This is a best prospect industry sector for this country.  Includes a market overview and trade data.
Last Published: 8/23/2019

Access to quality healthcare and social welfare protection is the main theme by the new Malaysian governement. In ensuring welfare and quality of life, a sum of RM29 billion (US$7 billion) was allocated for the public healthcare sector for 2019, an increase of 7.8 percent from 2018. This is almost 10 percent of the total national budget. Out of that sum, RM10.8 billion (US$2.6 billion) is set aside for development, maintenance and upgrading work of existing public healthcare facilities, the procurement of medical equipment and medicine.

RM100 million (US$24 million) is set aside for the National Health Protection Scheme (PEKA). PEKA is a targeted health protection fund for the 40 percent base of the Malaysian population, aged 50 years and above  with monthly household income less than RM3900 (US$940). This category of population is ~800,000 individuals. This is a public sector and private insurance industry partnership initiative.

The womens health and wellness allocation is an additional RM20 million (US$4.8 million). Mammogram and pap smear screening, and Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vacination is made available free of charge to approximately 70,000 women.

As of December 2017, there are 144 public hospitals and special medical institutions with 42,302 official beds under the Ministry of Health (MOH). Additionally, there is a total of 2,881 MOH managed health and community clinics. Furthermore, there are 217 mobile health clinics teams, and 6 helicopters with 12 teams of flying doctors services. A sub-brand MOH-runned clinic have 342 clinics, 7 mobile bus clinics with a team of 10, and 4 mobile boat clinics with a team of 8. The Ministry of Defense (MOD) has 5 army hospitals while the Ministry of Education (MOE) has 5 university hospitals. There are 3,892 official beds under the combined MOD and MOE hospitals.   

In 2017, on the dental side, there is a total of 1,687 MOH dental clinics with 3,247 dental chairs, plus 1,747 dental mobile teams. There are 24 sub-brand dental clinics with 38 dental chairs, 1 sub-brand mobile bus dental clinic and 2 sub-brand mobile boat dental clinics under MOH.

On the private sector front, in 2017, there are 200 hospitals (14,799 beds), 16 maternity homes (50 beds), 22 nursing homes (700 beds), 2 hospice (17 beds), 100 ambulatory care centers (186 beds), 4 blood banks (25 banks/tanks), 450 haemodialysis centers (4,843 dialysis chairs), one community mental health center, and one combined ambulatory care and haemodialysis center (14 beds/21 dialysis chairs). There are also 7,571 registered private medical clinics, and 2,137 private dental clinics in-country. 

On the human resource side, in Malaysia there are 57,831 doctors, 8,598 dentists, 11,559 pharmacists, 2,491 opticians, 1,434 optometrists, 17,274 assistant medical officers, 106,289 nurses, 6,007 pharmacy assistant, 4,985 assistant environmental health officers,  6,345 medical laboratory technologists, 1,157 occupational therapists, 4,428 physiotherapists, 2,851 radiographers (diagnostics and therapists), 2,915 dental nurse, 24,513 community nurse, 1,917 dental technologists, 4,271 dental surgery assistants, 16,050 traditional and complementary medicine practitioners.

In 2018, the total trade for Malaysia’s medical device industry was USD$2.47 billion and it imported USD$7250 million of medical devices. U.S. products represented 24.6 percent of the import market and the U.S. was the top exporting country of medical devices to Malaysia in the same year. There is a 45.3 percent increase in imports from the U.S. for 2018/2017. Singapore followed as the second largest exporter of medical devices with market share of 17.3 percent. This was followed by Germany (10.8 percent), Japan (9.9 percent), China (7.9 percent), Belgium (3 percent) and South Korea (2.6 percent). Belgium has overtaken South Korea last year with 478 percent increase in imports.

Overall, Malaysian imports of medical devices increased 25 percent over 2018/2017 period. The type of medical devices Malaysia imports and exports differ significantly. Malaysia usually imports higher classification/ category of medical devices not manufactured locally. 

Exports to the world for the same category of medical instruments and devices from Malaysia increased 19.6 percent from 2017 to 2018 to US$1.74 billion. Top export destinations for Malaysian products are the United States (28.9 percent), Germany (19.9 percent), Japan (10.5 percent), Belgium (9.1 percent), and China (5 percent).  Belgium traded placing with Japan and is currently ranked fourth with a 30.2 percent reduction in 2018/2017 export numbers.

Malaysia is the world’s largest medical gloves producer.  Major Malaysian export categories are:  surgical and examination gloves, other medical instruments, apparatus and appliances, catheters, syringes, needles and sutures, electromedical equipment, ophthalmic lenses including contact lenses, dental instruments and appliances, medical and surgical X-ray apparatus and medical furniture.

The previous government of Malaysia designated the Medical Device sector as high growth potential in the 11th Malaysian Plan. According to the Malaysian Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI), in 2016 total investments in the medical device and pharmaceutical were valued at RM2.87 billion (US$680 million).  During 2010-2014, foreign medical device industry investments into Malaysia totaled RM11 billion (US$2.9 billion), while domestic investments were RM1.2 billion (US$316 million).

