Healthcare in Malaysia


how does the healthcare system work in Malaysia ? Is it efficient ?

What are the main differences between public and private sectors?

Is it recommended to purchase private health insurance in Malaysia?

Thanks in advance for sharing your experience !


All healthcare in Malaysia is private surely? Government hospitals you have to pay as well and more as a foreigner and even lowish paid workers use private hospitals.

It's a no brainer you need insurance and locals do the same. No cash or insurance you die! And it happens that way

Julien wrote:


how does the healthcare system works in Malaysia ? Is it efficient ?

What are the main differences between public and private sectors?

Is it recommended to purchase private health insurance in Malaysia?

Thanks in advance for sharing your experience !


Hi Julien,

Healthcare in Malaysia is I guess among the best in Asean.

Public sector can go to government hospital for free or RM1 fee.
For private, usually company will provide medical card for both outpatient and hospitalized.

And of course, health insurance is a must to cover expensive medical bills especially when diagnose with dread diseases

Any question can ask me, I will able to help :)


In order to help expats and soon-to-be expats, we would like to invite you to share your experience on this topic, with updated info on the healthcare system.

Thank you in advance,

Julie Team

Hi, Julien!

I am hesitating to post any of my experiences now because once I did post a letter sharing my personal experience a few days ago, it was deleted being labelled as advertisement!!  No freedom of speech  here ?! LOL

It is pathetic. Doctors fleece money for nothing. Pantai is the wrost. I went there with a sinus problem and the doctor fleeced me with rm 800 prescribing anti biotics for an allergy.

Medical treatment is best done outside malaysia.

I have only positive experiences. I suffered a strange infection causing high fever coming and going for several weeks. Went to nearby clinic to see doctor who gave me letter (RM25) for consultation in private hospital, who further send me to General hospital (RM100 fee), where I was taken several blood tests (over 20 different tests) and finally got diagnosed and got a perception. Doctor in there asked if I am tax resident (which I was) and paid only RM50.

That was in Penang and I must say it was very efficient and professional all the way.

My healthcare experiences here in Malaysia have been fairly limited, but mostly positive.  I have been to a few local clinics for very minor reasons: flu shots and a minor respiratory infection.  For the former, the doctor administered the vaccine without incident, and for the latter, the doctor prescribed a course of antibiotics.  The cost for each visit was less than 100RM respectively.  Expats who've had more serious medical issues may have had different experiences.

My experience has been the blood boiling....the medical field in malaysia is highly incompetent when it comes to certain fields in medicine. But we need medical insurance for sure as even this pathetic healthcare is expensive in Malaysia which cant be compared to western countries and India where healthcare is at the best.

i went to SJMC for showing a simple dust allergic reaction for my wife. She was already treated and diagnosed in India and treated well. Somehow she got that allergy back after 5 years in malaysia and we went to SJMC where we met a chinese skin specialist and all she did was giving us a lecture in what had actually happened to my wife...and taking a printout from her printer and handing over to us. I told her in india she will have anti histamine drugs when she gets this...and for that she said...please continue with that!!!! She openly told us that in Malaysia we dont have treatment anywhere for allergy!!! the best best is yet to come........we walk out and we are told to collect our medical card and we are billed for 260 ringitts. i dont mind paying for medical facilities which are really good and efficient.....but malaysia private hospitals....are pathetic and disgusting........

i would suggest people to go to KL Govt. Hospital and Klang govt hospital where treatment for expats is almost need to pay RM 15 for general treatment and ailments for any tests , X-rays etc.....

Please note that in Malaysia i was REFUSED treatment for my wife in the govt. dental clinic because we were told that we are foreigners!!!!! Foreigners are not allowed any dental treatment in govt clinic and this happened with me in the govt clinic in PUDU.

It is pretty well known that allergies are often triggered by emotional overload (stress).  Anti-histamines are available over the counter. Just take the brand currently being used to the pharmacy section and a suitable alternative will be pointed out (if the brand is not available in Malaysia). Getting properly acquainted with options in the local health scene is highly advisable. Also read the policy coverage your employer is providing for you. I have heard that some people have allergies over cheap washing powders and also when food is laced with lots of MSG. I guess knowing the root cause and trial and error will help to find suitable products in the new environment.

Its better to Die instead of going to the Doctor in Malaysia specially in Kuala Lumpur, they all are butchers and greedy of money, they kept receptionist who takes your interview first and give you a card to fill in and then she will fill in the money without knowing the problem,

During my stay in Malaysia I went tree times to three different doctors oh my God............................that experience was horrible, if some body still not believe can go my her or him self to experience.

Malaysia is one of the nicest place on earth but.........some of the things beyond control of their Govt, like International Schools, Doctors fee and their consultancies, Immigration department, unnecessary departments to bother people.

