Speech by Chief Minister of Penang
At Penang Medical Expo & Malaysian Healthcare Policy Conference
10 November 2017
On behalf of the state government, I welcome all of you to PMEX 2017. The Soft launch for PMEX 2017 was performed on 11 August 2017 and today is the actual event all of you have been waiting for.
Even though we are already well-known as a medical hub internationally, the state government is very committed in further enhancing Penang this status. And today, we have written another record in history by holding our very 1st Penang Medical Expo & Malaysian Healthcare Policy Conference. This health-care event not only showcases the healthcare system in Penang but also aims to strengthen Penang as one of the main players in reviewing and discussing healthcare policies, together with prominent medical professionals participating in this two-day event.
Penang has a huge potential in medical and healthcare industries. The state has recorded a growth of 14.8% in medical tourists from 302,000 in 2015 to 347,000 in 2016, with a revenue increase of 17.3% from RM390,694,625 in 2015 to RM458,262,629 in 2016. Penang contributes 45.83% of the Malaysian medical tourism revenue in 2016, an 3.08% increase compared to 42.75% in 2015. Undoubtedly, this indicates that medical and healthcare-based industries have become one of the prominent industries in Penang.
The Island Hospital Group has invested RM 2 billion to build Malaysia's largest private hospital of 1,000 beds in Penang. This growth in the services industry is in tandem with the surging growth in manufacturing investment in Penang. Penang returned as champion of investments in Malaysia for the first 6 months of the year. Despite a 28.2% fall in the total approved investments in Malaysia for the first half of 2017 from RM88.4 billion in 2016 to RM65.4 billion, Penang bucked the trend when total approved investments actually increased from RM2.67 billion in 2016 to RM7.7 billion in the first half of 2017, an increase of 188%.
PMEX 2017 also provides a holistic approach towards healthcare and medical tourism. This is the right platform for the industries to promote high quality medical treatment at affordable prices, ranging from diagnostic and testing to surgery, post-surgery and recuperative facilities as well as other services such as cosmetic surgery, hospices and welfare centres.
Health is wealth and health care expenses have been taking a bigger and bigger chunk of household expenses in recent years. From 2018, the state government will introduce a new Healthy Penang Programme [Program Penang Sihat] for households earning a monthly income of RM5,000 and below. Penang has a median income of RM5,409 and placing a RM5,000 income threshold will assist working-class income groups most in need.
Every year, these households will be given RM300 credit in their I-Love-Penang card to pay for outpatient clinic fees and medicines, capped at RM50 per visit. Single individuals with income less than RM2,500 will also get RM150 credit a year, similarly capped at RM50 per visit.
This will help ordinary working people who fall ill to see a doctor immediately without worrying too much about expensive charges or travelling to government clinics that are far away from their homes.
The estimated cost for this program, which will benefit 195,000 households, is RM 60 million a year. This is a serious undertaking by the Penang government despite the fact that health remains entirely under Federal jurisdiction. This contrasts with the Federal government cutting down pharmaceutical and public health supply costs by RM19 million from RM 950 million in 2017 to RM931 million in 2018.
We are very confident that this event will be beneficial to our participants, industry players as well as stakeholders. With this, I officially launch the Penang Medical Expo and Malaysia Healthcare Policy Conference 2017.