With the recent change in government after the General Election, the new government is reviewing all on-going and future projects.  Improving and achieving universal access to quality healthcare was the focus of the previous Malaysian government, with the major thrusts being in improving healthcare quality to underserved populations, as well as ensuring efficient and effective expansion of the healthcare delivery system. In addition to upgrading healthcare facilities, the previous government’s priority was to reduce communicable and non-communicable diseases. E-Health Information and Communications Technology (ICT) strategy will be implemented concurrently to track and support these measures.    

Medical and Dental Equipment
Note that this table does not include any values attributed to trade of services.

Unit: $US millions 





Total Exports





Total Imports





Imports from the US





Malaysian Exports to the US





Exchange Rates





Source:  Department of Statistics Malaysia
Leading Sub-Sectors

Increasingly, more Malaysians are taking the approach of wellness and disease prevention rather than treatment. Consumer medical devices are used to self-monitor one’s health condition to maintain optimal health. Blood glucose and pressure monitors are gaining popularity. The United States is one of the largest suppliers of consumer health monitor devices to Malaysia. U.S. brands are both trusted and well received by Malaysian consumers.

As for dental market trends, we are seeing subspecialties in the area of orthodontics, implant and esthetic procedures increasingly being offered in private dental clinics. The United State is one of the leading suppliers of orthodontics products in Malaysia.

Private healthcare services
Private healthcare services in Malaysia are predominantly used by the upper-middle to affluent segment of the population. As per capita GDP rises, demand for private healthcare consumption is expected to increase in tandem. Health screening is increasingly popular.
Medical aesthetics procedures are also gaining ground in Malaysia.

Other healthcare services
Similar to other increasingly affluent countries, non-communicable disease (NCDs) such as diabetes, high-blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, oncology cases, and obesity are on the rise in Malaysia. The major vector-borne disease that Malaysia is having a difficult time containing is Dengue Fever. Tuberculosis (TB) is an increasingly infectious disease in Malaysia, with a high mortality rate. Although Malaysia has been Bacille Calmette Guerin (BCG) vaccinating its citizens from birth, along with booster vaccinations administered for school age children for many decades, we are seeing resurgence in TB cases. The main cause is the influx of migrant workers into the country. Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease is also prevalent, but there is no associated mortality with this disease in Malaysia. HIV/AIDS is the third main infectious disease in Malaysia with a high mortality rate.

Consolidation is the key word for public healthcare resources and facilities. The government of Malaysia is implementing a hospital cluster concept. Hospitals within a similar geographic region will serve as one unit sharing assets, amenities and human resources. Additionally, existing healthcare facilities and assets will also be upgraded. Healthcare services to the rural and remote areas will be expanded via mobile healthcare teams and flying doctor services.

Implementation of the e-Health strategy will include incorporating existing ICT systems into one system-wide module. This will hopefully improve health data management, and support research and development and commercialization initiatives.

Pre-hospital care such as ambulance services, and Accidents and Emergencies (A&E) services will also be a key focus area. Ideally, collaboration between private sector and non-government organization ambulance service providers will improve response time and better resource utilization. 

Public budget allocations for developmental projects:

    • USD$640 million for medical supplies, US$410 million for consumables and medical support items.

    • USD$359 million for healthcare facilities, medical equipment and ambulances upgrade including construction of Operation Theater (OT) in three districts hospitals, and upgrade of cardiology and cardiothoracic services in two states’ general hospitals.

    • USD$25 million for general hospitals and clinics upgrade and maintenance.

    • USD$12.8 million allocation for hemodialysis treatment subsidy and US$10.3 million medical aid for the underprivilege population.

    • USD$2.6 million rare diseases treatments allocation.

    • USD $7.7 million for Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) awareness programs.

    • USD $256 million allocation to build two hospital blocks for women and children wards (300 beds capacity).

    • USD $128 million to build a cancer center (200 beds).

    • USD $128 million to build a specialist clinic/new ward (300 beds).

    • USD $97 million to construct an international forensic medical service center.

Demand for private healthcare has been increasing exponentially due to its speedy service delivery and quality healthcare. In 2016, private hospital outpatient attendance was 6.3 percent of overall outpatient care provided in-country. However, private hospitals command 42 percent of total hospital admissions. For the same duration, approximately 27 percent of the doctors, 36 percent of dentists, and 38 percent pharmacists and 30 percent of nurses were in private practice.

Executive health screening service is increasingly popular as a preemptive approach, especially for the upper middle income and affluent population.

As for dental market trends, we are seeing subspecialties in the area of orthodontics, implant and esthetic procedures increasingly being offered in private dental clinics. The United State is one of the leading suppliers of orthodontics products in Malaysia.
Medical aesthetics procedures are also gaining ground in Malaysia.

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Malaysia Medical Devices Trade Development and Promotion