Malaysia’s healthcare sector become a ‘private sector driven engine for economic growth’ under the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP). The government aims to change the perception of healthcare from a wealth-consuming public service by exploring other facets of the industry, from pharmaceuticals and medical devices to more advanced innovations in services and research. One example is appealing further to health travelers from abroad, usually citizens of wealthier countries seeking quality healthcare at a lower price.

The ETP wants healthcare to generate an incremental Gross National Income of RM35.3 billion (US$11.4 billion)  in the decade to 2020, and will divide projects into ‘quick wins’ for income generation in the immediate future and longer term ‘bets’ on future opportunities. The former consists of pharmaceutical research, insurance and hospital beds, while longer term proposals aim to develop Malaysia as a medical hub with a ‘health metropolis’ at Universiti Malaya and a ‘diagnostic service nexus’ to facilitate international outsourcing through telemedicine (eg; remote surgery where surgeons are not physically in the same place as the patient).

The government will establish a Health Industry Development Corporation to achieve its goals, estimating RM23.3 billion ($7.53 billion) is needed from 2011-20. Only 1% of this will come from the government, with the other 99% intended to come from private sector sources.

source & full article: Business Times