Malaysia's Healthcare System
To speak in the very general terms that are required to describe the healthcare system of a country of approximately 28 million residents, the health care available in Malaysia is very good, by some counts it is even described as excellent.
Healthcare is deemed a right of all Malaysians, and providing care to its people is a major national initiative, with a very significant percentage of treatment provided through the public healthcare sector and paid for almost entirely by the state government itself.
Guaranteed universal healthcare is a truly noble goal, though the reality is that it is proving far more costly than it is sustainable for the long term. To learn more about the cost of care, visit our Healthcare Costs page.
In Malaysia, everyone has the right to choose what type of treatments they prefer, and healthcare outlets fall into two categories: public and private.
In many cases both public and private hospitals are able to offer most of the same services, what sets them apart are the ways their patients are served, along with price.
A few limiting factors for both systems comes from a lack of geographic dispersal, meaning that private care is available almost exclusively in major cities, and public care (while certainly more plentiful) is still concentrated mainly in urban areas for anyone needing care beyond the very basic.
Malaysia's Public Healthcare System
The public sector healthcare available in Malaysia is considerably better than the majority of countries in the region. Doctors receive adequate education and government regulation of pharmaceuticals, practices and treatments is thorough.
One of the biggest difficulties facing the public healthcare system, aside from funding, is retaining its doctors.
All doctors graduating in Malaysia are required by law to practice full-time for four years in the public health sector. Upon completing this requirement they are allowed to move over to the private healthcare industry if they so choose, which many do.
Given the low wages, long hours, high average numbers of patients and large amount of training for the next generation of doctors, it is easy to understand why many decide to go into private practice, where pay is much higher and stress generally lower.
This annual exodus creates a perennial shortage of experienced staff and puts the majority of care in the hands of relative newcomers to patient care.
On the plus side, most larger hospitals are well equipped with modern technology and supplies, including drugs and, if you are willing to wait the sometimes long period required to receive your treatment, you will usually get adequate care for a reasonable price.
Most public hospitals are understandably very institutional in atmosphere since the public healthcare system needs to be able to serve a huge audience at minimal cost, so doctor-patient consultation time is typically very short and impersonal. Patients are not able to select a personal doctor, instead, the on-shift physician is responsible for patient care while they are hospitalized and clinic visits for treatment and check-ups are on a first-come-first-served rotation basis.
Furthermore, public hospitals usually do not have private rooms, but instead care for several infirm in a single ward. Some women report being kept with up to 20 other new mothers in one ward after giving birth, with very limited access by the father while hospitalized.
All of this is done to benefit the maximum number of patients in the most efficient way possible and within the shortest amount of time and lowest cost to the subsidizing government.
Malaysia's Private Healthcare System
Presently the private health care system in Malaysia makes up about one third of the medical treatment available in Malaysia, however it only treats about 10% of Malaysia's population. The primary reason for this obviously being due to the higher cost associated with private care for the patient.
This is unfortunate because the doctors practicing in the private healthcare sector in Malaysia all receive equivalent education, and the foreign doctors practicing in private hospitals, many of whom are from western countries, also carry excellent credentials.
In fact, most of the doctors in private care are the same doctors who previously trained the current public sector doctors.
Aside from the high quality of care offered through the excellent private hospital and clinic’s doctors, the other obvious difference between private and public care is the aforementioned comfort and personalized service that private care affords.
Private hospitals in Malaysia are designed, equipped, staffed and operated in much the same manner as most private hospitals in western countries, with many of them owned by or partnered with international healthcare companies that provide first class healthcare around the globe.
As a result of the very high-quality care offered through the Malaysian private healthcare industry, it has earned a great reputation abroad and is now a very popular destination for medical tourism for patients from around the world who are seeking care that may not be available in their home country, or who find that it is more affordable than where they live. Some may even be able to take advantage of a vacation in the beautiful natural surroundings that Malaysia is famous for during the same trip.
The best way to insulate yourself from the high associated cost of private care is to purchase a Malaysia health insurance plan. These plans are available for individuals, families, and groups or businesses to meet almost any need and you can read more about them and the various coverage they offer elsewhere on this site.
To learn more about private healthcare available in Malaysia and why it serves such a role, read the links provided below:
- Association of Private Hospitals in Malaysia
- Providing patients quality service
- Why Malaysia’s Newest Healthcare Plan is Making People Sick
Contact Malaysia Health Insurance
To learn more about either the public or private healthcare available in Malaysia, or to find out if a particular treatment is available, just speak to one of our advisers. We have staff members who are able to assist you in most major languages, so if you prefer not to communicate in English just complete an information request found at the top of this page, inform us of what language is most convenient for you and we will do our best to accommodate your needs and have someone fluent in your language contact you soon. If English is preferable, click here and someone can help you immediately.