College of Complementary Medicine, Melaka


Bachelor of Traditional Chinese Medicine (Hons)

Kolej Univesiti Antarabangsa INTI, Nilai


Sarjana Muda Sains Perubatan Homeopati (Kepujian) (Bachelor of Homeopathic Medical Sciences (Hons)

Kolej Universiti Sains Perubatan Cyberjaya (CUCMS), Cyberjaya


Diploma in Traditional Chinese Medicine

Universiti Pengurusan Dan Sains (MSU), Shah Alam


Bachelor in Traditional Chinese Medicine (Hons)

Universiti Pengurusan Dan Sains (MSU), Shah Alam


Bachelor of Science (Honours) Chiropractic

Universiti Perubatan Antarabangsa (IMU), Bukit Jalil

Table 3: Courses approved by MQA.

The T&CM Division has been conducting a series of introductory lectures to both the allopathic (including MOH staffs) and T&CM practitioners. The former offers a peek into the various T&CM modalities available, their principles and benefits during a series of monthly short seminars after which the attendees are awarded Continuous Medical Education (CME) points. In order to ensure T&CM practitioners go through a proper education and training, T&CM Division conducted siries of Anatomy and Physiology Courses.[7] In addition, T&CM Division senior officers have been visiting major hospitals nationwide as guest speakers to give preview of the Goverment’s policies pertaining to T&CM in the country.



  1. Siti Zuraidah Mahmud, Ami Fazlin Syed Mohamed, Tahir Aris et al. Prevalence of traditional and complementary medicine utilization by the Malaysian population. Journal of Health Management. 2006. Suppl:32.
  2. Tahir Aris, Azman A.H., Sondi S., Zakiah Ismail et. al. The utilisation of traditional & complementary medicine in the Malaysian population – a community based survey. Journal of Health Management. 2006. Suppl.:76.
  3. Ministry of Health Malaysia. National Policy of Traditional and Complementary Medicine. 2nd Revision. 2007.
  4. Jaafar Lassa. Traditional & Complementary Medicine in Malaysia. Presentation at 2006 Governmental Forum on Traditional Medicine (2006GFTRM). Beijing, 2006.
  5. T&CM Division. Ministry of Health. [Online]. Available from: [Accessed 5th Jan 2011]
  6. Mahani, M. Integrated Hospital & T&CM Unit.Buletin BPTK@KKM. 2009 Jan – Jun;05(26) 
  7. Traditional and Complementary Medicine Division, MOH. Bulletin BPTK@KKM. 2008; 4