Because Malaysia was a long-time British colony until 1957, Western culture is ingrained throughout the country. English is universally and comfortably spoken. Tourist attractions abound, particularly in the squeaky-clean, ever-evolving capital of Kuala Lumpur and on the islands of Penang and Malacca, two favorite international beach resorts and health travel destinations.
All private medical facilities in Malaysia are required to be licensed under the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act 1998 and work closely with the Ministry of Health, which monitors compliance and establishes benchmarks and regulations for quality assurance.
Malaysia now has six JCI-accredited hospitals, with aggressive plans for private facility expansion over the next five years.
Malaysia and Medical Travel
While most Asia-bound health travelers think of heading to India or Thailand for treatment, Malaysia is now firmly on the medical travel charts. Patients are responding: in 2014 more than nearly 800,000 medical travelers sought treatment in Malaysia, with more than one million expected in 2016.
Why? Because the country’s leading facilities and expertise are on par with those in neighboring Thailand, with comparable costs on most procedures, particularly for the more elaborate cardiovascular and orthopedic treatments. A comparative skip from neighboring Singapore, Malaysia offers excellent facilities and care, with prices 30-50% percent lower.
More than 80% of Malaysia’s cross-border patients visit from Indonesia, where healthcare infrastructure there has yet to catch up with the rising middle class. Patients also visit from China (30% of Malaysia’s citizenry is of Chinese descent) and the Middle East (as a moderate Muslim country, Malaysia offers great cultural compatibility to the Islamic patient). Similarly, Australians increasingly fleeing rising healthcare costs seek comfort in Malaysia’s universal command of the English language.
Over the years, Malaysia has managed to continue improving its healthcare infrastructure and quality while keeping prices low. Malaysia now competes with India for the value-seeking patient, as well as the affluent patient seeking access specialties in the region. Global healthcare consumers from the EU and North America are beginning to locate Malaysia on the medical travel map and embrace its many attributes.
Around 40 of Malaysia’s 113 private hospitals, including the giant IHH Berhad and Ramsay Sime Darby networks, now serve international patients.
Comprehensive, Inexpensive Health Screenings
While visiting for treatment, many international patients take advantage of the exceptional, thorough, inexpensive physicals offered by most Malaysian private hospitals. A dazzling array of tests and exams, including blood work, bone density scan, chest x-ray, and treadmill can be had for around $500. Malaysian hospitals were the creators of “well-man” and “well-woman” packages: comprehensive, low-cost physicals, screenings and other tests promoting preventive care. Packages include pre-employment, executive screening, maternity, and more. Health travelers can also choose from a wide array of diagnostic packages, including heart, stroke, cancer, and bone scan.
Last updated on 24 August 2015