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Last Updated : 17/3/2017 11:24 AM

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 2020.

  1. Quick wins
    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.

  2. Strategic opportunities
    The two 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.

  3. 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.

Enabling growth
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 sector.

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.

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