British Colonial Health Care Development and the Persistence of Ethnic Medicine in Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore
By Ooi Giok LING
The Institute of Policy Studies, Hon Sui Sen
Memorial Library Building, National University
of Singapore, Kent Ridge Drive, Singapore 0511
From Southeast Asian Studies, Vol. 29, No.2, September 1991
Both Malaysia and Singapore share a common colonial legacy in health care development.
Health care in both countries has been characterised by a plural health care
system comprising Western and ethnic medicine-Chinese, Malay, Indian and aboriginal
medicine. In this paper, the introduction, development and increasing dominance
of Western medicine is discussed with the aim of explaining the implications for the
persistence of ethnic medicine. This persistence of ethnic medicine can be traced in
part to colonial health care development policies. The uneven development of health
care services during the colonial period has resulted in a reliance on ethnic medicine.

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