Malaysia: quick recovery for medical travel

Analysis from MIDF Research, the research arm of MIDF Amanah Investment Bank, expects Malaysia’s medical travel sector to recover quickly.

MIDF Research has said that in 2021 the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC) assisted in the generation of RM551 million (US$131 million) in revenue based on hospital receipts, an increase of 6% above the targeted revenue goal.  This was due to a closely monitored medical travel bubble and tight partnerships in contributing to returning patient volume.   This finding is higher than the first estimate from MHTC for 2021, which was US$115 million.

For current year 2022, the target is set at RM800 million (US$190 million).

In tandem with the higher revenue, MHTC launched its Healthcare Travel Industry Blueprint which consists of the recovery and rebuild phases. The country is currently in the recovery phase.

MIDF Research believes the new blueprint will help raise the visibility of Malaysia’s first Flagship Medical Tourism Hospitals and expand strategic partnerships among hospitals and medical institutes via foreign investments, joint research and development, and shared innovations and technologies.

According to MIDF Research, during the recent fourth quarter of CY21 (4QCY21) earnings season, operational data for hospitals, both private and public, had been improving as patients continued to go to hospitals for treatment and surgery for Covid-19 and non-Covid illnesses.

Looking ahead, MIDF Research expects both IHH Healthcare and KPJ Healthcare will see an improvement financially in the coming quarters. This is based on the return of foreign patients to undertake specialised treatments and surgeries, increased health awareness, improved access to healthcare information and assistance, and the focus on ancillary services including diagnostics and laboratory testing facilities.

Fully vaccinated short-term visitors via the land border with Singapore no longer need health insurance.  Johor state next to Singapore has also returned as a medical tourism destination with the reopening of Malaysia’s international borders. KPJ Johor Specialist Hospital claimed to have started receiving patients from Indonesia as soon as the country’s borders were reopened on April 1.