Malaysia: tax incentives for medical travellers?

To improve Malaysia’s medical travel sector, the country’s Association of Private Hospitals (APHM) has suggested to the government that to encourage private hospitals to actively treat medical tourists, they should have tax incentives. 

Malaysia a world-leading destination for medical and healthcare tourism, has seen its business revenue from this sector nearly triple in less than a decade.

APHM argues that Malaysia is one of the best in South-East Asia in terms of cost and high standard of healthcare, and believes that most medical tourists from Indonesia pick Malaysia as their medical destination.

In recognition that private healthcare contributes to the country’s income through treating international patients, and that these patients also bring in significant revenue to other sectors like hotels and tourist attractions, APHM has suggested there should be tax incentives for the sector.

In Malaysia medical tourism is seen as a key contributor to long-term economic development.

Data from the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC) and the University Sains Malaysia, says that Malaysia has 88 hospitals approved to treat medical travellers.

The majority of foreign patients seeking medical treatment in Malaysia are from Indonesia, with smaller numbers of foreign patients from India, Singapore, Japan, Australia, Europe, the USA and the Middle East.

The government’s investment tax allowance has encouraged private healthcare facilities promoting medical tourism to invest in internationally recognised accreditation schemes and medical technology.

APHM believes further incentives and tax allowances could work.  It also suggests that MHTC, as the primary agency to promote and develop the country’s medical tourism, needs to continue to aggressively promote both online and offline campaigns about what Malaysia can offer in medical tourism.

MHTC says that for the industry to move to the next level, collaborative and cohesive efforts with stakeholders across all touch points in the healthcare travel ecosystem are key to driving the industry forward.  This includes focusing in areas such as strengthening the healthcare traveller ecosystem, amplifying Malaysia’s healthcare brand, as well as expanding the healthcare travel market.