The New Straits Times reports that in the 2019 Budget, Malaysia’s Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng has allocated RM20 million (US$4.8m) to the Malaysian Health Tourism Council (MHTC). This is to forge cooperation with leading private hospitals, brand Malaysia as a selected health tourism destination and enhance the growth rate of the sector by 25% next year.
The article also says that Lim confirmed that the federal government will share with the state government 50% of the tourism tax collected.
The Budget, themed “A Resurgent Malaysia, A Dynamic Economy, A Prosperous Society”, allows the government to provide a matching grant of RM100 million to a private company to promote and market international tourism in efforts to boost tourist arrivals.
“The tourism industry contributed 14.9% of the gross domestic product or RM201.4 billion in 2017. The government will emphasise on the target of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture to bring in 30 million foreign tourists who will contribute RM100 billion to the national economy in the year 2020,” he said.
To empower the country’s tourism sector, the status of Pulau Langkawi as a tax-free island would be expanded while Pulau Pangkor would be turned into a tax-free island.
“The government would grant tax-free facilities to tax-free shops at the Swettenham Pier in Penang to further promote the cruise ship tourism sector,” he said.
The Malaysian government has over the years taken a series of proactive measures to enhance the country as a preferred health tourism destination. Visit the IMTJ Country Profile for a detailed independent analysis of the current medical tourism market in Malaysia.