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Malaysia - Hospitals

Malaysian hospitals have a good reputation. There are both public and private hospitals in the country. State-owned hospitals have funding from the government and hospitals work on a two-tier system. The first tier is publicly funded by the Malaysian treasury and the second tier is that of private hospitals.

Emergency Hospitals

Malaysia has emergency hospitals in all the major cities and these are primarily publically funded hospitals. Here your emergency will be treated and if you have a MYkad (Malaysian ID card) then the treatment is free. If you are not a citizen of Malaysia you will have to pay for the doctor’s time in treating you. If further treatment is required then the emergency hospital will refer you to a private clinic which will treat you. This service is known as Telecare and was introduced so that emergency doctors can ensure that your further treatment is successful. Publically funded hospitals are regulated by the Malaysian Ministry of Health. This is also the same for private hospitals.

In major cities, both public and private hospitals will have English-speaking doctors and medical staff. All medical forms, however, are completed in Bahasa Malaysia. If you’re not a Malaysian citizen then you will have to pay the medical bill before you leave; regardless of whether you are being referred for further treatment.

Public Hospitals

Public hospitals are well-equipped and have highly-trained doctors and medical staff. There is a chance of less English-speaking doctors and medical staff but in major cities it is highly likely there will be English-speaking doctors. All doctors have to train in public hospitals before transferring to the private health sector and many have trained in western hospitals. Public hospitals are supported via the taxation route in Malaysia.

Waiting Times

Waiting times are long and you must prepare yourself for this. Like any publically-funded health system, patience is the key. In densely populated areas, such as major cities, waiting times are somewhat of a problem. So do be prepared. Private hospitals are busy places but you will not be subjected to such long waiting times.

Private Hospitals

Private hospitals are highly sophisticated environments and have all the latest diagnostic and screening systems in place to offer a highly specialized service in all areas of health. You will have to pay for your treatment before you leave the clinic and reclaim any medical expenses via your insurance company after the event. Private hospitals are licensed by the Ministry of Health and these licenses are re-issued each year. Please ensure the hospital of your choice is a licensed provider of health services.

Unlike public hospitals, private hospitals do provide ambulance services for transportation purposes back to your home after treatment. This will be factored into your costs.

Health Clinics

Health clinics can be found in major cities and in suburban areas. These offer a range of health services from minor triage surgeries to a wide range of health-related services. These clinics are staffed with various medical professionals such as nutritionists, help to stop smoking clinics and follow-up treatments after surgery. These clinics are widely available and are walk in centres. They can be found in shopping malls throughout major cities and in city centres. There is no appointment necessary for clinics; however, you can register and most offer an appointment service. Payment is due prior to leaving the clinic.

Main Hospitals in Kuala Lumpur

General Hospital - Public

Kuala Lumpur Medical Center – Private
Tel: +603-2287 7398

Main Hospitals in Penang

Penang General Hospital - Public
Tel: +60 4-229 3333

Hospital Sungai Bakap - Private
Address: 14200 Seberang Prai,
Tel: +60 4-582 4333

For a list of all hospitals in Malaysia, please visit the Malaysian Ministry of Health Website.


Malaysia is well-served by hospitals and clinics across the country. Depending on your medical insurance policy or employment benefits, you have the choice of where to attend. Health clinics are used widely by expats, mainly those in the private sector.

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