Where we are today
The healthcare industry has become a powerful engine of economic growth, due to
demographic shifts such as extended longevity and a rise in lifestyle diseases
such as hypertension and cardiovascular ailments and diabetes. Malaysia's
spending on healthcare, at 5 percent of GDP, is above our regional peers, and
public spending is a disproportionate contributor to healthcare costs.
Currently, the sector contributes to RM15 billion in GNI.
Vision for the future
We aim to grow three sub-sectors within healthcare: pharmaceuticals, health
travel and medical technology products. There is significant opportunity to
move from a net importer to a significant player in the RM422 billion
prescription and pharmaceutical drug industry. Malaysia will also develop
the more profitable medical technology sub-sectors such as medical devices,
diagnostic equipment and healthcare information technology. Finally, we are
aiming to bounce back in the attractive health travel sector to match the
growth of our neighbours Singapore and Thailand. Our goal is to migrate from
primarily a lower-value product strategy to a more comprehensive product,
services and asset strategy that better leverages our competencies.
Targets and aspirations
We aspire to generate RM35 billion incremental GNI contribution to reach
RM50 billion by 2020. The Healthcare NKEA is also targetting to welcome 1
million health travellers and conduct 1,000 clinical trials, all of which
will result in approximately 181,000 new jobs.
In achieving this, an additional 536,000 jobs will be created, with the
majority of them in professional and technical fields. We also aspire to
triple our foreign student enrolment from around 70,000 today to 200,000 by
These are initiatives that can be implemented immediately in 2010 as
they are already being debated within the public sector and require low
to moderate levels of private sector support to enable successful
execution. Under this theme, we are looking to mandate health insurance
for foreign workers and create an eco-system to support clinical trials.
strategic opportunities for healthcare, pursuing exports in generic
drugs and reinvigorating our health travel segment, are transformational
and hence will require significant change in how we think about our
industry and how the public and private sectors work together. They will
move Malaysia up the healthcare value chain.
Longer term bets
We believe that we
must tackle more difficult issues in order to gain a strong position
early in new technologies, such as telemedicine, and to establish
Malaysia as a source of significant medical innovation. The two EPPs
will require government to work hard to gain the support, commitment and
energy of a variety of public and private sector partners.
Given our ambitious target to grow the healthcare sector and treble its
contribution to GNI, a significant amount of investment will be needed. The
healthcare sector will require RM23 billion cumulatively from 2011 to 2020
to fund growth. Notably, we estimate that only 1 percent of this sum will be
public funds, while the remaining 99 percent will be funded by the private
There are five key enablers that need to be in place to ensure that the
Healthcare GNI targets can be met. These include securing the right human
capital, utilising our existing infrastructure more effectively, changing
regulations and policy, creating cross-border alliance and co-ordinating
more targetted and aggressive marketing.