Healthcare in Malaysia




As a fast-rising economy, Malaysia has been undergoing rapid changes in its healthcare system. This evolution began with a departure from the traditional methods of treatment known to the Chinese, Malay and other ethnic groups to the entry of modern, state-of-the-art medical and diagnostic solutions.  

Malaysia boasts a high standard healthcare for both public and private sector. The service is outstanding, but the cost is relatively affordable compared to western countries. Here, residents are lucky to have a government that is fully dedicated to healthcare needs. With the heightened drive to propel Malaysian healthcare up to international standards, the network of clinics and hospitals and the medical personnel who man them all over the country have been strengthened. The Ministry of Health has been a very critical component of this wave of development as it continues to lobby for even more improvements. 

Health Insurance for Expats 

Currently, Malaysia doesn’t have a universal healthcare scheme, but in 2011, the government introduced the Foreign Worker Hospitalisation and Surgical Insurance Scheme which provides medical coverage of up to RM10,000 or around USD 2,300 to each expatriate/foreign worker. This scheme covers treatment and hospitalisation in government funded or public hospitals as well as sickness, injuries and accidents. The annual premium will be shouldered by the employee at RM 120 excluding 6% service tax and RM10 stamp duty. Domestic maids and those working in the plantation industry are exempted from the annual premiums whereas their contributions will be borne by their employers. 

Aside from the Foreign Worker Hospitalisation and Surgical Insurance Scheme, expats in Malaysia can also consider taking out private health insurance which can cover their medical and healthcare needs, especially in private hospitals. 

Doctors and Medical Services 

Most GP's and medical consultants in Malaysia are trained overseas and have qualifications that are both recognised and accepted worldwide, giving foreigners, especially retirees, ready access to excellent service and facilities. This is not to discredit, however, the locally graduated doctors who have skills and knowledge on par with the global medical community. A typical treatment or consultation in Penang, Malaysia with a doctor for flu or colds costs RM40.00 (approximately USD$12.00).  One can visit a doctor by checking the national association for doctors - Malaysian Medical Association or call 1300 88 6334 or ask around for referrals. 

It took a considerable amount of time before Malaysia could be considered a medical tourist destination, but it has certainly now achieved such a renowned status. It is thanks to government efforts and a competent body of medical staff whose wide expertise in cardiology, gastroenterology, general surgery, ophthalmology, screenings, orthopaedics, plastic surgery and dentistry is proven. Malaysia also developed a tool called ‘Tele-Primary Care’ which allows doctors in rural areas to discuss health issues through ‘Tele-consultations’ with doctors and specialists in other hospitals. 

Hospitals in Malaysia 

Expats in Malaysia should bear in mind that the quality of hospitals and services are different in every part of the country. Kuala Lumpur and Penang has the most modernised facilities while farther or rural areas have low quality of healthcare. Private hospital beds in Malaysia account for 22% of the total beds in main urban areas; serving the insured and wealth population including the growing medical tourism patients. Both private and public hospitals provide emergency treatment rooms where instant access to trained medical teams is available 24 hours a day. Among the most prominent hospitals in the country are: 

Lembah Pantai, Kuala Lumpur

Tel:  03-7949 4422 

50586 Jalan Pahang, Wilayah Persekutuan, Kuala Lumpur

Tel: 03-26155555 

570, Jalan Perda Utama, Bandar Perda, Penang

Tel: (6) 04-548 6688 

39 Jalan Kia Peng, 50450 Kuala Lumpur

Tel: +603 2160 0000 (24hour Hotline)


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