Malaysia Joins Cream of the Crop in Health Destination

Included in Malaysia’s medical tourism destination campaign are 35 private hospitals that are expected to enhance the campaign. And, Indonesia is definitely one country being targeted in the campaign. One high-ranking official at the Malaysian External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) said Indonesia was considered an easy market. Indeed, many Indonesians may opt for Malaysia as it has a number of plus points, one of which is cost.

While some local hospitals have facilities of international standard, their charges are relatively high. Many Indonesians, rather than choose costly local medication, choose to go abroad for treatment at a lower cost, and at the same time have the added option of go sightseeing.

Ashadi Lubis, a resident of Medan, North Sumatra, is a perfect example. The export and import businessman has been having annual checkups in Penang, Malaysia, since 1994. He is satisfied with the services and facilities of the hospital there. It is not surprising that his family members also entrust their medical care to the hospital. Next to the superior services and facilities, the cost is relatively low, he said. “My mother had a gallstone operation for only Rp 18 million, including medicine, doctors’ fees and the operation itself,” he explained.

Based on the favorable value of the Malaysian ringgit and the low cost of living, medical care there costs much less than in the U.S. or Europe. Hence, for Indonesians going abroad for medical treatment, especially to Malaysia, is no longer a luxury. Such a visit could be for a simple general checkup or treatment for a serious ailment. Indeed, Malaysia pampers its patients with facilities that include rooms and services that are on par with a five-star hotel. Some even surpass luxury hotels. However, most important is the world-class medical care and surgery. (Burhan Abe)

The Jakarta Post, July 31, 2008

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