Bangkok is better and for serious issues best to fly there. Malaysians believe that 80% profit margins are the minimum and hospitals rip you off. Indeed Malaysia needs a proper health system that isn't based on greed.

Eg I know heart surgeons ten years ago making 180,000 rm per month. More than UK Europe and more than many in USA. Inefficiency and high profit margins are to blame. Having said that it is small compared to advertising business here so maybe a fair price in comparison. But that is Malaysia's cancer of greed. 80% margins considered minimum. It pushes up costs of services like medicine and propertyprices Make money no hard work. Corruption and oil money driving that but for how long? Oil wont last forever.

Summary: Malaysian medicine is not up to the mark.

I am from the US and have been using both the public and private system since 2000.

I've had all sorts of work done in clinics and hospitals both in KL and Penang. Overall Id say ive been with 35 doctors and only found two who were truly professional and well educated. The rest I would say are a mix of liars, fools and incompetent thieves.

(As an aside, imagine this. I had a friend, she was only 24 and admitted as a surgeon in a KL hospital. She said she hated being a doctor and only did it for the money. She said she had no idea what she was doing and hoped she could earn good money without needing to cut too many people because she felt incompetent. Are you seeing the point? No. She is only 24! In most countries she wouldnt even be through med school yet, so how could she already be a surgeon unless she was allowed to skip years of study? Yet there she was, allowed to cut people open. You call that quality medicine?)

1) I have spent huge time and money on unnecessary tests which is the specialty of doctors here. Their diagnostic skills are just about zero and they continue to bleed your wallet for testing which always proved negative in my case.

For just ONE symptom, I went to a hospital which passed me around to six doctors and I got this:
1) You have epilepsy, im 100% sure
2) No, you have a brain tumor, im 100% sure
3) No you dont, you had a stroke, im sure!
4) No you didnt, you have a failed heart, dont listen to that idiot
5) No, your heart is fine, you have a failed liver
6) Thats impossible, you have a failed kidney
7) All opinions and tests finished,  we have no idea whats wrong with you.

Imagine how you would feel each time you are told those things. You die each time. You call that quality medicine?

2) They dont like it when you research your problems and ask hard questions. They wish to appear godly at all times and expect people to blindly follow whatever they say. They do not like being questioned or challenged about the problem, their skills, background, ability to help you. An honest doctor would gladly entertain your valid questions.

3) In the private sector, the situation is at its worst because the facilities have shareholders who expect profits, so they milk you to pieces which doesnt guarantee you good performance. In the public sector, they simply dont care about you, there is no individual attention, you are just a number. They are forced to work by government mandate so they just want to get through the day. I have had the greatest number of misdiagnoses and delays in the public hospitals. I had a MRI in April in a public hospital but have to wait until end of July to hear the results. Thats how it goes. I waited one year just to have the test.

4) Costs. Starting January 1, 2015, if you are married to a Malaysian the public hospitals, tests and drugs are free but thats little consolation. Otherwise, in Penang the charges to see a doctor were RM50, then RM60, now RM78, plus the costs of tests which are the same or near the same as private hospitals. Unless you are married, there is little incentive to go to a public hospital anymore.

5) Once in a blue moon you strike gold. There are two doctors in KL who are fantastic. Very high skills and education, serious and passionate about their work and decent human beings too. One in particular I hope I keep for life. But in general, whether private or public, the level should be much higher than it is. Years ago I wanted to trust more, believe in the good of people but they proved otherwise and so today I cannot say the level of healthcare in Malaysia is high. The doctors are much more concerned about image and wealth than actually healing you. And everyone is a "consultant" who only advises but doesnt do the work. Why cant I talk to the doctor who would actually be working on me? Why is it a mystery?

6) Education of doctors is very mixed, some have only local education, some have both foreign and local education, then there are the foreign doctors, imported from India and other places with dodgy backgrounds. Neighborhood clinics sometimes have OK doctors if the problem is small.

7) Insurance. I dont have any, though I tried with several companies. There is something you should know. Insurance is not like western, its really sub-standard Personal Accident insurance. And if you have a problem, you have to pre-pay the charges and apply to the company for reimbursement after the fact. If they dont agree to the charges, they do not pay you. Secondly, its only an annual policy up to around age 60 and they are not under any obligation to re-new. If you have a problem they may not re-new the next year. You also have to fill out annual applications and if you list anything so small as a headache or a cold, many items will be excluded from the policy the following year. Whats needed is a western policy to follow you abroad but to my knowledge they dont (after the first 3 months abroad).

The government is aware that higher standards are needed but that means fewer people would be graduating and taking jobs in medicine. Indeed, many wouldnt even try. So the result is to pass candidates through the system easily and quickly so that the government doesnt have to import so many doctors. This means the low standards of medicine remain. This isnt my opinion, the former Health Minister said as much himself.

