Category: General Guide

Medical Tourism in Malaysia

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The Malaysian government has been working hard to generate a positive reputation in the international medical industry, by promoting state-of-the-art and internationally acclaimed medical facilities at affordable and relatively low costs.

Medical Tourism in Malaysia

This South-east Asian country is well-known for its tourist attractions and pluralist culture. However, it is fast emerging as one of the many reputed medical tourism destinations too. The Malaysian government has been working hard to generate a positive reputation in the international medical industry, by promoting state-of-the-art and internationally acclaimed medical facilities at affordable and relatively low costs. Mainly because, the Malaysian government counted on medical tourism to diversify its economy to stay afloat during the Asian financial crisis, by bringing in policies such as tax exemptions for hospitals, etc. As a result, in addition to being a world class tourist and shopping destination, Malaysia has also become a hot bed of medical tourism. This country offers sophisticated medical amenities, top notch hospitals, and highly skilled health professionals that serve their patients round the clock with proficiency. The favorable exchange rate for the US dollar against the Malaysian Ringgit further lowers the already low medical expenses here, hence giving the patients the best value for their money. Malaysia offers medical facilities for approximately 1/5th of their price in western countries, with facilities that are just as good. It is well-known for cosmetic surgeries, Cardiac bypass surgery, and fertility treatments, with IVF success rates as high as those seen in the US.


Top Destinations:

Most major cities in Malaysia have internationally accredited medical facilities that treat foreign patients regularly. Kuala Lumpur, Petaling Jaya, Klang, Georgetown, Ipoh, Melaka, and Penang are some Malaysian cities with several medical institutions and hospitals that cater to the influx of foreign patients from the western countries as well as some parts of Asia such as Singapore and India.


Safety and credentials:

The Malaysian Ministry of Health (MOH) formed The National Committee for the Promotion of Medical and Health Tourism in January 1998, in an attempt to regularize and promote international standards among its hospitals and medical institutions. The Malaysian Society for Quality in Health (MSQH) is another internal organization that provides accreditations to the Malaysian healthcare sector. Apart from these national accreditations, several Malaysian hospitals hold international accreditations and certifications such as those awarded under the JCI and ISO. There are approximately 8 JCI accredited hospitals in Malaysia.

The medical colleges and universities in Malaysia are either state or privately run institutions. However, after the completion of the undergraduate medical degree, the doctors have to undergo residencies, apprentices, or internships in the speciality of their choice before they are given the MD degree. Most of the doctors here have degrees and fellowships from international and western universities too, which keeps them abreast with the latest medical trends. In fact, Malaysian doctors and hospitals are well trained for non-invasive orthopedic and cardiac surgeries, which reduce the recovery period of the patients considerably.


Legal issues:

There are several medical malpractice and negligence laws in place in Malaysia. However, foreign citizens may have trouble assessing them due to jurisdiction issues and certain loopholes, which is the case with most oversees medical tourism destinations. Another area that requires acknowledgement of the Malaysian legal system would be IVF and surrogacy. Although, IVF and surrogacy are practiced and recognized in Malaysia, the religious bodies in the country have certain objections in this regard. Since, it is a largely Muslim dominated country the clerics have passed a fatwa against the practice of surrogacy. So, if you plan to visit Malaysia for IVF or surrogacy, educate yourself about the laws in Malaysia as well as your own country, and speak to your doctor too before you head out there.


Cost of treatments in Malaysia:


Cost in US $

(1 $= 3. 16 MYR )

Dental implants


Heart bypass


Hip Replacement


Knee Replacement


Breast Implants




Face lift


Gastric bypass




Lasik (both eyes)





How do you get there?

The visa procedures in Malaysia vary for different countries. However, citizens of most western countries do not require a visa to enter Malaysia, and are eligible for a 3 month on arrival visa. There is nothing like a medical visa but the usual tourist visa that provides entry into the country, and it is mandatory for the citizens of some countries to have a valid Malaysian visa before travelling to the country. Another added benefit provided by its government to encourage medical tourism, is the possibility of a visa extension up to 6 months on medical grounds if required. In case you plan to visit Malaysia for your medical procedure, it would be prudent to contact a Malaysian embassy in your vicinity to enquire about the visa rules that may apply to you. To get more information about the Malaysian visa rules visit the official Malaysian government website page about visas.


Some General tips:

Currency: Malaysian Ringgit (MYR)

Language: Malay is the national language of Malaysia. However, majority of its citizens including the healthcare providers and staff, are fluent in English. If you feel the need you can avail of the services of an interpreter provided by the hospital.

Accommodation: Most hospital catering to the medical tourists have tie-ups with 5-star hotels so that their patients do not have to worry about accommodations while they convalesce. However, if you opt to look for an accommodation of your choice you can choose from hotels that charge between $81-219, depending on your requirements and budget.

Weather:  Malaysia has a tropical climate, with sunshine for the majority of the year. Hence, it is usually hot and humid here. November to January is its rainy season and best avoided. May to September is a good time to visit Malaysia, with regards to the weather and an added benefit of spotting Malaysia’s well known leatherback and hawksbill turtles along the eastern coastline.

Cuisine: the Malaysian cuisine is a combination of Indian, Chinese, and Malay cooking styles. The dishes essentially contain delightful and indigenous flavors of coconut milk, chili peppers, soy sauce, and lemon grass. If you are in Malaysia, you simply cannot miss treating your taste buds to the national dish nasi lemak. Belacan, a type of shrimp paste and satay are some other gastronomic wonders in Malaysian cuisine worth their salt. However, westerners aren’t really used to having spicy Asian dishes, and since you are on a medical holiday it would be wise to avoid such dishes. Avoid eating or buying food and water from street vendors as they could carry various infections.

Tourist attractions: The iconic Petronas towers adding to the beauty of the city skyline and the various shopping destinations makes Kuala Lumpur a shopper’s paradise. Malaysia also has one of the oldest rainforests of the world, so nature enthusiasts can visit Taman Negara to enjoy nature at its beast. The crystal clear and azure waters of the many beaches in this country are a delight for the more adventurous tourists interested in scuba diving, snorkeling, and jet skiing. The history and architecture enthusiasts can visit Stadthuya, a fine example of Dutch architecture built way back in the 1650s.


Tags: malaysia, medical tourism, jci malaysia, south-east asia medical tourism

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