GEORGE TOWN: With Malaysia emerging as the number one country in the world for healthcare, the Penang government is working to secure RM1 billion in investments to expand its medical industry.
Already doing well in medical tourism, Penang would be focusing on turning itself into a medical city, chief minister Lim Guan Eng said.
“We are putting focus into that. We are now talking about bringing in RM1 billion in investments to improve our healthcare industry.
“It will be a mix of local and foreign investments. We will make the announcement when we have good news,” he told reporters at Komtar today.
Lim said the investment was important to reinforce Malaysia’s position as the number one medical tourism destination.
Malaysia was recently named number one in the world for healthcare, out of four countries by the magazine International Living, beating Latin American nations Costa Rica, Colombia and Mexico.
The publication said George Town and Kuala Lumpur were the two main medical centres in Malaysia, with some of the best-trained doctors in Asia. The majority of the other doctors were trained in the US, UK and Australia.
With tourism, including medical tourism growing, Lim said the Penang government was also appealing to Putrajaya to expand the Penang International Airport in Bayan Lepas.
The airport’s maximum capacity is 6.5 million passengers, but last year the number of passengers hit 6.63 million – almost 6% more than the 6.25 million passenger recorded in 2015, he said.
“I think we are likely the second fastest growing airport in the country. We may be hitting seven million passengers this year.
“We urge the government to expand the airport. We don’t want it to become the Penang International Pasar Malam (night market),” he said, referring to the congestion at the airport.