Quoted in the Malay Mail, the Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah has said that ‘about 50,000’ foreign patients, mostly from Indonesia, seek treatment in Sarawak. He gave no source for this number.
Karim said medical tourism is an important sector to the state economy, with about 50,000 foreign patients, mostly from Indonesia, seeking treatment at private hospitals, bringing in receipts of RM67 million (US$16m).
“Due to the high currency exchange of Singapore dollar, most Indonesian patients prefer to come to Sarawak,” he said.
Karim said his ministry has established a medical tourism coordination committee to collaborate with hospitals, relevant authorities and the Malaysian Healthcare Travel Council to ensure the continuous growth of the medical tourism industry in Sarawak.
In an article in the New Straits Times in November 2018, Karim claimed that Sarawak received 33,400 foreign visitors for Jan-Sept 2018.