History of MMA


The Early Years

Chapter 1

On November 9th 1958, a group of doctors from Malaya and Singapore, led by Dr S.G. Rajahram, Dr B.R. Sreenevasan and Prof. A.A. Sandosham, leaders of the Alumni Association, met at the Institute for Medical Research at Jalan Pahang, Kuala Lumpur. Since Malaya and Singapore had just achieved independence, optimism and enthusiasm was in the air to establish the start of something great. At the meeting they discussed the rapid political developments sweeping through Malaya and Singapore, the current situation for local medical doctors, and its future. At this meeting, the idea for Malayan Medical Association was born.

Dr Ronald McCoy, one of the original members in the committee, says: “We had meetings either at the Institute of Medical Research (IMR) or in our homes. It was a very informal kind of set-up. We were only just learning to handle not just medical affairs, but also national affairs with independence.”

Back during British rule, Malayan residents who wanted to become doctors had to attend King Edward VII College of Medicine in Singapore, which the British Government had established in 1905. They graduated with a Licentiate of Graduating doctors were represented by the King Edward’s Alumni Association, which was formed in 1923. It was noted as a “powerful medico-political organisation both in Singapore and Peninsular Malaya.”

In those days, expatriate doctors were represented by the Straits Medical Association, which was established in 1890. In 1892, the association was admitted as a branch of the British Medical Association (BMA} and became known as the Malaya Branch of the BMA.

In the 1950s, rapid political developments swept through Malaya and Singapore and the medical associations had to adapt to the changes. The Malayan Medical Association (MMA) was established to take over the functions of the Malayan Branch of the British Medical Association following its dissolution in Malaya. It also took over the professional functions of the Alumni Association of the
King Edward VII College of Medicine and Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya. The Alumni Association was relegated to a social and recreational role as an ‘old boys club’ and continues to be active in organising annual reunions.


The Foundation Years

Chapter 2

The 1970s was a fruitful and active decade for the MMA, as the Association consolidated its objectives and became deeply involved in its rate within the medical profession and in the community. The MMA was also heavily involved in the process of formulating the country’s medical foundations, presenting a strong front for doctors in the country. MMA’s representation on the Medical Council was increased by the 1970s. This was largely brought about by the effort of President Datuk Dr R.P. Pillay and Dr S.G. Rajahram, and meant a greater say for the MMA in matters relating to the field of medical practice in the country.
Over the years, various amendments were made to the Constitution. In the 1970s, an important amendment was the provision for Council to expel any member found guilty of conduct or action detrimental to the profession or the Association. MMA President in 1971, Datuk Dr V. Thuralsingham notes, “MMA was there to guide members and encourage doctors to stay within the lines. There were several occurrences where doctors had acted unethically but we quickly approached them and advised them otherwise. We came close to excluding a few members but eventually never did.”

In order to avoid arbitrary or wrongful expulsion. a clause was added to the Constitution to make it compulsory for Council to conduct an inquiry, at which the member involved shall be given the opportunity to exonerate himself.

The number of representatives sitting on Council was also increased for the branches with a bigger membership to allow up to a maximum of six representatives. The method of selecting Presidents
was by referendum. The majority of members preferred that the President be nominated by a Branch in
rotation but ona regional basis, that is once every three years.

The 70s was a period for expansion and consolidation.
The Northern, Southern and Central Branches were


The Silver Jubilee

Chapter 3

In the early 1980s, MMA membership experienced a growth spurt, with a substantial increase in members. By 1987, MMA membership comprised 82% of the total number of registered medical practitioners.

With the growth and expansion of the Association, it was starting to outstrip the Constitution with respect to many procedural matters. Many resolutions by the various Councils were adopted as ‘unwritten laws’ but not incorporated in any standing orders. It was felt that separate bylaws and standing orders of the Association apart from the Constitution should be established, and a Sub-committee was formed to formulate these.

