Malaysian hospitals respond to medical tourist needs


asian doctor

The Star newspaper in Malaysia has recently published a series of articles dedicated to the country's booming medical tourism industry.

In 2005, Malaysia drew 230,000 foreigners into the country for health/medical tourism. The number grew to 297,000 in 2006 and the uptrend seems to be continuing this year with a 30% increase for the first quarter versus the same quarter of 2006.

Most local hospitals in Malaysia have moved away from the stereotype of a disinfectant-smelling functional building  and moved towards a building with that has all the ambience of a luxurious high-class hotel. This movement was partly aimed at providing better quality healthcare services to Malaysians – but it was also to attract foreigners into the country for health/medical tourism.

Association of Private Hospitals of Malaysia board member and chairman of committee on database and health/medical tourism Datuk Dr K. Kulaveerasingam is confident Malaysia has the potential to become a health/medical tourism hub in the next few years. He told The Star: “Malaysia is slowly coming up in the health/medical tourism business – we can see from the statistics that it is growing. Health/medical tourism started to pick up from 2002 in Malaysia and is currently on the uptrend. The outlook for health/medical tourism in the country is very bright – it is a recession proof industry."

According to Dr Kulaveerasingam, the country's biggest competitors for health/medical tourism are Thailand, India and Singapore.

He believes that Malaysia will eventually be able to give its competitors a run for their money due to its excellent healthcare facilities and specialists, infrastructure, transportation network, multi-lingual and multi-racial community.

“We meet people in the same industry from Thailand and Singapore at major medical conferences and they tell us Malaysia is a sleeping giant. They are worried about us,” he told The Star.

Dr Kulaveerasingam now wants local universities to work closely with the private sector in training the next generation of doctors, consultants and specialists.

“We also have a shortage of doctors in special areas, for example, in the Intensive Care Unit,” he said.

He is calling for centres of excellence – for example, a cancer centre, neurology centre and an orthopaedic and trauma centre to be set up.

Get a quote for treatment abroad

Get a quote
  1. Complete the enquiry form
  2. Select countries of interest
  3. Providers respond
View online FREE GUIDE

Why treatment abroad could be right for you

- Costs/NHS funding
- Choosing a clinic or surgeon
- What if something goes wrong?

Additional information

Please provide the following information to get a better idea of the overall cost of your medical travel. We will factor in the typical price of travel, accommodation and travel insurance along with the cost of the treatment.

I am travelling from:
No. of travellers:

Skip this step  >    

Find providers of treatment in Malaysia


Include medical travel agencies

 Yes  No