Counseling in Malaysia began with school guidance that focused on vocational guidance service for secondary school students in the 1960s. It started accepted by the Ministry of Education in 1969 when more teachers were appointed as guidance teachers as stated in the Service Circular, KP5209/35/4(4). Counseling became an integral part of education aimed at enhancing individual’s ability to make decision independently without influencing by others. The importance of counseling was highlighted when the drug problem among youth increased and more guidance and counseling teachers were needed in the schools.
In 1980, the precious moment of the birth of PERKAMA (Persatuan Kaunselor Malaysia). These ideas were from a group of wise individuals that can foresee opportunities, meaningful and potential future of counseling for the sake of human wellness. They were never told or being instructed. They navigated the journey and looked for directions to ensure a promising hopes that counseling will be a significant discipline for the society of this region. The establishment of PERKAMA was initiated by Professor Dr. Awang Had Salleh, who was the Rektor of UiTM in 1980 while the Protem Committee was chaired by Datin Sri Fauziah Elyas. PERKAMA was officially registered on 16 January 1982. The name of PERKAMA was then changed to Persatuan Kaunseling Malaysia in 1989. The aim of the PERKAMA is to provide a platform for exchange knowledge, advocacy and development of profession. The membership is open to those who are qualified in counseling and related fields. For those who are interested without counseling background, they can registered as allied members.
The first PERKAMA Convention was held in Universiti Sains Malaysia where an Annual General Meeting was conducted by Dr. Amir Awang (Emeritus Professor Dato’ Dr. Amir Awang). He was elected as the first president while Dr. Abd Halim Othman (Emeritus Professor Dato’ Dr. Abd Halim Othman) as the Vice President, and Mr. Hamzah Sidang Muhamad as the Secretary.
PERKAMA began to grow and expand under the leadership of Puan Sri Fauziah Alyas (1982-1983), Professor Dato’ Dr Amir Awang (1983-1984), Professor Dato’ Dr. Abdul Halim Othman (1984, 1989), Professor Dato’ Dr. Amir Awang (1989-1993), Dato’ Mohd Yunus Noor (1994-1999), Professor Dato’ Dr. Muhammad Mansur Abdullah (2000-2003), Professor Dr. Suradi Salim (2003-2005), Tan Sri Dr. Nordin Kardi (2005-2013), Dato’ Dr. Ismail Alias (2013-2015), dan Dato’ Dr. Abd Halim Mohd Hussin (2015- present). Mental health professionals, especially school counselors experienced a significant change with the establishment of the PERKAMA. School counselors, graduate students, and counselor educators were encouraged to publish textbooks and articles in relation to counseling and psychotherapy. The first issues of PERKAMA official journal was born in 1984.
Enthusiasm and strong desire of the leaders and executive members have managed to advocate and convince various parties to accommodate the demand and proposals of PERKAMA. Various conventions, seminars, or conferences have been organized in the past 30 years to gather professionals and students in the mental health professions from local or oversea. Various development in the counseling field in Malaysia have been achieved as a result of these conventions. To embrace the globalization effects on counseling profession, Tan Sri Dr. Nordin Kardi, the President of PERKAMA mooted the idea of positioning PERKAMA onto the international platform. The proposal of changing PERKAMA to PERKAMA International was accepted by the members through its 20th Annual General Meeting in 2011.
Gathering courage to believe and ensuring dreams to come through without leaving any stone unturned, today we have PERKAMA International and here we are to continue the journey. To date, we have more than 8000 members all over the country. Now after 37 years of PERKAMA International in this nation, this association has succeeded in achieving the objectives of its establishment. The aspiration of current leadership is to uniting all practicing counselors nationwide to enable the voice of each and every professional counselors to be heard. Professional counselors with degree of integrity and dignity must be the main key player in human development. Leadership and competency matters in counseling profession.