It was also decided that there would be a Federal System for the MMA, with individual branches at all state levels. In 1984, the MMA consisted of 13 Branches and representation on Council was one member per Branch thus streamlining activities and administration of the Association. This was later revised to a second member for Branches with more than 500 members. It was hoped that with the new system, the activities of the Association at grassroots level would improve for the benefit of members and the community.


Going Interactive

Chapter 4

MMA continues to make important contributions to major health issues, especially with regards to the changing trends in the health care delivery in Malaysia. As MMA turned 30 years old in October 1990, it was celebrated at the 30th AGM held in Selangor on a grand scale. For the next 10 years. it was to be a decade of major pressing issues such as the threats of AIDS and the possibility of a nuclear war, as well as the development of information technology and its impact on the medical profession. By 1998, MMA established its online presence as the MMA homepage was launched by the Director General of Health.

In conjunction with its 30th year, the Public Health Education Committee of MMA organised a Health
Exhibtion at Subang Parade from 12th-14th March 1990. It was an educational forum for the public on primary health care and organisations like the Ministry of Health, University Hospital, UKM and the National Cancer Society particlpated in the exhibition.

The theme of the exhibition was ‘Prevention is better than Cure’ and the objective was to create public awareness on the importance of preventing diseases and educating them on the ways in which that can be achived. The exhibition

As the AIDS issue continues in the 1990s, s0 too does MMA efforts to educate and create awareness. MMA set up a Committee on AIDS chaired by President Dato’ Dr N. Subramaniam. The Committee conducted a seminar on AIDS for journalists and also organised public health exhibitions on AIDS through the MMA Branches.

Various workshops and seminars were conducted for doctors and health workers. as well as talks and video presentations in secondary schools and public forums. A public forum was organised in conjunction with Dewan Bandaraya on 4th December 1991, attracting a large turnout of over 250 people. Speakers included Dr Jit Singh of the Ministry of Health, a medical and a legal expert and a
social warker from Australia. The Committee also had other activities like AIDS Counselling workshops, AIDS telephone counselling service and knowledge. attitude and practice studies on AIDS among secondary school children.

Among its other community projects was the Hepatitis B immunisation programme campaign, In its campaign against Hepatitis B, immunisation at birth was carried out by the Government as well as private hospitals, nursing homes and Government midwives for home delivery. In order to ensure a more complete coverage with the second and


MMA in Modern Malaysia

Chapter 5 (2000 - Present Day)

Into the new millenium, and MMA has been steadily growing. Over the years, the Association saw further growth and consolidation in its operations and activities. Apart from its financial and structure improvements, there have been significant growth in activities and expansion into new areas in the health sector. It was also an eventful and challenging decade for the MMA as it faced many controversial and critical issues that had to be solved.

MMA continued to play an effective role in voicing the concerns of the doctors as the premier organisation for the medical profession in Malaysia. Dato’ Or N. Arumugam, MMA President for the term 2003/2005 says: “If anyone wants to ask for an opinion, on anything about medicine, other than Government, I think MMA is the representative.”

MMA’s role is not only the protection of the rights of doctors. but also to protect the patients. We believe the patients should get a good deal. At the same time, doctors should get good working conditions so they can provide good service.We are also advocate for patients too. A satisfied, cured patient is our best reference for good medicine.”

For the first time in MMA’s history, representatives from the MMA had an audience with His Majesty Seri Paduka Baginda Yang Dipertuan Agong XII Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Ibni Al-Marhum Tuanku Syed Putra Jamalullail, the King of Malaysia on 19th February 2003. His Majesty was briefed on the membership strength of the MMA, the principles and aims of the Association, the roles of SCHOMOS and PPSMMA, the 28 Committees and the five Societies under the MMA. His Majesty graciously attended the 43rd MMA AGM Annual Banquet held on 23rd May 2003.

On 25th July 2004, MMA held its inaugural MMA Golf Tournament at the Palm Garden Golf Club, IOI Resort in Putrajaya. His Royal Highness graced the event and played golf alongside MMA members.