Malaysian beauty salon gets makeover as dentistry school

As the world supply chain collapses and unemployment rises, why not think about retraining as a small-town dentist? And why not rebrand your beauty salon as a school of dentistry?

That was the plan of the owner of a fly-ridden hole-in-the-wall beauty salon in Malaysia’s in Setapak district. The former manicure parlour not only provided dental courses and issued certificates but went as far as to offer graduates a starter kit to help with their own business.

“I know it is wrong but I see many people doing it, so what’s the problem if I want to look for pocket money?” said the busted beautician who had her salon closed down for allegedly offering illegal dentistry services and training. One wonders exactly what she meant by “many people doing it.”

Acting on a tip-off, a team of Health Ministry heavies raided the beauty salon yesterday and confiscated all kinds of equipment entirely inappropriate for pedicures and eyebrow tattoos, namely dental probes, fillings and the nickel-titanium wire that is commonly used for braces. So it’s orthodontics too.

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The team also took a desktop with copies of hundreds of certificates issued for various illegal courses including veneers, whitening and platelet-rich plasma injections. So some cosmetic surgery also. A little nearer to home in a beauty salon.

Health Ministry official Dr Taufik Firdaus said the beautician, who claims to have been acting alone, was not registered with the Malaysian Dental Association.

In July, it had been reported that the salon was providing dental courses and issuing worthless certificates to its “students.” Short courses, just a few hours long, cost up to RM3,000 (US$650). She also helped students start their own businesses including mobile dental services.

The 36-year-old beautician, who remained calm throughout, claimed said she got her skills from an Indonesian woman who provided the same kind of course. It cost about RM3,600 (US$780).


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Jon Whitman

Jon Whitman is a seasoned journalist and author who has been living and working in Asia for more than two decades. Born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland, Jon has been at the forefront of some of the most important stories coming out of China in the past decade. After a long and successful career in East sia, Jon is now semi-retired and living in the Outer Hebrides. He continues to write and is an avid traveller and photographer, documenting his experiences across the world.

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