Below are a few essential things to highlight about healthcare in Malaysia especially for an expatriate.
Considered the number 1 destination in Asia for expatriates to retire, Malaysia is blessed with a temperate climate, beautiful beaches, and friendly locals. How does the standard of healthcare in Malaysia look like in comparison?
Standard of Healthcare
With world-class medical facilities, highly-trained medical professionals, and an established healthcare system, the standard of healthcare in Malaysia is very high, even compared to developed countries. Generally, English is well understood and spoken by doctors and medical professionals especially in private medical facilities. With medical tourism burgeoning in Malaysia, tourists and expats from countries like India, Singapore, and Japan have relied on the expertise found in Malaysia to treat their symptoms and diseases with great result.
Most employers would have a medical insurance plan for their employees which would include obtaining prescription medicine, hospitalisation, and minor and major surgeries if required. Do note however that the plan would be quite limited, therefore it would be advisable to obtain an international medical insurance which would allow a plethora of choices and access to better health care in Malaysia. These include day and inpatient care, maternity, cancer care, and annual benefits.
What to Expect
There are two options available for healthcare which are Public and Private medical facilities. An expatriate may choose whichever they wish as the same standard of healthcare can be expected in either. Do take note that Public medical facilities like for example Hospital Kuala Lumpur, mainly cater for locals as the government has subsidised rates available for them, which are not applicable to non-citizens. The waiting time can be considerably long and there may be a chance that you may not get a chance to see the head Doctor due to him/her being very busy and you may be attended by either a junior or trainee Doctor. The cost of healthcare in Public medical facilities for expatriates are higher than locals but it would not be as high compared to a Private medical facility. You can expect much shorter waiting times in Private medical facilities, with the added advantage of being able to speak to the Doctor in charge most of the time. This would give you peace of mind and you can also expect better lodging and more modern amenities in these establishments. There would also be less people in general in Private facilities which would be more peaceful to you.
Medicine and Pharmacies
Expatriates are able to obtain over-the-counter medication from the numerous pharmacies in Malaysia. Most of them are available in shopping centres which are open till late. Many known brands are available like Panadol. There are also many private clinics which are mainly available around suburbs and they would be open from morning till night which allows you to seek medical aid quite easily. Ambulances are efficient, quick, and are available 24 hours a day. You can call either 999 or 112 from your mobile phone and you will be connected to the emergency services.
Health risks in Malaysia
Haze is a common threat in Malaysia due to forest fires blowing in from nearby Indonesia. This is an unfortunate occurrence that happens at least once a year and causes respiratory issues. An indoor air purifier would be a great investment or even an air diffuser with essential oils that can clean and purify the air. Dengue and malaria are also risks in Malaysia thus it is important to apply mosquito repellent especially if you go into parks or hiking in nature. Generally, tap water is safe but locals tend to drink boiled water or buy bottled water for consumption.
We hope the above points prove to be useful to you and would make your stay in Malaysia a fruitful one. Please do contact us at Reloc8 Asia Pacific Group - Malaysia if you need more information.
Last update: 26 February 2020