Sunday, 7th April, 2002
Malaysia Healthcare Sector Can Become A Regional Player

Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia has the potential to be a regional medical and healthcare centre, Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz said.

She said that this was baked by the fact that there has been referrals to the Malaysia private hospitals in the region such as Indonesia and Brunei.

Such a development that could evolve Malaysia into a regional medical healthcare centre, Rafidah said at the launching of the second Kpj annual Medical Conference, Friday.

The next of her speech was made available Saturday.

She said that the government, through Malaysian External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade), actively support the healthcare industry efforts to export their products and services, through general-nature trade missions and specialised missions, she said.

Rafidah said that such missions have been conducted in West Asia, as well as in Myanmar and Vietnam, while a mission to Indonesia was being planned in September this year.

"Mission can serve to provide the necessary initial exposure of the Malaysian healthcare industry in the selected market, and also establish linkages and contacts," she added.

However the industry players themselves and namely hospitals, healthcare and pharmaceutical products manufacturers, must undertake the follow-up efforts to realise the export potentials.

Of importance is the formulation of the systematic marketing strategies which could effectively provide information on available services and facilities, cost and charges, expertise of personal and the edge that Malaysian healthcare providers have over others, she explained.

"Malaysian private hospital should also consider appointing marketing representative in targeted markets, who can update potential client on their facilities and service, as well as provide essential feedback on market development," she added.

Meanwhile, Rafidah said that under the eight Malaysia plan, the government has allocated five percent of the social sector development expenditure for healthcare amounting to RM5.5 million.

This is an increase of 47.3 percent from the allocation under the Seventh Malaysia Plan.

Last year, About 1.6 million was spent for healthcare development comprising building and upgrading of hospitals and clinics nationwide.

To-date, these are 113 hospitals and six special medical institutions administrated by the government apart from 240 private hospitals.