Bottom line, though I have some specific problems which must get fixed, im generally fearful of local doctors, i dont feel in safe hands. And being in Penang I cant easily see my good KL doctor. I dont think you get what you pay for, i have been to the best private hospitals and the worst public with the same results. What matters is not where you go but the character of the individual doctor where ever he/she is and thats very hard to find.

I cant name places and people, wont allow.

I fell seriously ill.after moving to Ipoh to work. The initial diagnosis was enlarged gall bladder and I was treated with antibiotics and discharged after 5 days and given antibiotics.  I started to get weaker and three days afterwards ended up in Pantai Emergency.  The surgeon said shd did not think I needed surgery but instead asked a physician. A physician attended and I was admitted to the ICU. The diagnosis was septicaemia.  I spent a week in the ICU and another 10 days in the hospital.  Although the initial diagnosis was incorrect the follow up and subsequent care was excellent from the doctor and nursing staff. I cannot praise the ICU staff highly enough. The care was excellent.  I believe they saved my life.

The infrastructure is not up to western standards but the care and attention is.

Subsequently I have had a cataract op and am just recovering from a total hip replacement
All of this was done privately through my companies health insurance.  Language can be a bit of an issue with some of the nursing staff other tha  I have stated I am satisfied with the Care  I have recieved in Malaysia.

Hi, umm

malaysia healthcare is ok.

if u go public cheap buy sometimes have to wait n local n foreigner not same rate

private sectors  wow damm expensive

private health insurance becareful most of agent do not tell u ture.

since 8 yrs ago until now using ing(aia) just ok only. do not believe what agent tell u

Healthcare is mostly private if want things done. Government sponsored healthcare are pretty limited even for the locals. Usually its the poor or government servants that go for public healthcare.

Then for those who can summon the courage or are little more open - Malaysia has a lots of options for alternative healthcare like the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for short. That's more of preventative medicine. Its not the answer to everything but for some ailments, its worth considering.

Hello CVCO,
I have known you through MM2H blog. Your blog on Malaysian health care was interesting. My brother is thinking to come to Penang's Loh Guan Lye Specialist Center for knee replacement. My next door neighbor in Saratoga, CA is from Penang whose dad had his knee replacement in this hospital. He referred his dad's surgeon to my brother. Do you have any input on the reputation and quality of this Specialist Center? After reading your blog I have concern about this Penang Specialist Center too. I know that Malaysia is vigorously promoting medical tourism. Both my brother and I have lived in the US for a long time and used to different kind of medical service.

CVCO lives on mainland Penang and not the Island. Loh Guan Lye is a lower-cost hospital and does not have many internationally trained doctors. However, because of the massive amount of motorbike accident injuries, orthopaedic surgeons tend to get lots of practice. Knee replacement is something different and I would enquire of the specialist how frequently he performs this operation.

On Penang Island there are at least 7 private hospitals and this is where the medical tourism takes place. Many of the doctors and medical specialists have returned from careers overseas. The standards are considered to be high and the environment is very international and pleasant.

I dont know Loh Guan Lye, but my landlord recommends one hospital on the island, I will ask him again. Maybe its the same one. Previously, I heard good things about Gleneagles and Penang Adventist Hospital where recently my next door neighbor in the US gave a talk on surgical procedures (and had no idea I was living nearby. Small world.)

I mention my landlord because his wife is full of ailments and they have toured every hospital in the country and basically dislikes them all--mainly for misdiagnoses which is my complaint too.

I'll come back, let me get some info.


Mybe i can help you to find the best solution for this. I am an expert on getting Medical coverage for expats. Do PM me and I can explain in detail.

Currently i have 45% of my client who are expat's

012 318 9659

Yes, AIA has the kinds of plans I was criticizing and which westerners wouldnt like unless it was the last resort, i guess. I found them to be very unreasonable and even illogical. Again, its local Personal Accident insurance, not truly western health coverage, and the applicants have to meet the local criteria standard.

There is a european company operating in KL, I cant remember the name right now. They offer plans which at least westerners would recognize but that comes at a price.

I wonder if any expats have been able to bring their insurance with them from their countries?

Hi all,

Well from my experience so far, when comes to healthcare, you should have a plan that can cover your hospitalization fees, and have enough limits so that you do not need to fork out your pocket money during the time we really need it.

The second part is to have a plan that can give you immediate cash fund when you are diagnosed with a major critical illness. This fund is usually used to replace your income during the time of recovery and at times to get second opinion too.

These are the main aspect I would try to get anyone here covered, so that they do not need to worry anything about a huge hospital bill to bare or to find extra fund in the difficult times.

You have peace of mind that you can walk in to most of the private hospital, even the most expensive hospital like Prince Court.

New topic